Transcript—Response to the Fundamental Science Review Report with Science Minister Kirsty Duncan
Kate Young: I'm Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary for Science, and I'm here with the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan. Hi, Kirsty.
Hon. Kirsty Duncan: Hi, Kate.
Kate Young: Our government knows that strong support for science is the foundation for innovation, and that's why you launched the first review of federal funding for fundamental science in 40 years. Can you recap for us the purpose of commissioning this science review?
Hon. Kirsty Duncan: Because this hadn't been done in 40 years, I thought it was really important to ensure that our funding ecosystem is strategic, effective and meeting the needs of our researchers.
So we had a blue ribbon panel. It was chaired by Dr. David Naylor. It had former president of the University of British Columbia, Martha Piper. It included Dr. Art McDonald, our newest Nobel Prize winner. A blue ribbon panel. There were 1,275 submissions from across the country and five round tables.
I'm really pleased to have received that report, and I want to thank the panel for their tremendous work. It is a comprehensive, rigorous, thoughtful report with 35 recommendations.
Kate Young: So what actions are you taking in response to the report?
Hon. Kirsty Duncan: Well, the reason I undertook that report: I come from the world of science—I know this world—and I want to make it better for our research community. So I commissioned the report so I could take action. Some of the actions we'll be taking: we will put in place a new advisory council to advise both myself and the Minister of Innovation on science and innovation, and this council will be open, transparent and accountable because these are key values for our government.
We will also put in place a new coordinating board for our granting councils, so the granting councils are coordinated, harmonized and sustainable. So if a researcher applies for a lab or a new tool, they'll also be able to apply for an operating grant, making it easier for our researchers.
And we will take action, myself and Minister Philpott, to look at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research legislation so that we will split the CEO of the Institute from being the Chair of the Governing Council. It's about good governance.
Kate Young: So why should that matter to Canadians? Why should a strong system for science matter?
Hon. Kirsty Duncan: A strong system matters to Canadians because they know that science will lead to new medical cures; new medical treatments; new technologies; a better environment with cleaner air, cleaner water; stronger communities; and more innovation. Canadians understand it all starts with science.
Kate Young: Thank you, Minister Duncan. I look forward to working with you on the government's long-term vision for science in Canada.
Hon. Kirsty Duncan: Thank you, Kate. I am so glad you're part of this team.
Kate Young: I'm Kate Young. I'm the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, and we've been speaking with the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan.