This morning, Sept. 27, 2012, the Council of Canadian Academies released its 2nd report on the state of science and technology in Canada. I haven’t had time to read the full report (officially titled: The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012) but did attend (virtually) a webinar/press conference that was hosted by the Science Media Centre of Canada and found the mood amongst the presenters,
- Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President of the Council of Canadian Academies and chair of the 1st (2006) report on science and technology in Canada;
- Dr. Eliot A. Phillipson, chair of the expert panel, Sir John and Lady Eaton Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Toronto and former President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation; and
- Dr. Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U)
to be celebratory. The Council of Canadian Academies Sept. 27, 2012 news release on EurekAlert sums up much of what is said in the webinar,
“There is much for Canadians to be proud of as Canada’s international reputation is strong, science and technology research is robust across the country, and globally we are considered to have world-leading research infrastructure and programs,” said Panel Chair Dr. Eliot Phillipson. “The Panel’s findings are comprehensive and represent one of the most in-depth examinations of Canadian science and technology ever undertaken.”
Here are some of the findings (from the news release),
- The six research fields in which Canada excels are: clinical medicine, historical studies, information and communication technologies (ICT), physics and astronomy, psychology and cognitive sciences, and visual and performing arts.
- Canadian science and technology is healthy and growing in both output and impact. With less than 0.5 per cent of the world’s population, Canada produces 4.1 per cent of the world’s research papers and nearly 5 per cent of the world’s most frequently cited papers.
- In a survey of over 5,000 leading international scientists, Canada’s scientific research enterprise was ranked fourth highest in the world, after the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.
- Canada is part of a network of international science and technology collaboration that includes the most scientifically advanced countries in the world. Canada is also attracting high-quality researchers from abroad, such that over the past decade there has been a net migration of researchers into the country.
- Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta are the powerhouses of Canadian science and technology, together accounting for 97 per cent of total Canadian output in terms of research papers. These provinces also have the best performance in patent-related measures and the highest per capita numbers of doctoral students, accounting for more than 90 per cent of doctoral graduates in Canada in 2009.
- Several fields of specialization were identified in other provinces, such as: agriculture, fisheries, and forestry in Prince Edward Island and Manitoba; historical studies in New Brunswick; biology in Saskatchewan; as well as earth and environmental sciences in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
The Council of Canadian Academies webpage which hosts the completed assessment, The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012 provides links to the full report, an abridged version, an executive summary, a listing of the 18 member expert panel, and more.
Early media responses (as per my Google search of Sept. 27, 2012, 1338 hours (PDT) suggest one of two attitudes: “Canadian science and technology is healthy” or “Canadians are falling behind in the areas of environmental and resources sciences.”
For the moment, I’m going to celebrate and shelve my critique for a later date (probably early next week, Oct. 1-5, 2012) when I’ve had time to read the full report.