Category Archives: science policy

Photonic synapses with low power consumption (and a few observations)

This work on brainlike (neuromorphic) computing was announced in a June 30, 2022 Compuscript Ltd news release on EurekAlert,

Photonic synapses with low power consumption and high sensitivity are expected to integrate sensing-memory-preprocessing capabilities

A new publication from Opto-Electronic Advances; DOI 10.29026/oea.2022.210069 discusses how photonic synapses with low power consumption and high sensitivity are expected to integrate sensing-memory-preprocessing capabilities.

Neuromorphic photonics/electronics is the future of ultralow energy intelligent computing and artificial intelligence (AI). In recent years, inspired by the human brain, artificial neuromorphic devices have attracted extensive attention, especially in simulating visual perception and memory storage. Because of its advantages of high bandwidth, high interference immunity, ultrafast signal transmission and lower energy consumption, neuromorphic photonic devices are expected to realize real-time response to input data. In addition, photonic synapses can realize non-contact writing strategy, which contributes to the development of wireless communication. The use of low-dimensional materials provides an opportunity to develop complex brain-like systems and low-power memory logic computers. For example, large-scale, uniform and reproducible transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) show great potential for miniaturization and low-power biomimetic device applications due to their excellent charge-trapping properties and compatibility with traditional CMOS processes. The von Neumann architecture with discrete memory and processor leads to high power consumption and low efficiency of traditional computing. Therefore, the sensor-memory fusion or sensor-memory- processor integration neuromorphic architecture system can meet the increasingly developing demands of big data and AI for low power consumption and high performance devices. Artificial synaptic devices are the most important components of neuromorphic systems. The performance evaluation of synaptic devices will help to further apply them to more complex artificial neural networks (ANN).

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-grown TMDs inevitably introduce defects or impurities, showed a persistent photoconductivity (PPC) effect. TMDs photonic synapses integrating synaptic properties and optical detection capabilities show great advantages in neuromorphic systems for low-power visual information perception and processing as well as brain memory.

The research Group of Optical Detection and Sensing (GODS) have reported a three-terminal photonic synapse based on the large-area, uniform multilayer MoS2 films. The reported device realized ultrashort optical pulse detection within 5 μs and ultralow power consumption about 40 aJ, which means its performance is much better than the current reported properties of photonic synapses. Moreover, it is several orders of magnitude lower than the corresponding parameters of biological synapses, indicating that the reported photonic synapse can be further used for more complex ANN. The photoconductivity of MoS2 channel grown by CVD is regulated by photostimulation signal, which enables the device to simulate short-term synaptic plasticity (STP), long-term synaptic plasticity (LTP), paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) and other synaptic properties. Therefore, the reported photonic synapse can simulate human visual perception, and the detection wavelength can be extended to near infrared light. As the most important system of human learning, visual perception system can receive 80% of learning information from the outside. With the continuous development of AI, there is an urgent need for low-power and high sensitivity visual perception system that can effectively receive external information. In addition, with the assistant of gate voltage, this photonic synapse can simulate the classical Pavlovian conditioning and the regulation of different emotions on memory ability. For example, positive emotions enhance memory ability and negative emotions weaken memory ability. Furthermore, a significant contrast in the strength of STP and LTP based on the reported photonic synapse suggests that it can preprocess the input light signal. These results indicate that the photo-stimulation and backgate control can effectively regulate the conductivity of MoS2 channel layer by adjusting carrier trapping/detrapping processes. Moreover, the photonic synapse presented in this paper is expected to integrate sensing-memory-preprocessing capabilities, which can be used for real-time image detection and in-situ storage, and also provides the possibility to break the von Neumann bottleneck. 

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Photonic synapses with ultralow energy consumption for artificial visual perception and brain storage by Caihong Li, Wen Du, Yixuan Huang, Jihua Zou, Lingzhi Luo, Song Sun, Alexander O. Govorov, Jiang Wu, Hongxing Xu, Zhiming Wang. Opto-Electron Adv Vol 5, No 9 210069 (2022). doi: 10.29026/oea.2022.210069

This paper is open access.

Observations

I don’t have much to say about the research itself other than, I believe this is the first time I’ve seen a news release about neuromorphic computing research from China.

it’s China that most interests me, especially these bits from the June 30, 2022 Compuscript Ltd news release on EurekAlert,

Group of Optical Detection and Sensing (GODS) [emphasis mine] was established in 2019. It is a research group focusing on compound semiconductors, lasers, photodetectors, and optical sensors. GODS has established a well-equipped laboratory with research facilities such as Molecular Beam Epitaxy system, IR detector test system, etc. GODS is leading several research projects funded by NSFC and National Key R&D Programmes. GODS have published more than 100 research articles in Nature Electronics, Light: Science and Applications, Advanced Materials and other international well-known high-level journals with the total citations beyond 8000.

Jiang Wu obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville in 2011. After his Ph.D., he joined UESTC as associate professor and later professor. He joined University College London [UCL] as a research associate in 2012 and then lecturer in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL from 2015 to 2018. He is now a professor at UESTC [University of Electronic Science and Technology of China] [emphases mine]. His research interests include optoelectronic applications of semiconductor heterostructures. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Senior Member of IEEE.

Opto-Electronic Advances (OEA) is a high-impact, open access, peer reviewed monthly SCI journal with an impact factor of 9.682 (Journals Citation Reports for IF 2020). Since its launch in March 2018, OEA has been indexed in SCI, EI, DOAJ, Scopus, CA and ICI databases over the time and expanded its Editorial Board to 36 members from 17 countries and regions (average h-index 49). [emphases mine]

The journal is published by The Institute of Optics and Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, aiming at providing a platform for researchers, academicians, professionals, practitioners, and students to impart and share knowledge in the form of high quality empirical and theoretical research papers covering the topics of optics, photonics and optoelectronics.

The research group’s awkward name was almost certainly developed with the rather grandiose acronym, GODS, in mind. I don’t think you could get away with doing this in an English-speaking country as your colleagues would mock you mercilessly.

It’s Jiang Wu’s academic and work history that’s of most interest as it might provide insight into China’s Young Thousand Talents program. A January 5, 2023 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) news release describes the program,

In a systematic evaluation of China’s Young Thousand Talents (YTT) program, which was established in 2010, researchers find that China has been successful in recruiting and nurturing high-caliber Chinese scientists who received training abroad. Many of these individuals outperform overseas peers in publications and access to funding, the study shows, largely due to access to larger research teams and better research funding in China. Not only do the findings demonstrate the program’s relative success, but they also hold policy implications for the increasing number of governments pursuing means to tap expatriates for domestic knowledge production and talent development. China is a top sender of international students to United States and European Union science and engineering programs. The YTT program was created to recruit and nurture the productivity of high-caliber, early-career, expatriate scientists who return to China after receiving Ph.Ds. abroad. Although there has been a great deal of international attention on the YTT, some associated with the launch of the U.S.’s controversial China Initiative and federal investigations into academic researchers with ties to China, there has been little evidence-based research on the success, impact, and policy implications of the program itself. Dongbo Shi and colleagues evaluated the YTT program’s first 4 cohorts of scholars and compared their research productivity to that of their peers that remained overseas. Shi et al. found that China’s YTT program successfully attracted high-caliber – but not top-caliber – scientists. However, those young scientists that did return outperformed others in publications across journal-quality tiers – particularly in last-authored publications. The authors suggest that this is due to YTT scholars’ greater access to larger research teams and better research funding in China. The authors say the dearth of such resources in the U.S. and E.U. “may not only expedite expatriates’ return decisions but also motivate young U.S.- and E.U.-born scientists to seek international research opportunities.” They say their findings underscore the need for policy adjustments to allocate more support for young scientists.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Has China’s Young Thousand Talents program been successful in recruiting and nurturing top-caliber scientists? by Dongbo Shi, Weichen Liu, and Yanbo Wang. Science 5 Jan 2023 Vol 379, Issue 6627 pp. 62-65 DOI: 10.1126/science.abq1218

This paper is behind a paywall.

Kudos to the folks behind China’s Young Thousands Talents program! Jiang Wu’s career appears to be a prime example of the program’s success. Perhaps Canadian policy makers will be inspired.

FrogHeart’s 2022 comes to an end as 2023 comes into view

I look forward to 2023 and hope it will be as stimulating as 2022 proved to be. Here’s an overview of the year that was on this blog:

Sounds of science

It seems 2022 was the year that science discovered the importance of sound and the possibilities of data sonification. Neither is new but this year seemed to signal a surge of interest or maybe I just happened to stumble onto more of the stories than usual.

This is not an exhaustive list, you can check out my ‘Music’ category for more here. I have tried to include audio files with the postings but it all depends on how accessible the researchers have made them.

Aliens on earth: machinic biology and/or biological machinery?

When I first started following stories in 2008 (?) about technology or machinery being integrated with the human body, it was mostly about assistive technologies such as neuroprosthetics. You’ll find most of this year’s material in the ‘Human Enhancement’ category or you can search the tag ‘machine/flesh’.

However, the line between biology and machine became a bit more blurry for me this year. You can see what’s happening in the titles listed below (you may recognize the zenobot story; there was an earlier version of xenobots featured here in 2021):

This was the story that shook me,

Are the aliens going to come from outer space or are we becoming the aliens?

Brains (biological and otherwise), AI, & our latest age of anxiety

As we integrate machines into our bodies, including our brains, there are new issues to consider:

  • Going blind when your neural implant company flirts with bankruptcy (long read) April 5, 2022 posting
  • US National Academies Sept. 22-23, 2022 workshop on techno, legal & ethical issues of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) September 21, 2022 posting

I hope the US National Academies issues a report on their “Brain-Machine and Related Neural Interface Technologies: Scientific, Technical, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues – A Workshop” for 2023.

Meanwhile the race to create brainlike computers continues and I have a number of posts which can be found under the category of ‘neuromorphic engineering’ or you can use these search terms ‘brainlike computing’ and ‘memristors’.

On the artificial intelligence (AI) side of things, I finally broke down and added an ‘artificial intelligence (AI) category to this blog sometime between May and August 2021. Previously, I had used the ‘robots’ category as a catchall. There are other stories but these ones feature public engagement and policy (btw, it’s a Canadian Science Policy Centre event), respectively,

  • “The “We are AI” series gives citizens a primer on AI” March 23, 2022 posting
  • “Age of AI and Big Data – Impact on Justice, Human Rights and Privacy Zoom event on September 28, 2022 at 12 – 1:30 pm EDT” September 16, 2022 posting

These stories feature problems, which aren’t new but seem to be getting more attention,

While there have been issues over AI, the arts, and creativity previously, this year they sprang into high relief. The list starts with my two-part review of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s AI show; I share most of my concerns in part two. The third post covers intellectual property issues (mostly visual arts but literary arts get a nod too). The fourth post upends the discussion,

  • “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know? Artificial Intelligence at the Vancouver (Canada) Art Gallery (1 of 2): The Objects” July 28, 2022 posting
  • “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know? Artificial Intelligence at the Vancouver (Canada) Art Gallery (2 of 2): Meditations” July 28, 2022 posting
  • “AI (artificial intelligence) and art ethics: a debate + a Botto (AI artist) October 2022 exhibition in the Uk” October 24, 2022 posting
  • Should AI algorithms get patents for their inventions and is anyone talking about copyright for texts written by AI algorithms? August 30, 2022 posting

Interestingly, most of the concerns seem to be coming from the visual and literary arts communities; I haven’t come across major concerns from the music community. (The curious can check out Vancouver’s Metacreation Lab for Artificial Intelligence [located on a Simon Fraser University campus]. I haven’t seen any cautionary or warning essays there; it’s run by an AI and creativity enthusiast [professor Philippe Pasquier]. The dominant but not sole focus is art, i.e., music and AI.)

There is a ‘new kid on the block’ which has been attracting a lot of attention this month. If you’re curious about the latest and greatest AI anxiety,

  • Peter Csathy’s December 21, 2022 Yahoo News article (originally published in The WRAP) makes this proclamation in the headline “Chat GPT Proves That AI Could Be a Major Threat to Hollywood Creatives – and Not Just Below the Line | PRO Insight”
  • Mouhamad Rachini’s December 15, 2022 article for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) online news overs a more generalized overview of the ‘new kid’ along with an embedded CBC Radio file which runs approximately 19 mins. 30 secs. It’s titled “ChatGPT a ‘landmark event’ for AI, but what does it mean for the future of human labour and disinformation?” The chat bot’s developer, OpenAI, has been mentioned here many times including the previously listed July 28, 2022 posting (part two of the VAG review) and the October 24, 2022 posting.

Opposite world (quantum physics in Canada)

Quantum computing made more of an impact here (my blog) than usual. it started in 2021 with the announcement of a National Quantum Strategy in the Canadian federal government budget for that year and gained some momentum in 2022:

  • “Quantum Mechanics & Gravity conference (August 15 – 19, 2022) launches Vancouver (Canada)-based Quantum Gravity Institute and more” July 26, 2022 posting Note: This turned into one of my ‘in depth’ pieces where I comment on the ‘Canadian quantum scene’ and highlight the appointment of an expert panel for the Council of Canada Academies’ report on Quantum Technologies.
  • “Bank of Canada and Multiverse Computing model complex networks & cryptocurrencies with quantum computing” July 25, 2022 posting
  • “Canada, quantum technology, and a public relations campaign?” December 29, 2022 posting

This one was a bit of a puzzle with regard to placement in this end-of-year review, it’s quantum but it’s also about brainlike computing

It’s getting hot in here

Fusion energy made some news this year.

There’s a Vancouver area company, General Fusion, highlighted in both postings and the October posting includes an embedded video of Canadian-born rapper Baba Brinkman’s “You Must LENR” [L ow E nergy N uclear R eactions or sometimes L attice E nabled N anoscale R eactions or Cold Fusion or CANR (C hemically A ssisted N uclear R eactions)].

BTW, fusion energy can generate temperatures up to 150 million degrees Celsius.

Ukraine, science, war, and unintended consequences

Here’s what you might expect,

These are the unintended consequences (from Rachel Kyte’s, Dean of the Fletcher School, Tufts University, December 26, 2022 essay on The Conversation [h/t December 27, 2022 news item on phys.org]), Note: Links have been removed,

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has reverberated through Europe and spread to other countries that have long been dependent on the region for natural gas. But while oil-producing countries and gas lobbyists are arguing for more drilling, global energy investments reflect a quickening transition to cleaner energy. [emphasis mine]

Call it the Putin effect – Russia’s war is speeding up the global shift away from fossil fuels.

In December [2022?], the International Energy Agency [IEA] published two important reports that point to the future of renewable energy.

First, the IEA revised its projection of renewable energy growth upward by 30%. It now expects the world to install as much solar and wind power in the next five years as it installed in the past 50 years.

The second report showed that energy use is becoming more efficient globally, with efficiency increasing by about 2% per year. As energy analyst Kingsmill Bond at the energy research group RMI noted, the two reports together suggest that fossil fuel demand may have peaked. While some low-income countries have been eager for deals to tap their fossil fuel resources, the IEA warns that new fossil fuel production risks becoming stranded, or uneconomic, in the next 20 years.

Kyte’s essay is not all ‘sweetness and light’ but it does provide a little optimism.

Kudos, nanotechnology, culture (pop & otherwise), fun, and a farewell in 2022

This one was a surprise for me,

Sometimes I like to know where the money comes from and I was delighted to learn of the Ărramăt Project funded through the federal government’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). Here’s more about the Ărramăt Project from the February 14, 2022 posting,

“The Ărramăt Project is about respecting the inherent dignity and interconnectedness of peoples and Mother Earth, life and livelihood, identity and expression, biodiversity and sustainability, and stewardship and well-being. Arramăt is a word from the Tamasheq language spoken by the Tuareg people of the Sahel and Sahara regions which reflects this holistic worldview.” (Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine)

Over 150 Indigenous organizations, universities, and other partners will work together to highlight the complex problems of biodiversity loss and its implications for health and well-being. The project Team will take a broad approach and be inclusive of many different worldviews and methods for research (i.e., intersectionality, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary). Activities will occur in 70 different kinds of ecosystems that are also spiritually, culturally, and economically important to Indigenous Peoples.

The project is led by Indigenous scholars and activists …

Kudos to the federal government and all those involved in the Salmon science camps, the Ărramăt Project, and other NFRF projects.

There are many other nanotechnology posts here but this appeals to my need for something lighter at this point,

  • “Say goodbye to crunchy (ice crystal-laden) in ice cream thanks to cellulose nanocrystals (CNC)” August 22, 2022 posting

The following posts tend to be culture-related, high and/or low but always with a science/nanotechnology edge,

Sadly, it looks like 2022 is the last year that Ada Lovelace Day is to be celebrated.

… this year’s Ada Lovelace Day is the final such event due to lack of financial backing. Suw Charman-Anderson told the BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] the reason it was now coming to an end was:

You can read more about it here:

In the rearview mirror

A few things that didn’t fit under the previous heads but stood out for me this year. Science podcasts, which were a big feature in 2021, also proliferated in 2022. I think they might have peaked and now (in 2023) we’ll see what survives.

Nanotechnology, the main subject on this blog, continues to be investigated and increasingly integrated into products. You can search the ‘nanotechnology’ category here for posts of interest something I just tried. It surprises even me (I should know better) how broadly nanotechnology is researched and applied.

If you want a nice tidy list, Hamish Johnston in a December 29, 2022 posting on the Physics World Materials blog has this “Materials and nanotechnology: our favourite research in 2022,” Note: Links have been removed,

“Inherited nanobionics” makes its debut

The integration of nanomaterials with living organisms is a hot topic, which is why this research on “inherited nanobionics” is on our list. Ardemis Boghossian at EPFL [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne] in Switzerland and colleagues have shown that certain bacteria will take up single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). What is more, when the bacteria cells split, the SWCNTs are distributed amongst the daughter cells. The team also found that bacteria containing SWCNTs produce a significantly more electricity when illuminated with light than do bacteria without nanotubes. As a result, the technique could be used to grow living solar cells, which as well as generating clean energy, also have a negative carbon footprint when it comes to manufacturing.

Getting to back to Canada, I’m finding Saskatchewan featured more prominently here. They do a good job of promoting their science, especially the folks at the Canadian Light Source (CLS), Canada’s synchrotron, in Saskatoon. Canadian live science outreach events seeming to be coming back (slowly). Cautious organizers (who have a few dollars to spare) are also enthusiastic about hybrid events which combine online and live outreach.

After what seems like a long pause, I’m stumbling across more international news, e.g. “Nigeria and its nanotechnology research” published December 19, 2022 and “China and nanotechnology” published September 6, 2022. I think there’s also an Iran piece here somewhere.

With that …

Making resolutions in the dark

Hopefully this year I will catch up with the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) output and finally review a few of their 2021 reports such as Leaps and Boundaries; a report on artificial intelligence applied to science inquiry and, perhaps, Powering Discovery; a report on research funding and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Given what appears to a renewed campaign to have germline editing (gene editing which affects all of your descendants) approved in Canada, I might even reach back to a late 2020 CCA report, Research to Reality; somatic gene and engineered cell therapies. it’s not the same as germline editing but gene editing exists on a continuum.

For anyone who wants to see the CCA reports for themselves they can be found here (both in progress and completed).

I’m also going to be paying more attention to how public relations and special interests influence what science is covered and how it’s covered. In doing this 2022 roundup, I noticed that I featured an overview of fusion energy not long before the breakthrough. Indirect influence on this blog?

My post was precipitated by an article by Alex Pasternak in Fast Company. I’m wondering what precipitated Alex Pasternack’s interest in fusion energy since his self-description on the Huffington Post website states this “… focus on the intersections of science, technology, media, politics, and culture. My writing about those and other topics—transportation, design, media, architecture, environment, psychology, art, music … .”

He might simply have received a press release that stimulated his imagination and/or been approached by a communications specialist or publicists with an idea. There’s a reason for why there are so many public relations/media relations jobs and agencies.

Que sera, sera (Whatever will be, will be)

I can confidently predict that 2023 has some surprises in store. I can also confidently predict that the European Union’s big research projects (1B Euros each in funding for the Graphene Flagship and Human Brain Project over a ten year period) will sunset in 2023, ten years after they were first announced in 2013. Unless, the powers that be extend the funding past 2023.

I expect the Canadian quantum community to provide more fodder for me in the form of a 2023 report on Quantum Technologies from the Council of Canadian academies, if nothing else otherwise.

I’ve already featured these 2023 science events but just in case you missed them,

  • 2023 Preview: Bill Nye the Science Guy’s live show and Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training And Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) coming to Vancouver (Canada) November 24, 2022 posting
  • September 2023: Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand set to welcome women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) November 15, 2022 posting

Getting back to this blog, it may not seem like a new year during the first few weeks of 2023 as I have quite the stockpile of draft posts. At this point I have drafts that are dated from June 2022 and expect to be burning through them so as not to fall further behind but will be interspersing them, occasionally, with more current posts.

Most importantly: a big thank you to everyone who drops by and reads (and sometimes even comments) on my posts!!! it’s very much appreciated and on that note: I wish you all the best for 2023.

Canada, quantum technology, and a public relations campaign?

Stephanie Simmons’ October 31, 2022 essay on quantum technology and Canada for The Conversation (h/t Nov.1.22 news item on phys.org) was a bit startling—not due to the content—but for the chosen communications vehicle. It’s the kind of piece i expect to find in the Globe and Mail or the National Post not The Conversation, which aspires to present in depth, accessible academic research and informed news stories (or so I thought). (See The Conversation (website) Wikipedia entry for more.)

Simmons (who is an academic) seems to have ‘written’ a run-of-the-mill public relations piece (with a good and accessible description of quantum encryption and its future importance) about Canada and quantum technology aimed at influencing government policy makers while using some magic words (Note: Links have been removed),

Canada is a world leader in developing quantum technologies and is well-positioned to secure its place in the emerging quantum industry.

Quantum technologies are new and emerging technologies based on the unique properties of quantum mechanics — the science that deals with the physical properties of nature on an atomic and subatomic level.

In the future, we’ll see quantum technology transforming computing, communications, cryptography and much more. They will be incredibly powerful, offering capabilities that reach beyond today’s technologies.

The potential impact of these technologies on the Canadian economy [emphasis mine] will be transformative: the National Research Council of Canada has identified quantum technology as a $142 billion opportunity that could employ 229,000 Canadians by 2040 [emphasis mine].

Canada could gain far-reaching economic and social benefits from the rapidly developing quantum industry, but it must act now to secure them — before someone else [emphasis mine] delivers the first large-scale quantum computer, which will likely be sooner than expected.

This is standard stuff, any professional business writer, after a little research, could have pulled the article together. But, it’s Stephanie Simmons whose academic titles (Associate Professor, SFU and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies, Simon Fraser University) and position as founder and Chief Quantum Officer of Photonic, Inc. give her comments added weight. (For an academic, this is an unusual writing style [perhaps Simmons had some help?] and it better belongs in the newspapers I’ve previously cited.)

Simmons, having stoked a little anxiety with “it [Canada] must act now to secure them [economic and social benefits] — before someone else delivers the first large-scale quantum computer, which will likely be sooner than expected,” gets to her main points, from the October 31, 2022 essay,

To maintain its leadership, Canada needs to move beyond research and development and accelerate a quantum ecosystem that includes a strong talent pipeline, businesses supported by supply chains and governments and industry involvement. There are a few things Canada can do to drive this leadership:

Continue to fund quantum research: … The Canadian government has invested more than $1 billion since 2005 in quantum research and will likely announce a national quantum strategy soon [emphasis mine]. Canada must continue funding quantum research or risk losing its talent base and current competitive advantage. [Note: Canada has announced a national quantum strategy in both the 2021 and 2022 federal budgets See more under the ‘Don’t we already have a national quantum strategy? subhead]

Build our talent pipeline with more open immigration: …

Be our own best customers: Canadian companies are leading the way, but they need support [emphasis mine; by support, does she mean money?]. Quantum Industry Canada boasts of more than 30 member companies. Vancouver is home to the pioneering D-Wave and Photonic Inc., …

As noted in a previous post (July 26, 2022 titled “Quantum Mechanics & Gravity conference [August 15 – 19, 2022] launches Vancouver (Canada)-based Quantum Gravity Institute and more”), all of this enthusiasm tends to come down to money, as in, ‘We will make money which will somehow benefit you but, first, we need more money from you’. As for the exhortation to loosen up immigration, that sounds like an attempt to exacerbate ‘brain drain’, i.e., lure people from other countries to settle in Canada. As a country whose brains were drained in the 1960s, 70s, etc., it should be noted those drives were deeply resented here and I expect that we will become objects of resentment should we resort to the same tactics although I thought we already had.

Same anxieties, same solution

Simmons concludes with a cautionary tale, from the October 31, 2022 essay, Note: Links have been removed,

Canada has an opportunity to break out of its pattern of inventing transformative technology, but not reaping the rewards. This is what happened with the invention of the transistor.

The first transistor patent was actually filed in Canada by Canadian-Hungarian physicist Julius Edgar Lilienfeld, 20 years before the Bell Labs demonstration. Canada was also one of the places where Alexander Graham Bell worked to develop and patent the telephone.

Despite this, the transistor was commercialized in the U.S. and led to the country’s US$63 billion semiconductor industry. Bell commercialized the telephone through The Bell Telephone Company, which eventually became AT&T.

Canada is poised to make even greater contributions to quantum technology. Much existing technology has been invented here in Canada — including quantum cryptography, which was co-invented by University of Montreal professor Gilles Brassard. Instead of repeating its past mistakes, Canada should act now to secure the success of the quantum technology industry.

I bought into this narrative too. It’s compelling and generally accepted (in short, it’s a part of Canadian culture) but somebody who’s smarter about business and economics than I am pointed out that Canada has a good standard of living and has had that standard for many years despite decades of worry over our ‘inability’ to commercialize our discoveries. Following on that thought, what’s so bad about our situation? Are we behind because we don’t have a huge semiconductor industry? I don’t know but perhaps we need to question this narrative a little more closely. Where some people see loss, others might see agility, inventiveness, and the ability to keep capitalizing on early stage technology, over and over again.

What I haven’t yet seen discussed as a problem is a Canadian culture that encourages technology entrepreneurs to create startups with the intention of selling them to a big US (or other country) corporation. I’m most familiar with the situation in the province of British Columbia where a 2003 British Columbia Techmap (developed by the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers [PWC]) provides a genealogy which stretched from the 1890s to 2003. The number of technology companies acquired by foreign corporations is astonishing. Our technology has been bought—over and over, since the 1890s.

(I believe there were three editions of the British Columbia Techmap: 1997, 2003 and 2012. PWC seems to have discontinued publication and the 2012 online edition is no longer available. For the curious, there’s a June 15, 2012 announcement, which provides a little information about and interesting facts from the 2012 digital edition.)

This ‘startup and sell’ story holds true at the national level as well. We have some large technology companies but none of them compare to these: Huawei (China), Ali Baba (China), Intel (US), Apple (US), Siemens (Germany), Sanofi (France; technically a pharmaceutical but heavily invested in technology), etc.

So, is this “… inventing transformative technology, but not reaping the rewards …” really a problem when Canadians live well? If so, we need to change our entrepreneurial and business culture.

Don’t we already have a national quantum strategy?

It’s a little puzzling to see Simmons appear to be arguing for a national quantum strategy given this (from my July 26, 2022 posting),

A National Quantum Strategy was first announced in the 2021 Canadian federal budget and reannounced in the 2022 federal budget (see my April 19, 2022 posting for a few more budget details).. Or, you may find this National Quantum Strategy Consultations: What We Heard Report more informative. There’s also a webpage for general information about the National Quantum Strategy.

As evidence of action, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced new grant programmes made possible by the National Quantum Strategy in a March 15, 2022 news release,

Quantum science and innovation are giving rise to promising advances in communications, computing, materials, sensing, health care, navigation and other key areas. The Government of Canada is committed to helping shape the future of quantum technology by supporting Canada’s quantum sector and establishing leadership in this emerging and transformative domain.

Today [March 15, 2022], the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, is announcing an investment of $137.9 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants and Alliance grants. These grants are an important next step in advancing the National Quantum Strategy and will reinforce Canada’s research strengths in quantum science while also helping to develop a talent pipeline to support the growth of a strong quantum community.

it gets even more puzzling when you know that Simmons is part of a Canadian Council of Academies (CCA) expert panel (announced in May 2022) to produce a report on Quantum Technologies,

Budget 2021 included a National Quantum Strategy [emphasis mine] to amplify Canada’s strength in quantum research, grow quantum-ready technologies, and solidify Canada’s global leadership in this area. A comprehensive exploration of the capabilities and potential vulnerabilities of these technologies will help to inform their future deployment across the society and the economy.

This assessment will examine the impacts, opportunities, and challenges quantum technologies present for industry, governments, and people in Canada. [emphases mine]

The Sponsor:

National Research Council Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada [emphasis mine]

It’s possible someone else wrote the essay, someone who doesn’t know about the strategy or Simmons’ involvement in a CCA report on how to address the issues highlighted in her October 31, 2022 essay. It’s also possible that Simmons is trying to emphasize the need for a commercialization strategy for quantum technologies.

Given that the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) was asked to produce what looks like a comprehensive national strategy including commercialization, I prefer the second possibility.

*ETA December 29, 2022 1020 hours PT: On a purely speculative note, I just noticed involvement from a US PR agency in this project, from my “Bank of Canada and Multiverse Computing model complex networks & cryptocurrencies with quantum computing” July 25, 2022 posting,

As for the company that produced the news release, HKA Marketing Communications, based in Southern California, they claim this “Specialists in Quantum Tech PR: #1 agency in this space” on their homepage.

Simmons is on the CCA’s Quantum Technologies’ expert panel along with Eric Santor, Advisor to the Governor, Bank of Canada. HKA’s involvement would certainly explain why the writer didn’t know there’s already a National Quantum Strategy and not know about Simmons’ membership in the expert panel. As I noted, this is pure speculation; I have no proof.*

At any rate, there may be another problem, our national quantum dilemma may be due to difficulties within the Canadian quantum community.

A fractious Canadian quantum community

I commented on the competitiveness within the quantum technologies community in my May 4, 2021 posting about the federal 2021 budget, “While the folks in the quantum world are more obviously competitive … ,” i.e., they are strikingly public in comparison to the genomic and artificial intelligence communities. Scroll down to the ‘National Quantum Strategy’ subhead in the May 4, 2021 posting for an example.

It can also be seen in my July 26, 2022 posting about the Vancouver (Canada) launch of the Quantum Gravity Institute where I noted the lack of Canadian physicists (not one from the CCA expert panel, the Perimeter Institute, or TRIUMF; Canada’s particle accelerator centre, or the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo) in the speaker list and the prominent role wealthy men who’ve taken up quantum science as a hobby played in its founding. BTW, it seems two Canadian physicists (in addition to Philip Stamp; all from the University of British Columbia) were added to the speaker list and D-Wave Systems was added to the institute’s/conference’s webpage sponsorship list (scroll down about 70% of the way) after I posted.

Hopefully the quantum science/research community will pull together, in public, at least.

Who is the audience?

Getting back to Simmons’ piece on The Conversation, her essay, especially one that appears to be part of a public relations campaign, can appeal to more than one audience. The trick, as all (script, news, business, public relations, science, etc.) writers will tell you, is to write for one audience. As counter-intuitive as that trick may seem, it works.

Canadian policy makers should already know that the federal government has announced a national quantum strategy in two different budgets. Additionally, affected scientists should already know about the national strategy, such as it is. Clearly, children are not the intended audience. Perhaps it’s intended for a business audience but the specific business case is quite weak and, as I’ve noted here and elsewhere, the ‘failure’ to take advantage of early developments is a well worn science business trope which ignores a Canadian business model focused on developing emerging technology then, selling it.

This leaves a ‘general’ audience as the only one left and that audience doesn’t tend to read The Conversation website. Here’s the description of the publisher from its Wikipedia entry, Note: Links have been removed,

The Conversation is a network of not-for-profit media outlets publishing news stories and research reports online, with accompanying expert opinion and analysis.[1][2] Articles are written by academics and researchers [emphasis mine]under a free Creative Commons license, allowing reuse without modification.[3][2] Its model has been described as explanatory journalism.[4][5][6] [emphasis mine] Except in “exceptional circumstances”, it only publishes articles by “academics employed by, or otherwise formally connected to, accredited institutions, including universities and accredited research bodies”.[7]: 8 

Simmons’ piece is not so much explanatory as it is a plea for a policy on a website that newspapers use for free, pre-edited, and proofed content.

I imagine the hope was that a Canadian national newspaper such as the Globe & Mail and/or the National Post would republish it. That hope was realized when the National Post and, unexpectedly, a local paper, the Winnipeg Free Press, both republished it on November 1, 2022.

To sum up, it’s not clear to me what the goal for this piece was. Government policy makers don’t need it, the business case is not sufficiently supported, children are not going to care, and affected scientists are already aware of the situation. (Scientists who will be not affected by a national quantum policy will have their own agendas.) As for a member of the general audience, am I supposed to do something … other than care, that is?

The meaning of a banana

It is an odd piece which may or may not be part of a larger public relations campaign.

As a standalone piece, it reiterates the age old message regarding Canadian technology (“we don’t do a good job of commercializing our technology) to no great avail. As part of a strategy, it seems to be a misfire since we already have a national quantum strategy and Simmons is working on an expert panel that should be delivering the kind of policy she’s requesting.

In the end, all that can be said for certain is that Stephanie Simmons’ October 31, 2022 essay on quantum technology and Canada was published in The Conversation then republished elsewhere.

As Freud may or may not have said, “Sometimes a banana is just a banana.”

Nigeria and its nanotechnology research

Agbaje Lateef’s (Professor of Microbiology and Head of Nanotechnology Research Group (NANO+) at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology) April 20, 2022 essay on nanotechnology in Nigeria for The Conversation offers an overview and a plea, Note: Links have been removed,

Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria and Algeria lead the field in Africa. Since 2006, South Africa has been developing scientists, providing infrastructure, establishing centres of excellence, developing national policy and setting regulatory standards for nanotechnology. Companies such as Mintek, Nano South Africa, SabiNano and Denel Dynamics are applying the science.

In contrast, Nigeria’s nanotechnology journey, which started with a national initiative in 2006, has been slow. It has been dogged by uncertainties, poor funding and lack of proper coordination. Still, scientists in Nigeria have continued to place the country on the map through publications.

In addition, research clusters at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and others have organised conferences. Our research group also founded an open access journal, Nano Plus: Science and Technology of Nanomaterials.

To get an idea of how well Nigeria was performing in nanotechnology research and development, we turned to SCOPUS, an academic database.

Our analysis shows that research in nanotechnology takes place in 71 Nigerian institutions in collaboration with 58 countries. South Africa, Malaysia, India, the US and China are the main collaborators. Nigeria ranked fourth in research articles published from 2010 to 2020 after Egypt, South Africa and Tunisia.

Five institutions contributed 43.88% of the nation’s articles in this period. They were the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Covenant University, Ota; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso; University of Ilorin; and University of Lagos.

The number of articles published by Nigerian researchers in the same decade was 645. Annual output grew from five articles in 2010 to 137 in the first half of 2020. South Africa published 2,597 and Egypt 5,441 from 2010 to 2020. The global total was 414,526 articles.

The figures show steady growth in Nigeria’s publications. But the performance is low in view of the fact that the country has the most universities in Africa.

The research performance is also low in relation to population and economy size. Nigeria produced 1.58 articles per 2 million people and 1.09 articles per US$3 billion of GDP in 2019. South Africa recorded 14.58 articles per 2 million people and 3.65 per US$3 billion. Egypt published 18.51 per 2 million people and 9.20 per US$3 billion in the same period.

There is no nanotechnology patent of Nigerian origin in the US patents office. Standards don’t exist for nano-based products. South Africa had 23 patents in five years, from 2016 to 2020.

Nigerian nanotechnology research is limited by a lack of sophisticated instruments for analysis. It is impossible to conduct meaningful research locally without foreign collaboration on instrumentation. The absence of national policy on nanotechnology and of dedicated funds also hinder research.

In February 2018, Nigeria’s science and technology minister unveiled a national steering committee on nanotechnology policy. But the policy is yet to be approved by the federal government. In September 2021, I presented a memorandum to the national council on science, technology and innovation to stimulate national discourse on nanotechnology.

Given that this essay is dated more than six months after Professor Lateef’s memorandum to the national council, I’m assuming that no action has been taken as of yet.

A June 2022 addition to the Nigerian nanotechnology story

Agbaje Lateef has written a June 8, 2022 essay for The Conversation about nanotechnology and the Nigerian textile industry (Note: Links have been removed),

Nigeria’s cotton production has fallen steeply in recent years. It once supported the largest textile industry in Africa. The fall is due to weak demand for cotton and to poor yields resulting from planting low-quality cottonseeds. For these reasons, farmers switched from cotton to other crops.

Nigeria’s cotton output fell from 602,400 tonnes in 2010 to 51,000 tonnes in 2020. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the country’s textile industry had 180 textile mills employing over 450,000 people, supported by about 600,000 cotton farmers. By 2019, there were 25 textile mills and 25,000 workers.

Nowadays, textiles’ properties can be greatly improved through nanotechnology – the use of extremely small materials with special properties. Nanomaterials like graphene and silver nanoparticles make textiles stronger, durable, and resistant to germs, radiation, water and fire.

Adding nanomaterials to textiles produces nanotextiles. These are often “smart” because they respond to the external environment in different ways when combined with electronics. They can be used to harvest and store energy, to release drugs, and as sensors in different applications.

Nanotextiles are increasingly used in defence and healthcare. For hospitals, they are used to produce bandages, curtains, uniforms and bedsheets with the ability to kill pathogens. The market value of nanotextiles was US$5.1 billion in 2019 and could reach US$14.8 billion in 2024.

At the moment, Nigeria is not benefiting from nanotextiles’ economic potential as it produces none. With over 216 million people, the country should be able to support its textile industry. It could also explore trading opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to market innovative nanotextiles.

Lateef goes on to describe his research (from his June 8, 2022 essay),

Our nanotechnology research group has made the first attempt to produce nanotextiles using cotton and silk in Nigeria. We used silver and silver-titanium oxide nanoparticles produced by locust beans’ wastewater. Locust bean is a multipurpose tree legume found in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa. The seeds, the fruit pulp and the leaves are used to prepare foods and drinks.

The seeds are used to produce a local condiment called “iru” in southwest Nigeria. The processing of iru generates a large quantity of wastewater that is not useful. We used the wastewater to reduce some compounds to produce silver and silver-titanium nanoparticles in the laboratory.

Fabrics were dipped into nanoparticle solutions to make nanotextiles. Thereafter, the nanotextiles were exposed to known bacteria and fungi. The growth of the organisms was monitored to determine the ability of the nanotextiles to kill them.

The nanotextiles prevented growth of several pathogenic bacteria and black mould, making them useful as antimicrobial materials. They were active against germs even after being washed five times with detergent. Textiles without nanoparticles did not prevent the growth of microorganisms.

These studies showed that nanotextiles can kill harmful microorganisms including those that are resistant to drugs. Materials such as air filters, sportswear, nose masks, and healthcare fabrics produced from nanotextiles possess excellent antimicrobial attributes. Nanotextiles can also promote wound healing and offer resistance to radiation, water and fire.

Our studies established the value that nanotechnology can add to textiles through hygiene and disease prevention. Using nanotextiles will promote good health and well-being for sustainable development. They will assist to reduce infections that are caused by germs.

Despite these benefits, nanomaterials in textiles can have some unwanted effects on the environment, health and safety. Some nanomaterials can harm human health causing irritation when they come in contact with skin or inhaled. Also, their release to the environment in large quantities can harm lower organisms and reduce growth of plants. We recommend that the impacts of nanotextiles should be evaluated case by case before use.

Dear Professor Lateef, I hope you see some action on your suggestions soon and thank you for the update. Also, good luck with your nanotextiles.

Building Transdisciplinary Research Paths [for a] Sustainable & Inclusive Future, a December 14, 2022 science policy event

I received (via email) a December 8, 2022 Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC) announcement about their various doings when this event, which seems a little short on information, caught my attention,

[Building Transdisciplinary Research Paths towards a more Sustainable and Inclusive Future]

Upcoming Virtual Event

With this workshop, Belmont Forum and IAI aim to open a collective reflection on the ideas and practices around ‘Transdisciplinarity’ (TD) to foster participatory knowledge production. Our goal is to create a safe environment for people to share their impressions about TD, as a form of experimental lab based on a culture of collaboration.

This CSPC event page cleared up a few questions,

Building Transdisciplinary Research Paths towards a more Sustainable and Inclusive Future

Global environmental change and sustainability require engagement with civil society and wide participation to gain social legitimacy, also, it is necessary to open cooperation among different scientific disciplines, borderless collaboration, and collaborative learning processes, among other crucial issues.

Those efforts have been recurrently encompassed by the idea of ‘Transdisciplinarity’ (TD), which is a fairly new word and evolving concept. Several of those characteristics are daily practices in academic and non-academic communities, sometimes under different words or conceptions.

With this workshop, Belmont Forum and IAI [Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research?] aim to open a collective reflection on the ideas and practices around ‘Transdisciplinarity’ (TD) to foster participatory knowledge production. Our goal is to create a safe environment for people to share their impressions about TD, as a form of experimental lab based on a culture of collaboration.

Date: Dec 14 [2022]

Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST

Website [Register here]: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArcOCupj4rHdBbwhSUpVhpvPuou5kNlZId

For the curious, here’s more about the Belmont Forum from their About page, Note: Links have been removed,

Established in 2009, the Belmont Forum is a partnership of funding organizations, international science councils, and regional consortia committed to the advancement of transdisciplinary science. Forum operations are guided by the Belmont Challenge, a vision document that encourages:

International transdisciplinary research providing knowledge for understanding, mitigating and adapting to global environmental change.

Forum members and partner organizations work collaboratively to meet this Challenge by issuing international calls for proposals, committing to best practices for open data access, and providing transdisciplinary training.  To that end, the Belmont Forum is also working to enhance the broader capacity to conduct transnational environmental change research through its e-Infrastructure and Data Management initiative.

Since its establishment, the Forum has successfully led 19 calls for proposals, supporting 134 projects and more than 1,000 scientists and stakeholders, representing over 90 countries.  Themes addressed by CRAs have included Freshwater Security, Coastal Vulnerability, Food Security and Land Use Change, Climate Predictability and Inter-Regional Linkages, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Arctic Observing and Science for Sustainability, and Mountains as Sentinels of Change.  New themes are developed through a scoping process and made available for proposals through the Belmont Forum website and its BF Grant Operations site.

If you keep scrolling down the Bellmont Forum’s About page, you’ll find an impressive list of partners including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

I’m pretty sure IAI is Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, given that two of the panelists come from that organization. Here’s more about the IAI from their About Us page, Note: Links have been removed,

Humans have affected practically all ecosystems on earth. Over the past 200 years, mankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere have changed its radiative properties and are causing a rise in global temperatures which is now modifying Earth system functions globally. As a result, the 21st-century is faced with environmental changes from local to global scales that require large efforts of mitigation and adaptation by societies and ecosystems. The causes and effects, problems and solutions of global change interlink biogeochemistry, Earth system functions and socio-economic conditions in increasingly complex ways. To guide efforts of mitigation and adaptation to global change and aid policy decisions, scientific knowledge now needs to be generated in broad transdisciplinary ways that address the needs of knowledge users and also provide profound understanding of complex socio-environmental systems.

To address these knowledge needs, 12 nations of the American continent came together in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1992 to establish the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI). The 12 governments, in the Declaration of Montevideo, called for the Institute to develop the best possible international coordination of scientific and economic research on the extent, causes, and consequences of global change in the Americas.

Sixteen governments signed the resulting Agreement Establishing the IAI which laid the  foundation for the IAI’s function as a regional intergovernmental organization that promotes interdisciplinary scientific research and capacity building to inform decision-makers on the continent and beyond. Since the establishment of the Agreement in 1992, 3 additional nations have acceded the treaty, and the IAI has now 19 Parties in the Americas, which come together once every year in the Conference of the Parties to monitor and direct the IAI’s activities.

Now onto the best part, reading about the panelists (from CSPC event page, scroll down and click on the See bio button), Note: I have made some rough changes to the formatting so that the bios match each other more closely,

Dr. Lily House-Peters is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. House-Peters is a broadly trained human-environment geographer with experience in qualitative and quantitative approaches to human dimensions of environmental change, water security, mining and extraction, and natural resource conservation policy. She has a decade of experience and expertise in transdisciplinary research for action-oriented solutions to global environmental change. She is currently part of a team creating a curriculum for global change researchers in the Americas focused on the drivers and barriers of effective transdisciplinary collaboration and processes of integration and convergence in diverse teams.

Dr. Gabriela Alonso Yanez, Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education University of Calgary. Learning and education in the context of sustainability and global change are the focus of my work. Over the last ten years, I have participated in several collaborative research projects with multiple aims, including building researchers’ and organizations’ capacity for collaboration and engaging networks that include knowledge keepers, local community members and academics in co-designing and co-producing solutions-oriented knowledge.

Marshalee Valentine, MSc, BTech. Marshalee Valentine is Co-founder and Vice President of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance Jamaica (IWCA), a charitable organization responsible for the development and implementation of social impact and community development projects geared towards improving the livelihoods of women along the coffee value chain in Jamaica. In addition, she also owns and operates a Quality, Food Safety and Environmental Management Systems Consultancy. Her areas of expertise include; Process improvement, technology and Innovation transfer methods, capacity building and community-based research.

With a background in Agriculture, she holds a Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management. Marshalee offers a unique perspective for regional authenticity bringing deep sensibility to issues of gender, equity and inclusion, in particular related to GEC issues in small countries.

Fany Ramos Quispe, Science Technology and Policy Fellow, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research. Fany Ramos Quispe holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, and an MSc. in Environmental Change and International Development from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. She worked with a variety of private and public organizations at the national and international levels. She has experience on projects related to renewable energies, waste and water management, environmental education, climate change, and inter and transdisciplinary research, among others. After her postgraduate studies, she joined the Bolivian government mainly to support international affairs related to climate change at the Plurinational Authority of Mother Earth, afterwards, she joined the Centre for Social Research of the Vicepresidency as a Climate Change Specialist.

For several years now she combined academic and professional activities with side projects and activism for environmental and educational issues. She is a founder and former chair (2019-2020) of the environmental engineers’ society of La Paz and collaborates with different grassroots organizations.

Fany is a member of OWSD Bolivia [Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World {OWSD}] and current IAI Science, Technology and Policy fellow at the Belmont Forum.

Dr. Laila Sandroni, Science Technology and Policy Fellow, InterAmerican Institute for Global Change Research. Laila Sandroni is an Anthropologist and Geographer with experience in transdisciplinary research in social sciences. Her research interests lie in the field of transformations to sustainability and the role of different kinds of knowledge in defining the best paths to achieve biodiversity conservation and forest management. She has particular expertise in epistemology, power-knowledge relations, and evidence-based policy in environmental issues.

Laila has a longstanding involvement with stakeholders working on different paths towards biodiversity conservation. She has experience in transdisciplinary science and participatory methodologies to encompass plural knowledge on the management of protected areas in tropical rainforests in Brazil.

This event seems to be free and it looks like an exciting panel.

Unexpectedly, they don’t have a male participant amongst the panelists. Outside of groups that are explicitly exploring women’s issues in the sciences, I’ve never before seen a science panel composed entirely of women. As well, the organizers seem to have broadened the range of geographies represented at a Canadian event with a researcher who has experience in Brazil, another with experience in Bolivia, a panelist who works in Jamaica, and two academics who focus on the Americas (South, Central, and North).

Transdisciplinarity and other disciplinarities

There are so many: crossdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity, that the whole subject gets a little confusing. Jeffrey Evans’ July 29, 2014 post on the Purdue University (Indiana, US) Polytechnic Institute blog answers questions about three (trans-, multi-, and inter-) of the disciplinarities,

Learners entering the Polytechnic Incubator’s new program will no doubt hear the terms “multidisciplinary (arity)” and “interdisciplinary (arity)” thrown about somewhat indiscriminately. Interestingly, we administrators, faculty, and staff also use these terms rather loosely and too often without carefully considering their underlying meaning.

Recently I gave a talk about yet another disciplinarity: “transdisciplinarity.” The purpose of the talk was to share with colleagues from around the country the opportunities and challenges associated with developing a truly transdisciplinary environment in an institution of higher education. During a meeting after I returned, the terms “multi”, “inter”, and “trans” disciplinary(arity) were being thrown around, and it was clear that the meanings of the terms were not clearly understood. Hopefully this blog entry will help shed some light on the subject. …

First, I am not an expert in the various “disciplinarities.” The ideas and descriptions that follow are not mine and have been around for decades, with many books and articles written on the subject. Yet my Polytechnic Incubator colleagues and I believe in these ideas and in their advantages and constraints, and they serve to motivate the design of the Incubator’s transdisciplinary environment.

In 1992, Hugh G. Petrie wrote a seminal article1 for the American Educational Research Association that articulates the meaning of these ideas. Later, in 2007, A. Wendy Russell, Fern Wickson, and Anna L. Carew contributed an article2 discussing the context of transdisciplinarity, prescriptions for transdisciplinary knowledge production and the contradictions that arise, and suggestions for universities to develop capacity for transdisciplinarity, rather than simply investing in knowledge “products.” …

Multidisciplinarity

Petrie1 discusses multidisciplinarity as “the idea of a number of disciplines working together on a problem, an educational program, or a research study. The effect is additive rather than integrative. The project is usually short-lived, and there is seldom any long-term change in the ways in which the disciplinary participants in a multidisciplinary project view their own work.”

Interdisciplinarity

Moving to extend the idea of multidisciplinarity to include more integration, rather than just addition, Petrie writes about interdisciplinarity in this way:

“Interdisciplinary research or education typically refers to those situations in which the integration of the work goes beyond the mere concatenation of disciplinary contributions. Some key elements of disciplinarians’ use of their concepts and tools change. There is a level of integration. Interdisciplinary subjects in university curricula such as physical chemistry or social psychology, which by now have, perhaps,themselves become disciplines, are good examples. A newer one might be the field of immunopharmocology, which combines the work of bacteriology, chemistry, physiology, and immunology. Another instance of interdisciplinarity might be the emerging notion of a core curriculum that goes considerably beyond simple distribution requirements in undergraduate programs of general education.”

Transdisciplinarity

Petrie1 writes about transdisciplinarity in this way: “The notion of transdisciplinarity exemplifies one of the historically important driving forces in the area of interdisciplinarity, namely, the idea of the desirability of the integration of knowledge into some meaningful whole. The best example, perhaps, of the drive to transdisciplinarity might be the early discussions of general systems theory when it was being held forward as a grand synthesis of knowledge. Marxism, structuralism, and feminist theory are sometimes cited as examples of a transdisciplinary approach. Essentially, this kind of interdisciplinarity represents the impetus to integrate knowledge, and, hence, is often characterized by a denigration and repudiation of the disciplines and disciplinary work as essentially fragmented and incomplete.

It seems multidisciplinarity could be viewed as an ad hoc approach whereas interdsciplinarity and transdisciplinarity are intimately related with ‘inter-‘ being a subset of ‘trans-‘.

I think that’s enough for now. Should I ever stumble across a definition for crossdisciplinarity, I will endeavour to add it here.

In person conference highlights for Navigating Uncertainty; Targeting Sustainability (CSPC 2022) in Ottawa, Canada (Nov. 16 – 18, 2022)

Unless something very exciting happens, I think this will be my last post about the 2022 edition of the Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC 2022). From an October 27, 2022 CSPC announcement (received via email), here are some of the highlights for people attending the November 16 – 18, 2022 conference in person,

Conversation with Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Remarks by Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Chair of the Standing Committee on Science and Research of the House of Commons

CRCC [Canada Research Coordinating Committee] Panel:
CRCC Progress Report – Moving Forward 

Plenary Sessions: 
Canadian Universities, News Frontier and Societal Challenges
-Steven Liss, Simon Kennedy, Stephen Toope, Sophie D’Amours, Elicia Maine

A Path to Process Innovation and Enhanced Productivity in Canada 
-Iain Stewart, Dan Breznitz, Éric Baril, Andrea Johnston

Breakfast Session: Conversation with New Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System
-Frédéric Bouchard, Gilles Patry and Vianne Timmons

Luncheon Session: Conversation with Dr. Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor 

INGA [International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)] North America Chapter Workshop (RSVP Required)

Special Performance: The Anniversary, A Play (RSVP Required)

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) is new to me. So, I went looking for more information,

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) advances federal research priorities and the coordination of policies and programs of Canada’s research funding agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. It provides a senior strategic forum for sharing information, building consensus and making decisions on forward-looking initiatives that strengthen Canada’s research enterprise, foster world-leading research, and advance the social and economic well-being of Canadians.

Details about the play can be found in my August 31, 2022 post titled: Navigating Uncertainty; Targeting Sustainability—the Canadian Science Policy Conference (Nov. 16 – 18, 2022). Scroll down about 40% of the way to find The Anniversary: A play.

I covered the new Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System in an October 13, 2022 post titled: Are we spending money on the right research? Government of Canada launches Advisory Panel.

The International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) has been mentioned here a few times, notably in an August 31, 2021 post titled: 4th International Conference on Science Advice to Governments (INGSA2021) August 30 – September 2, 2021; it was held here in Canada. I had a follow up the next day in a September 1, 2021 post.

You can find the CSPC 2022 website here.

Science Meets (Canadian) Parliament’s call for applications

The Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC) is accepting applications for its Science Meets Parliament programme and there’s an online information session coming up on October 26, 2022. Read on, from an October 13, 2022 CSPC announcement received via email,

The application process for Science Meets Parliament 2023 is now open!

Science Meets Parliament (SMP) is a program that works to strengthen the connections between the science and policy communities. This program is open to Tier II Canada Research Chairs, Indigenous faculty members, and Banting Postdoctoral Fellows. The deadline to apply for this program is November 30th, 2022. To apply, click here.

A virtual information session will be held for eligible candidates on October 26th, from 12:00-1:00 pm ET [emphases mine]. For more information, click here.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available! Click on this link here for more information.

I have more from the Science Meets Parliament 2023 webpage on the CSPC website (Note: i have restructured and reformatted the information from the page),

The objective of this initiative is to strengthen the connections between Canada’s scientific and political communities, enable a two-way dialogue, and promote mutual understanding. This initiative aims to help scientists become familiar with policy making at the political level, and for parliamentarians to explore using scientific evidence in policy making. This initiative is not meant to be an advocacy exercise, and will not include any discussion of science funding or other forms of advocacy.

The Science Meets Parliament model is adapted from the successful Australian program held annually since 1999. Similar initiatives exist in the EU, the UK and Spain.

CSPC’s program aims to benefit the parliamentarians, the scientific community and, indirectly, the Canadian public.

The Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC) and the Office of the Chief Science Advisor (OCSA) are pleased to announce that registration is open for the 2023 edition of Science Meets Parliament!

This program is scheduled to take place in Ottawa in spring 2023, subject to Parliament being in session and in person.

CSPC and OCSA are pleased to offer this program in 2023 to help strengthen the connection between the science and policy communities. The program provides an excellent opportunity for researchers to learn about the inclusion of scientific evidence in policy making in Parliament.

The Science Meets Parliament program has taken place twice (November 5-6, 2018 & May 9-10, 2022) and brought nearly 60 emerging leaders of the scientific community from across Canada to the Hill. The program has been a great success, receiving positive feedback from both Science Meets Parliament delegates and participating parliamentarians.

A virtual information session will be held on October 26, 2022, 12:00-1:00 pm ET – interested parties may register here.

Before you dash off, here’s who’s eligible and some of the requirements, from the Science Meets Parliament 2023 webpage,

The program will be available to three streams:

  • Researchers who currently hold a Tier II Canada Research Chair position and are affiliated with a Canadian post-secondary institution (Tier II Canada Research Chair status must be announced by November 30th, 2022).
  • Indigenous researchers (priority will be given to researchers who are faculty members affiliated with academic research institutions).
  • Researchers who currently hold a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship and are affiliated with a Canadian post-secondary institution (Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship status must be announced by November 30th, 2022).

Former Science Meets Parliament delegates (from 2018 and 2021) are excluded from application.

About 40 researchers from a diverse range of disciplines will be invited to participate in Science Meets Parliament 2023. In future iterations of this program, we hope to expand the application process further to include researchers from more career stages.

A multi-disciplinary committee will oversee the application and selection process, during which the diversity of disciplines, geography, and identities will be considered.

The application deadline is November 30th, 2022.

  1. Registration fee: Accepted delegates will be required to pay a registration fee of $600 (Canada Research Chairs) or $300 (Banting Postdoctoral Fellows), which includes admission to the program, breakfast, lunch, one dinner and an evening networking reception. All delegates will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs.
  2. Scientists who attend this session are required to share their experience and insights from the SMP program through a lecture at their host institution and/or an editorial in a CSPC featured editorial series or the OCSA website.

Delegates are highly encouraged to publish about their experience in academic or news publications. Participants are also encouraged to publish pieces in other media on their research to engage the general public.

For more information, please contact sciencemeetsparliament@sciencepolicy.ca

To apply for this program in English click here, for French click here.

Bonne chance!

Are we spending money on the right research? Government of Canada launches Advisory Panel

it’s a little surprising that this is not being managed by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) but perhaps their process is not quite nimble enough (from an October 6, 2022 Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada news release),

Government of Canada launches Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System

Members to recommend enhancements to system to position Canadian researchers for success

October 6, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s success is in large part due to our world-class researchers and their teams who are globally recognized for unleashing bold new ideas, driving technological breakthroughs and addressing complex societal challenges. The Government of Canada recognizes that for Canada to achieve its full potential, support for science and research must evolve as Canadians push beyond what is currently imaginable and continue to find Canadian-made solutions to the world’s toughest problems.

Today [October 6, 2022], the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, launched the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System. Benefiting from the insights of leaders in the science, research and innovation ecosystem, the panel will provide independent, expert policy advice on the structure, governance and management of the federal system supporting research and talent. This will ensure that Canadian researchers are positioned for even more success now and in the future.

The panel will focus on the relationships among the federal research granting agencies—the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—and the relationship between these agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis have shown, addressing the world’s most pressing challenges requires greater collaboration within the Canadian research community, government and industry, as well as with the international community. A cohesive and agile research support system will ensure Canadian researchers can quickly and effectively respond to the questions of today and tomorrow. Optimizing Canada’s research support system will equip researchers to transcend disciplines and borders, seize new opportunities and be responsive to emerging needs and interests to improve Canadians’ health, well-being and prosperity.

Quotes

“Canada is known for world-class research thanks to the enormous capabilities of our researchers. Canadian researchers transform curiosity into bold new ideas that can significantly enhance Canadians’ lives and well-being. With this advisory panel, our government will ensure our support for their research is just as cutting-edge as Canada’s science and research community.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Our priority is to support Canada’s world-class scientific community so it can respond effectively to the challenges of today and the future. That’s why we are leveraging the expertise and perspectives of a newly formed advisory panel to maximize the impact of research and downstream innovation, which contributes significantly to Canadians’ well-being and prosperity.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

Quick facts

The Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System has seven members, including the Chair. The members were selected by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Health. The panel will consult with experts and stakeholders to draw on their diverse experiences, expertise and opinions. 

Since 2016, the Government of Canada has committed more than $14 billion to support research and science across Canada. 

Here’s a list of advisory panel members I’ve assembled from the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System: Member biographies webpage,

  • Frédéric Bouchard (Chair) is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Université de Montréal, where he has been a professor of philosophy of science since 2005.
  • Janet Rossant is a Senior Scientist Emeritus in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program, the Hospital for Sick Children and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Department of Molecular Genetics.
  • [Gilles Patry] is Professor Emeritus and President Emeritus at the University of Ottawa. Following a distinguished career as a consulting engineer, researcher and university administrator, Gilles Patry is now a consultant and board director [Royal Canadian Mint].
  • Yolande E. Chan joined McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management as Dean and James McGill Professor in 2021. Her research focuses on innovation, knowledge strategy, digital strategy, digital entrepreneurship, and business-IT alignment.
  • Laurel Schafer is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on developing novel organometallic catalysts to carry out difficult transformations in small molecule organic chemistry.
  • Vianne Timmons is the President and Vice-Chancellor of Memorial University of Newfoundland since 2020. She is a nationally and internationally recognized researcher and advocate in the field of inclusive education.
  • Dr. Baljit Singh is a highly accomplished researcher, … . He began his role as Vice-President Research at the University of Saskatchewan in 2021, after serving as Dean of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (2016 – 2020), and as Associate Dean of Research at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan (2010 – 2016).

Nobody from the North. Nobody who’s worked there or lived there or researched there. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed a lack of representation for the North.

Canada’s golden triangle (Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa) is well represented and, as is often the case, there’s representation for other regions: one member from the Prairies, one member from the Maritimes or Atlantic provinces, and one member from the West.

The mandate indicates they could have five to eight members. With seven spots filled, they could include one more member, one from the North.

Even if they don’t add an eighth member, I’m not ready to abandon all hope for involvement from the North when there’s this, from the mandate,

Communications and deliverables

In pursuing its mandate, and to strengthen its advice, the panel may engage with experts and stakeholders to expand access [emphasis mine] to diverse experience, expertise and opinion, and enhance members’ understanding of the topics at hand.

To allow for frank and open discussion, internal panel deliberations among members will be closed.

The panel will deliver a final confidential report by December 2022 [emphasis mine] to the Ministers including recommendations and considerations regarding the modernization of the research support system. A summary of the panel’s observations on the state of the federal research support system may be made public once its deliberations have concluded. The Ministers may also choose to seek confidential advice and/or feedback from the panel on other issues related to the research system.

The panel may also be asked to deliver an interim confidential report to the Ministers by November 2022 [emphases mine], which will provide the panel’s preliminary observations up to that point.

it seems odd there’s no mention of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. It’s my understanding that the funding goes directly from the federal government to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), which then distributes the funds. There are other unmentioned science funding agencies, e.g., the National Research Council of Canada and Genome Canada, which (as far as I know) also receive direct funding. It seems that the panel will not be involved in a comprehensive review of Canada’s research support ecosystem.

Plus, I wonder why everything is being kept ‘confidential’. According the government news release, the panel is tasked with finding ways of “optimizing Canada’s research support system.” Do they have security concerns or is this a temporary state of affairs while the government analysts examine the panel’s report?

Canadian Forum on Innovation and Societal Impact launches at McMaster University on Oct. 12th and 13th 2022

The Canadian Science Policy Centre’s September 22, 2022 announcement (received via email) includes this nugget of information,

The Canadian Forum on Innovation and Societal Impact [CFSI] will launch in the Fall 2022 with a first series of catalyst roundtables, deliberative dialogues and concertation workshops at McMaster University on October 12th and 13th,  2022. A joint-venture of the Canadian Science Policy Centre and The/La Collaborative, CFISI will convene social research and innovation stakeholders across sectors with the purpose of exploring alignment on policies and practices that leverage impact-first training and knowledge mobilisation in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) to foster innovation and build capacity in the social and municipal sectors. For more information, please click here.

I went to the CFSI webpage on the McMaster University website and found this,

The objective of the inaugural meeting is to understand how universities can better utilize and mobilize social and human knowledge into their communities, in particular into social sector organizations (non-profit, charities, funders) and municipal governments. What are the knowledge gaps? What are the needs and priorities in social sector organizations and the social innovation ecosystem? Which approaches to cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaborations can help address the biggest social and policy challenges?

The event is by invitation only [emphasis mine], and will proceed under the Chatham House rules. Sessions will leverage strategic visioning and deliberative dialogue to create stakeholder alignment and deliver a first series of action plans.

Participants will bring individual and organisational perspectives on a range issues including:

The nature and structure of innovation in the social sector.

Campus-community relationship and the challenges of knowledge mobilisation in social innovation ecosystem

The role of municipal governments in fostering innovation in the social space

Needs around policy innovation and talent in the social and municipal sector.

Contribution of Indigenous knowledge to social sector, local policy making

Who are the Participants?

Social sector organisation leaders

Social Innovation stakeholders

Research and higher education policy stakeholders

Decision- and policy-makers from municipal governments

Social and human sciences researchers

Concertation and Action Plan

The event is intended as a concertation and consultation. Sense-making workshops and consultative roundtables will aim at building consensus around key concepts and best-practices. Catalysts panels and reporting sessions will aim to establish a shared vision for an action plan around cross-sectoral strategies for innovation in the social impact ecosystem.

The genuinely cross-sectoral setting will provide an opportunity to learn from a variety of perspectives in an effort to reduce barriers to knowledge-driven collaboration and partnerships and increase the social capital of research institutions to streamline impact.

This is where it got interesting,

SUBMIT A LETTER OF INTENT TO REQUEST PARTICIPATION

The event is by invitation only and will proceed under the Chatham House rules. Those with a demonstrated interest in the theme of the Forum can submit a letter of intent to request participation in the meeting. The number of places is limited.

Please fill out the participation request FORM and return it to:

forum22@mcmaster.ca

The deadline for submitting the form is September 15th [2022; emphases mine].
Applicants will be notified shortly thereafter.

It’s a bit late but perhaps there’s a little space left for more participants?

I’m not able to confirm whether this event is in person (in Hamilton, Ontario), online, or hybrid (in person and online).

Science Summit at the 77th United Nations General Assembly (Science Summit UNGA77) from September 13 – 30, 2022

Late last week (at the end of Friday, Sept. 16, 2022) I saw a notice about a Science Summit at the 77th United Nations (UN) General Assembly. (BTW, Canadians may want to check out the Special note further down this posting.) Here’s more about the 8th edition of the Science Summit from the UN Science Summit webpage (Note: I have made some formatting changes),

ISC [International Science Council] and its partners will organise the 8th edition of the Science Summit around the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) on 13-30 September 2022.

The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA78 beginning on 12 September 2023.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has elected, by acclamation, Csaba Kőrösi, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the Office of the President of Hungary, to serve as President of its 77th session. In his acceptance speech, Kőrösi said his presidency’s efforts will be guided by the motto, ‘Solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science.’ He will succeed Abdulla Shahid of Maldives, current UNGA President, assuming the presidency on 13 September 2022

The Summit will examine what enabling policy, regulatory and financial environments are needed to implement and sustain the science mechanisms required to support genuinely global scientific collaborations across continents, nations and themes. Scientific discovery through the analysis of massive data sets is at hand. This data-enabled approach to science, research and development will be necessary if the SDGs are to be achieved.

SSUNGA77 builds on the successful Science Summit at UNGA76, which brought together over 460 speakers from all continents in more than 80 sessions.

SSUNGA77 will bring together thought leaders, scientists, technologists, innovators, policymakers, decision-makers, regulators, financiers, philanthropists, journalists and editors, and community leaders to increase health science and citizen collaborations across a broad spectrum of themes ICT, nutrition, agriculture and the environment.

Objectives

Present key science initiatives in a series of workshops, presentations, seminars, roundtables and plenary sessions addressing each UN SDG.

Promote collaboration by enabling researchers, scientists and civil society organisations to become aware of each other and work to understand and address critical challenges.

Promote inclusive science, including increasing access to scientific data by lower and middle-income countries.

Focus meetings will be organised around each of the UN SDGs, bringing key stakeholders together to understand and advance global approaches.

Priority will be given to developing science capacity globally to implement the SDGs.

Demonstrate how research infrastructures work as a driver for international cooperation.

Promote awareness of data-enabled science and related capacities and infrastructures.

Understand how key UN initiatives, including The Age of Digital Interdependence, LOCAL 2030, and the Summit of the Future,can provide a basis for increasing science cooperation globally to address global challenges.

Highlights

Two days of meetings on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange while highlighting the theme of science contribution to the SDGs and launching a series of meetings with corporate financiers on science funding.

Science and ICT [Information and Communications Technology]/Digital ministers in the world will be approached for their engagement and support, to have their respective missions at the United Nations host individual meetings and to request the participation of their Prime Minister.

A powerful youth programme for children, teens and students. This includes a space-related initiative currently involving some 60 countries, and this number is; very likely to increase. To inspire the world’s youth to come together and lead regional inter-generation projects to attain the “moonshots” of the 21st century – the first in this series would be the 2030 SDGs.

13-30 September 2022: Thematic Sessions and Scientific Sessions: approximately 400 sessions are planned: approximately 100 hybrid events will take place in New York City, with the remainder taking place online;

20 Keynote Lectures by eminent scientists and innovative thinkers;

12 Thematic Days, covering soil, biodiversity, indigenous knowledge, materials, clean water

4 Plenary Sessions;

100 Ministers will participate, covering science, health, environment, climate, industry and regulation;

At least 100,000 participants – in person and online.

Here’s a link to the Agenda for the 8th Science Summit and should one or more sessions pique your interest, you can Register for free here. Sessions are in person and/or via Zoom.

Special notes

Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada, is presenting at 4 pm EDT (1 pm PDT) today, on Monday, September 19, 2022. Here’s more from the session page (keep scrolling down past the registration button)

(REF 19052 – Hybrid) Keynote Speech: Dr Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada (In-Person)

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity,” Pasteur famously said nearly 150 years ago. In the time since, the world has seen an enormous increase in the pace of scientific discovery and consequent need for collaboration, as our challenges become both more urgent and more complex. From climate change and food security to pandemic preparedness and building the societies of tomorrow, science has a major role to play in guiding us toward a peaceful, healthy and sustainable future, and getting there requires that we work together.

In this talk, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, shares her insights on the importance of a global science culture that promotes openness, diversity and collaboration, and how growing our science advisory systems will help to both frame the emerging issues that the world faces and provide the evidence needed to solve them.

“Science knows no country …” Really?

One final bit, it’s regarding the second highlight (Science and ICT [Information and Communications Technology]/Digital ministers …), Canada did have a Minister of Digital Government and, sometimes, has a Minister of Science. Currently, neither position exists. For the nitpicky, there is Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) which seems to be largely dedicated to monetizing science rather than the pursuit of science.