The rumours of the demise of the Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACST) may not be exaggerated. After issuing three reports and assisting the government with its policy on indirect costs and an early draft of the innovation strategy, the ACST has been languishing. Now there’s a suggestion that its future may be decided over the next several months.
“We’re looking again at its role. It’s under active review,” says Dr Andrei Sulzenko,” senior assistant DM at Industry Canada. “We set up a number of institutional mechanisms for S&T and now there’s a new one, the Canadian Academies. What is the role of the various groups?. Are there too many, are there enough? Should we rationale some of this? It’s an open-ended question. Should we move to the Academies proposal, how does it relate to other groups? The policy work goes on.”
The ACST provides the prime minister with advice on national science and technology goals and policies and their relation to the economy. Formed as part of the 1995 S&T strategy — Science and Technology for the New Century — the ACST has issued reports on international S&T skills and commercialization of university research. The majority of its recommendations have yet to be implemented.
Last year Sussex Circle was hired to conduct an evaluation of ACST’s performance. Although the report was not released publicly, sources say its contents were not overly critical.