New federal S&T policy document emphasizes renewal of infrastructure

Guest Contributor
October 3, 2005

The federal government has released another policy document intended to beef up its internal S&T capacity. The companion piece to its five-year-old Framework for Science and Technology Advice articulates the role of federal S&T, outlining a set of principles and commitments and identifying an appropriate supporting environment. It comes at a time when Treasury Board and national science advisor Dr Arthur Carty are preparing short- and long-term proposals for funding to deal with crumbling federal S&T infrastructure.

The document — In the Service of Canadians: A Framework for Federal Science and Technology — is the latest step in ongoing attempts to strengthen federal S&T. It builds on the 1996 federal strategy and establishes a basis for forthcoming policy documents on risk management, performance management, communications and linkages.

Produced by the Interdepartmental Working Group on Federal Science and Technology Framework, the document reinforces the importance of state-of-the-art facilities in attracting a talented S&T workforce and enabling federal labs to effectively partner with others. It also concludes that a shift away from the prevalent vertical model is necessary to better integrate federal labs into the national system of innovation. The document also outlines the government’s commitment to S&T personnel, leadership, management and engagement with the public and stakeholder communities.

The document builds on several reports issued in recent years by the Council of Science and Technology Advisors (CSTA).

The federal government currently spends more than $8 billion annually on S&T, but that includes funding for the granting agencies and foundations for university-based research. It’s long been argued that federal S&T is the weak third leg of Canada’s innovation system and must be rejuvenated for the challenges of the 21st century. A copy of the document is available at


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