Revived ACST sets to work on research policy framework for innovation strategy
May 6, 2003
Canada’s reactivated external advisory council for S&T policy and its economic applications is moving quickly to deliver advice on one of the four themes developed for the government’s emerging innovation strategy. The Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACST) has until the fall to develop a research policy framework for knowledge performance that addresses the ambitious targets Canada has established.
Knowledge performance is arguably the most important aspect of the innovation strategy, encompassing research undertaken by government, industry and post-secondary institutions, as well as the fiscal environment for encouraging greater R&D spending and the urgent issue of commercialization.
The research framework is one of two mandates given to the ACST by Industry minister Allan Rock at last year’s national innovation summit in Toronto (R$, December 2/02). It will also provide initial advice on the other mandate — examining the research burden faced by researchers with the view to simplifying and/or consolidating the various research funding mechanisms currently in use.
“The policy and research system in Ottawa is a complex beast although it works fairly well,” says Marshall Moffat, executive director of the ACST secretariat. “Making the research strategy a little more understandable is what’s behind the minister’s interest in a new policy research framework.”
The ACST met with Rock in late March to narrow down a focus for its work and establish a timeframe. At that time three new members came on board — Dr Alan Bernstein, president, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dr Lionel Hurtubise, chairman, Ericsson Canada Inc and Dr Gilles Ouimet, chairman, Pratt & Whitney Canada Inc. Rock is expected to fill the critical deputy chair’s position in the coming weeks.
“This is a high-level policy review and there’s not a lot of time so we won’t be forming a sub-committee,” says Moffat. “The minister wants this advice by the early fall.”