News Release

Building the future of federal science

The work of federal scientists is essential to support the health, security, and well-being of people in Canada, from exploring the high Arctic, to safeguarding the effective and ethical use of AI, to ensuring the food that ends up on our dinner plates is safe to eat. Their work takes place across a variety of departments and agencies with diverse mandates.

“Federal science happens in close to 200 laboratories and other major facilities across Canada, most of which are showing their age,” said Wendy Watson-Wright, PhD, Chair of the Expert Panel. “This report is timely and necessary if Canada is to become a leader in transforming science for society through the next generation of science and technology infrastructure.”

In Budget 2018, the federal government committed $2.8 billion to renew its science laboratories through an infrastructure initiative. One of the goals of this initiative is to support the construction of multi‐purpose facilities that bring together scientists and engineers from across different departments and sectors. Beginning in 2019, the federal government will consider approaches to assess infrastructure investment opportunities that reflect a new vision for the federal science and technology (S&T) enterprise as collaborative, adaptive, and efficient.

Public Services and Procurement Canada asked the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to assess the evidence on leading practices for federal S&T infrastructure investment decisions.

Building Excellence synthesizes key theoretical and practical considerations for evaluating S&T infrastructure investment opportunities. The Panel identifies and explores four principles that can guide evaluations of proposed S&T infrastructure investments. The report also considers how the design of decision-making processes and advisory structures might support these principles.

“The challenges involved in renewing the federal government’s S&T facilities are as diverse as they are complex” said Eric M. Meslin, PhD, FCAHS, President and CEO of the CCA. “This report aims to provide thoughtful, objective information to support decisions about the future of these important resources.”

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