The global pandemic demonstrates the strain between science and society, and the risk for humanity when we turn our backs on science. Anti-vaxxers – and now, anti-maskers – are challenging scientific evidence and public health officials with a mandate to keep us safe and stop the spread of the disease. We see the repercussions of their actions in countries like the US, Brazil and Italy where a lack of trust in science, and a lack of political support for scientific information, is contributing to disease spread and the unnecessary loss of millions of lives.
But we didn’t get here overnight. In the closing months of the Second World War, US President Roosevelt had asked his science advisor, Dr. Vannevar Bush, how the nation could continue to benefit from research in peacetime as it had done during the war. Dr. Bush’s report, Science: The Endless Frontier, outlined a basic compact in which society supports science with public funds and assures the scientific community a great deal of autonomy in exchange for the considerable but unpredictable benefits that can flow from the scientific enterprise.
Fast forward 75 years, many of the underlying social, economic, and political assumptions in The Endless Frontier are outdated. The social contract is showing strain as trust decreases, with calls for science to be more inclusive and diverse, and as Canada grapples with meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people. Canada needs a new social contract for science and innovation that reflects our time.
Brian Colton had a successful 32-year career with both the federal government and the government of Ontario, where he was well known and highly regarded for his skills and knowledge, both within and outside of government. He has a strong track record and reputation as a “confident leader and facilitator, a strong team builder, and mentor who […]
E. Louise Earl has extensive national and international experience in the measurement of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) and the development of related statistical indicators. She is best known for championing the measurement of innovation to all sectors of the economy and developing methods to measure knowledge management and other technology management and use practices. Ms. Earl […]
Ezra Miller has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Queen’s University, respectively. He worked for 16 years, in the 1980s and 1990s, in the federal government beginning in energy policy at Energy, Mines and Resources (now NRCan) and later focusing on his main interest in science, technology and innovation […]
Patrick Galvin received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Exeter in 2012. He was awarded a Post-doctoral Fellowship in 2013 to work on a project in the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto that sought to develop a new manufacturing innovation […]
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