Mechanical testing lab at the new CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory, McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton
Policy development and science should go hand in hand. That was the philosophy in drafting Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) Science and Technology Strategy.
“The strategy supports the department’s mission of creating a sustainable resource advantage for Canadians,” says Jeff Kinder, manager of the strategy. “The goal is that science activities will be prioritized to help NRCan deliver on national priorities in a fast-changing world.”
Meeting Global Challenges
Today’s natural resource challenges are larger and more complex than ever, explains Jeff. The role of science is essential, since it provides the data and evidence needed to make informed policy decisions. “Responses to global forces such as economic competition, climate change and environmental stewardship seek input and answers from science.”
In the case of natural resources development, scientific discovery can drive economic growth, provide new knowledge for environmental responsibility and improve health and security. This contribution can be the difference between leading and getting left behind. The strategy will guide the department’s investments in science and technology to achieve the greatest impact in these areas.
Drake Landing Solar Community, Okotoks, Alberta
The document lays out five objectives to maximize the relevancy and impact of NRCan’s science activities:
- create world-class science and technology;
- integrate science and technology with policy and program decision making;
- develop national and international partnerships for innovation;
- apply science and technology for sustainable development; and
- communicate effectively with citizens and stakeholders on natural resource issues related to science and technology.
We are already seeing some major practical examples of these objectives.
NRCan’s emphasis on partnerships is clearly demonstrated by the recent move of the CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory to McMaster Innovation Park. By locating scientific capacity within the academic community and close to industry, NRCan aims to spur innovation in materials technology development.
A strategic focus on sustainability is illustrated by the Drake Landing Solar Community in Alberta. By integrating energy efficiency with innovative solar energy concepts, the community is expected to meet 90 percent of its home heating and 60 percent of its hot water needs through solar technology developed by NRCan and its partners. The technology not only provides a renewable energy source but also increases the efficiency of space heating during colder months.
The integration of science and technology with policy can be seen in practice in the Arctic surveying being carried out jointly by NRCan and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The data collected is being used to support and develop policy internationally. It will also help validate Canada’s submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and thus support the strengthening of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, one of the aims of the Canadian government’s northern strategy.
These and other initiatives will serve the practical application of science and technology by generating reliable, credible knowledge that advances science and informs public decision making to deliver tangible benefits to Canadians.
To learn more, view the full Science and Technology Strategy.
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