Themes

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CSPC 2015 Themes

Themes:

  1. The Impact of Transformative and Converging Technologies on Private Sector Innovation and Productivity
  2. Big Science in Canada: Realizing the Benefits
  3. Transformation of Science, Society and Research in the Digital Age; Open Science, Participation, Security and Confidentiality.
  4. Science and Innovation for Development
  5. Evidence Based Decision Making, The Challenge of Connecting Science and Policy Making

Streams:
CSPC 2015 will feature an exciting array of interactive, solution oriented and future focused panels, including Green Paper Discussions, Case Studies, Lightning/TED-type Talks, Interactive Learning Session, Debate and At Issue Formats.



1. The Impact of Transformative and Converging Technologies on Private Sector Innovation and Productivity



Converging and transformative technologies are at the core of the changes that redefine the rules of the economic game. In the current period of huge investments in research and market changes, the implications of these technologies are tremendous. We need to better understand the links between the context of invention and the context of application of these technologies in business organizations.

Various technologies, such as smartphones, the internet, nanotechnology, genomics, synthetic biology, quantum computing and 3D printing, are creating considerable opportunities for business investment and growth, but they have also made some industrial designs obsolete. This suggests that although there are immense benefits associated to these technologies, there are potential social and economic costs too.

This theme aims to cover some of the challenges associated with these technologies and in particular their impacts on business innovation in Canada, including:

  • The potential of converging and transformative technologies to be a source of innovation in the business sector.
  • Connectivity between networks of research institutions, centers of technological development, and business organizations in Canada.
  • The impact of transformative technologies on society, especially on the healthcare and education sectors.
  • Readiness of the Canada public and business sectors for the full utilizations of transformative technologies, including their benefits and associated challenges.
  • The identification of the ideal social and political environment for ensuring the early adoption of these technologies in Canada.
  • The capability of the Canadian industry to take the lead in any of the existing or incoming technologies and maintain the market leadership.
  • Regulatory aspects of converging and transformative technologies.
  • Risks associated with these technologies and how in Canada we are prepared for these risks.
  • The need for an organization in the federal government (e.g., analogous to the U.S. DARPA or ARPA-E) to help drive the development of transformative technologies.



2. Big Science in Canada: Realizing the Benefits



Increasingly research entails investment in a limited number of leading-edge, large-scale facilities and research projects — hubs in an international scientific system, linking together networks of disciplinary and interdisciplinary teams of top-flight researchers, often from universities, industry and government. There are numerous factors affecting our investment in such Big Science initiatives including, nurturing and maintaining research excellence, financial and operational considerations, the larger social and economic impacts, local and national economic returns, resonance with Canadian priorities and positioning Canada in international research networks. It is timely to re-engage in a national conversation on how we manage and optimize returns from our Big Science investments.

This theme aims to capture discussions on some of the most pressing issues of Big Science including:

  • What is an appropriate framework for assessing the potential (prospective) and actual (retrospective) impact of Big Science initiatives? How should Canadian priorities as identified in the December 2014 Federal STI Strategy be integrated into decision making in Big Science initiatives? Would Canada benefit from having a Roadmap for Large Scale Facilities as is done in some other countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Australia)?
  • What do we understand about the impact of Big Science on the conduct of research – e.g. the implications for Canadian researchers maintaining a leading edge in research; the evolving balance of small and big science in various fields of endeavor; the extent to which big science initiatives have led to different ways of working; how big science agendas influence research in other fields. How should this be integrated into evolving policy and programs for support of research in Canada?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach to decision making and ongoing support of Big Science initiatives? What adjustments would improve outcomes and the return on investment?
  • What do we know about the impact of Big Science on social, economic and technological innovation? What factors influence the potential for innovation, including consideration of how this varies over the life cycle of a big science initiative? How can the innovation potential of Big Science initiatives be maximized?



3. Transformation of Science, Society and Research in the Digital Age; Open Science, Participation, Security and Confidentiality.


The ever changing digital technologies are radically transforming the way science is understood and conducted. New developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Computational Science have transformed the networks of science beyond the traditional research organizational boundaries. For example, the participation of Canadians in Citizen Science projects is increasingly blurring the line between producers and consumers of scientific knowledge. This, and the trend toward Open Science, have brought new opportunities to collect and analyze complex arrays of data that affect the Canadian population in different but related contexts such as health care, marine sciences, agriculture, climate sciences and forestry, to name just a few.

The increasing use of ICT and the participation of citizens in science has impacts on researchers and research institutions. The potential benefits of this new model of science to promote the public good and foster economic growth are immense. However, the access, preservation, and analysis of data from many sources also offer significant legal and security challenges. In this context, there are old issues in science such as accountability, confidentiality, privacy, and security, which may take new forms under the current social and technological circumstances. This suggests the rethinking of the regulatory framework and democratic governance of science in the Digital Age.

The sessions under this theme will cover different aspects of science in the Digital Age, including the following topics:

  • The role of Citizen Science in research
  • Data quality and data validation in Canadian Citizen Science projects.
  • Public customization of science.
  • The challenge of integrating research methodologies and findings from different scientific disciplines.
  • The emergence of Big Data culture and the subsequent changes in the regulatory and institutional framework of Canadian research organizations.
  • Opportunities and challenges to developing Open Source tools and providing Open Access to databases.
  • Canadian data sharing and Open Access policies in international context.
  • Accountability of research projects based on international distributed computing communities.
  • Privacy and anonymity in an era of expansion of Data Mining and Open Data.
  • Solutions to vulnerabilities associated with data breaches.
  • Tension between right to secrecy and right to knowledge in science.



4. Science and Innovation for Development



As recognized by “UNESCO's World Conference on Science: today more than ever, science and its applications are indispensable for development.” This means that developing countries must incorporate science, technology and innovation as part of their economic strategies to achieve sustainable growth. It also points to new opportunities for channelling development assistance, which could advance these objectives. However, lack of extensive experience in scientific and technological capacity building means that robust mechanisms have yet to be identified.

A few trends point to new openings that can serve foster domestic science and innovation capacity building in low-resource settings. Increasing globalization, ubiquitous communication technologies and growing access to information are factors that have helped to forge greater linkages, scientific and otherwise, between developed and developing nations.

The Canadian government has also set as one of its priorities to help developing nations in strengthening their economic foundations, in part, through support of private-sector innovation in local settings.  

This theme aims to cover issues on how Canadian R&D community; institutions both public and private as well as individuals; innovators and diaspora communities can leverage their scientific, technological and innovation capabilities in building scientific infrastructure, promoting innovation in the local private sector and enhancing social cohesion.

Discussions will include the following key questions:

  • What is the scope and potential of using science, technology and innovation capacity as development strategy?
  • What are the roles of, and mechanisms for, Canadian private and public sectors to assist innovation in developing countries in building indigenous innovation capacity in developing countries?
  • Considering the sizable diaspora communities in Canada, how best this asset can be leveraged to nurture technological advancement in target settings?
  • How to make the balance help and investment in Science and Technology with help in basic needs of the poor countries?
  • What are potential direct and indirect benefits for Canada in using science and technology as development strategy? Are there major obstacles to overcome?
  • How Canada’s position in the world, can help advancing Canada’s development objectives. How Canada compares to other developed nations in using Science and Technology for development.
  • What are the successful models of using science and technology in nation building, which may inform Canadian strategy in this respect? 



5. Evidence Based Decision Making, The Challenge of Connecting Science and Policy Making



The question of how evidence is integrated into decision making has become a dominant public discourse. How should we structure our institutions, policies and practices to take account of the realities of societal values, scientific evidence and the needs of the communities. From the perspective of the research community evidence is embedded in peer reviewed, published literature. From the perspective of policy makers, other considerations including the fiscal situation, affordability, timeliness as well as public acceptance, are at least as central. The challenge of many governments today is to what extent scientific evidence should and can inform policy choices and how this is best achieved.

This topic has been a source of much debate in Canada and also internationally. The international conference on Science Advice to Governments in New Zealand in August 2014 is an indication of growing attention to the subject. This theme aims to cover discussions on this notion and include topics such as:

  • What is evidence-informed decision making? a conversation among various view points
  • How various stakeholders can contribute to this process, what are the roles for public, scientific and public policy/politicians communities, what are the advisory body and other institutional mechanisms to integrate scientific advice into policy making?
  • What is the current practice of evidence based decision making in various levels of governments in Canada? What are the good practices to learn from other nations?
  • What are the systematic challenges of transferring knowledge into policy and practice? What is the public perception of evidence based decision making? What is the role of the scientific community, the media and not-for-profits?
  • What are the lessons to be learned from previous practices on the principles of science advice?



Streams or Panel Format

CSPC 2015 will feature an exciting array of interactive, solution oriented and future focused panels, including Green Paper Discussions, Case Studies, Lightning/TED-type Talks, Interactive Learning Session, Debate and At Issue Formats.


Format 1 – Green Paper Discussions

Discussion focuses on issues raised in papers available to participants in advance and catalyzed by the commentary of expert respondents.


  • Total time allocation – 90 min

  • Possible approach:


    • Chair/moderator to set context – 5 min

    • Green paper author(s) – 15 min (paper should be available to participants in advance)

    • Respondents – 3 @ 10 min each

    • Discussion – 30-45 min

    • Chair/moderator to lead discussion on next steps



Format 2 – Case Studies

A means of learning from diverse experiences relating to the theme issue – from Canadian and international sources.


  • Total time allocation – 90 min

  • Panellists – Chair/moderator plus max of 4 case studies

  • Max time for panellist presentations – 60 min; 30 to 60 min to be reserved for discussion


Format 3 – Lightning/TED-type Talks

A means of engaging up to 8 participants in presenting their perspectives on a specific issue within a theme in very brief highly focused presentations (with visuals).


  • Total time allocation – 45 or 90 min

  • Participants and role:


    • Chair/moderator to outline issue and approach (5 min)

    • 6 to 8 presenters (5 min each; strictly managed) (40 min)

    • Discussion – 30 min

    • Respondent/synthesis of issues – 10 min



Format 4 – Interactive Learning Session

An approach to engaging participants in a hands on learning/participatory activity – in any format. A bare minimum of formal presentation should be envisioned for such a format.


  • Total time allocation – 45 or 90 min

  • Participants and role:


    • Chair/moderator to outline issue and approach (5 min)

    • Interactive session – 35 – 80 min

    • Wrap up – 10 min



Format 5 – Debate Format

Expert panellists with different opinions get to engage in a debate to provide insights on a particular issue. The session will be heavily moderated by a Chair/moderator.


  • Total time allocation – 45 or 90 min

  • Panellists – Chair/moderator plus max of 4 presenters

  • Max time for panellist presentations – 30 or 60 min; 15-30 min to be reserved for discussion


Format 6 – At Issue Format

Expert panellists provide their independent opinion on series of issues in an interactive session framed by the Chair/moderator.


  • Total time allocation – 45 or 90 min

  • Panellists – Chair/moderator plus max of 4 presenters

  • Max time for panellist presentations – 4- 6 blocks of 10-15 minutes for each topic