Information for Sponsors
How to Propose a Question for Assessment
Assessment questions must be developed into detailed proposals. Specific criteria guide which proposals are acceptable:
- The topic is of importance to Canada and its citizens.
- The appropriate expertise can be assembled and the required timeline can be met.
- The existing state of knowledge merits the assessment.
- Science underpins the question and its response.
All assessment questions and the final reports, regardless of source, must be approved by the Council’s Board of Governors.
The Importance of Science-based Assessments
The Council of Canadian Academies provides access to the best available scientific knowledge — knowledge that can help to set research guidelines, lay the foundation for consultations, and inform public policy decisions. The Council is a valuable resource for those who grapple with challenging science-based issues.
Governments at all levels need to understand the science and evidence underlying matters of public interest in order to ensure that policies are sound, effective, and respond to the needs and concerns of Canadians. Organizations, both in non-profit and private sectors, require the same base of information to participate in the policy-making process.
The Impact of Assessments
The impact of Council assessments has been apparent since the Council’s inception. The Council’s 2006 report on science and technology in Canada highlighted four areas or clusters of particular strength for Canada. The federal government used this particular finding in the development of its 2007 science and technology strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage.
Strengthening Canada's Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension (2012) inspired McMaster University to conduct its own study on the gender pay gap between male and female researchers. The university discovered a 2% pay gap that could not be accounted for by discipline or rank. As a result, McMaster University gave all full-time female faculty members a salary raise of $3,515 in spring 2015.
The Council’s 2009 report, The Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Canada, has become an important resource for municipalities throughout Canada. The Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia derived its 2010 audit objectives on the management of groundwater resources in British Columbia from this Council assessment.
Also in 2009, the Council released Innovation and Business Strategy: Why Canada Falls Short, which provided a new paradigm for thinking about innovation in Canada. This assessment spurred an ongoing national conversation, and inspired the launch of a national consultation on Canada’s digital economy.
Informing Research Choices: Indicators and Judgment (2012) and Honesty, Accountability, and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada (2010) together inspired national consultations about Canada’s research capacity, and spurred the development of new research-related policies and programs. Honesty, Accountability, and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada also influenced the 2011 Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.
“The quality of Council reports is fantastic; the panels are beyond reproach. […] They help us with really difficult policy development processes. [Innovation and Business Strategy: Why Canada Falls Short] is comprehensive, substantive, even original. It has become a mainstay of public policy work.”
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“It is clear the Council is well on its way to becoming recognized as a powerful organization for all aspects of research critical to Canada and, at the same time, useful for science globally.”
Rita R. Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and former Director of the National Science Foundation (1998-2004)