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December 2004 • University News
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For universities, one of the more interesting revelations in Prime Minister Paul Martin’s reply to the Speech from the Throne was his announcement of a new independent agency, the Canadian Academies of Science, with funding of $35 million over the next 10 years.

In fact, the not-for-profit Canadian Academies of Science has already been incorporated. It brings together three existing academies: the Royal Society of Canada (also known as the Canadian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities); the Canadian Academy of Engineering; and the Canadian Institute of Academic Medicine (soon to be renamed the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences).


The purpose of the new agency, according to the Royal Society, will be:

  • to design and carry out, at government’s request, independent expert assessments on the state of scientific knowledge that is relevant to present or future government policy; and
  • to ensure Canada is effectively represented in international forums where important questions of scientific methods and findings are discussed.

The proposal for the Academies of Science (available on the Royal Society Web site) says that “science” is used “as shorthand to connote the full spectrum of intellectual activities, including natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts.”


Paul Martin in his speech called the Academies of Science “a national alliance of leading scientific and engineering societies,” and it isn’t clear how broad the mandate will be.

The idea was first discussed in the late 1990s, spearheaded by William Leiss, then president of the Royal Society and a professor in the school of policy studies at Queen’s University. When Arthur Carty was named National Science Advisor to the Prime Minister last spring, he showed interest in the proposal, meeting with the three founding academies and other interested parties.

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Last modified: 11-09-2007