The federal government will be cutting the position and office of the national science adviser, less than four years after the post was created.

Arthur Carty was originally appointed to the role of national science adviser by then prime minister Paul Martin on April 1, 2004.

Carty, who previously held positions as president of the National Research Council and dean of research at the University of Waterloo, was tasked with providing advice on global science and technology issues and how government can better support and benefit from science conducted in-house.

With the establishment of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council in May 2007, the government reviewed a number of federal advisory bodies and decided to phase out the Office of the National Science Adviser (ONSA) and discontinue the role of national science adviser, Industry Canada said in a statement Wednesday.

In a letter to Industry Minister Jim Prentice, Carty said he would be retiring March 31, the end of the fiscal year.

Industry Canada also released a letter from Prentice to Carty, in which the minister thanked Carty for his "significant contribution to science advice in Canada through championing the creation of the Council of Canadian Academies and for [his] efforts to better encourage a science culture in Canada."

Carty is credited with helping the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Institute of Academic Medicine create a new organization, formerly known as the Canadian Academies of Science but renamed the Council of Canadian Academies in 2006. The council's mandate is to act as a "source of independent, expert assessment of the science underlying pressing issues and matters of public interest."

The planned closing of the ONSA comes after Carty and the office were moved to Industry Canada from the Privy Council Office in 2006. A statement on the ONSA website said that move would "enable a direct working relationship with the minister of industry, responsible for the government of Canada's science and technology policy."

Mark Henderson, the managing editor of Research Money, the trade publication focused on science and technology policy that first reported news of the planned closing on Friday, said the scientific community had high hopes for the office but has been disappointed with the results because of underfunding.

Corrections

  • The managing editor of Research Money is Mark Henderson, not Michael Henderson as this story originally reported.
    Jan 23, 2008 8:55 AM ET