Quirks & Quarks

Canadian science suffered from COVID. After the election, how do we bring it back better?

Research was disrupted and interrupted. Students suffered. Priorities have changed. What should be next for Canadian science?

Our pre-election science policy panel discusses what we learned from the pandemic

Farah Qaiser, Megan Leslie and Dr. David Naylor discussed Canadian science policy post-COVID with Bob McDonald (submitted by F. Qaiser, M. Leslie and D. Naylor.)

Lots of issues have been raised on the campaign trail over the past several weeks. COVID has dominated, as it's dominated everything for the past year and a half. But of course Canadians are concerned about everything from the economy to Afghanistan as well.

One issue that perhaps hasn't been as much in the public eye is an agenda for Canadian science. 

Canada does science well, but we could do better. And that's something we may want to pay attention to because science underlies our health system, the protection of our environment and the innovation and entrepreneurship that can drive our economy.

And COVID-19 hit Canadian science hard: Many working in fields like medical science put aside their work and re-focused on the epidemic. Much other work was interrupted or disrupted. What did that do to Canadian science, and what did it reveal about our strengths and weaknesses? Is this an opportunity for a reset? Have the big issues that face Canadian science changed?

To discuss this Quirks & Quarks convened a pre-election science policy panel:   

Dr. David Naylor is a medical researcher and former president of the University of Toronto, and four years ago led the Fundamental Science Review for the Canadian government. It was a major attempt to develop a Canadian science agenda.

Farah Qaiser is a genomics researcher studying epilepsy at the University Health Network Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto, a researcher for the non profit group Evidence for Democracy and member of Canada's Chief Science Advisor's Youth Council. 

Megan Leslie is the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada. She was a Member of Parliament from 2008 until 2015 and during that time served as the Health Critic and Environment critic for the New Democratic Party. 

To listen to their conversation please click the link above.

Produced by Jim Lebans