What better way for a science policy blog to celebrate Canada Day than looking at what’s happening to the North that doesn’t involve metaphorical ‘muzzling.‘
In final review and revisions is a report on the state of Canada’s science culture. Organized by the Council of Canadian Academies (comparable to the U.S. National Research Council) a working group has been examining the following questions related to science in Canadian culture:
- What is the state of knowledge regarding the impacts of having a strong science culture?
- What are the indicators of a strong science culture? How does Canada compare with other countries against these indicators? What is the relationship between output measures and major outcome measures?
- What factors (e.g., cultural, economic, age, gender) influence interest in science, particularly among youth?
- What are the critical components of the informal system that supports science culture (roles of players, activities, tools and programs run by science museums, science centres, academic and not-for-profit organizations and the private sector)? What strengths and weaknesses exist in Canada’s system?
- What are the effective practices that support science culture in Canada and in key competitor countries?
The panel preparing the report represents a mix of academic disciplines and professional backgrounds. They have completed their study meetings and expect to release the report sometime this year. I’m interested in reading the final product, and hope to get a bit more into what science culture is. The stats and polls found in the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators are at best a skin deep look at what the science community is most interested in. This report looks to provide what I hope to be both a broader and deeper examination of science culture.