Canada’s federal government has announced $4.8 million in funding for science education as part of its Science Odyssey celebration of Canadian advances in science and technology.
The funding will come from the PromoScience Program at NSERC, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and will support youth education programming at 43 different organizations across the country. Programs range from a Queen’s University project focused on Aboriginal access to engineering to one by Calgary-based science-meets-art collective, Beakerhead, geared towards at-risk youth. The funding announcement was made by Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, at the Canadian Association of Science Centres’ annual conference in Vancouver.
“Initiatives like Science Odyssey and the PromoScience program help young Canadians and their families explore science right in their own communities. Programs such as these also inspire a sense of curiosity among our youth and may encourage them to pursue a life in science,” says Duncan.
Science Odyssey is this year’s manifestation of the federal government’s National Science and Technology Week, taking place between May 6 and 15. The Ontario Science Centre is one of the participants, with an astronomy focus to this year’s festivities -among its events the centre is opening its doors to viewers who want to take a look at the transit of Mercury happening on Monday, May 9, and on Saturday, May 14, it will host a “star party” including a screening of the new IMAX® space epic A Beautiful Planet.
Duncan’s office has also reiterated its commitment to appoint a federal Chief Science Officer to act as advisor to the upper ranks of government on issues related to “evidence-based policymaking.”
“Canadians have told us they want to see more openness in federal science and they want assurances that science is taken into account when decisions are made,” says Duncan. “The creation of a permanent Chief Science Officer demonstrates our government’s commitment to making sure science finds its rightful place at the federal table.”
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And in a boost for Canada’s aerospace industry, the federal government has announced a $54-million contribution to MDA Systems Ltd and its partners for the development of new satellite technologies. The contribution is the first under the government’s Technology Demonstration Program, aimed at supporting large-scale, collaborative projects in the space and aerospace, defence and security sectors. “Companies are struggling to reduce the time it takes to bring great ideas to market, and testing innovations is essential to making that transition,” says Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Through programs like the Technology Demonstration Program, we are committed to ensuring that Canada’s aerospace and defence industry remains a global leader.”
A subsidiary of Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd, MDA Systems Ltd provides technology for surveillance and intelligence applications and for direct-to-home television, satellite radio, broadband Internet and mobile communications. Five other companies will work with MDA on the demonstration project: Whipcord (Lethbridge, Alberta), COM DEV International (Cambridge, Ontario), exactEarth (Cambridge, Ontario), Magellan Aerospace (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and UrtheCast (Vancouver, British Columbia).
Below: Science Odyssey 2016