Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Space Science Intersecting With Science Policy and Funding in Ottawa and Germany

          By Chuck Black

While many of the public and private movers and shakers of the Canadian space industry are spending the week at the 2018 International Astronautical Congress (IAC2018) which is being held from October 1st - 5th in Bremen Germany, other Canadian scientists are working to organize their first "Day on the Hill," which will take place during the 2018 Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC2018) in Ottawa from November 7th - 9th.

This is probably a good thing given that the Ottawa ON based Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the Canadian union representing Federal and provincially funded scientists (including those working at the Canadian Space Agency), has just come out with a press release announcing that "overall funding for federal government science is in fact lower today than it was under the Harper government, in particular for research and development."

As outlined in the September 28th, 2018 PIPSC press release, "Despite public support for more funding, spending on federal science is lower today than under the Harper government, says PIPSC," while some science funding has shifted to the private sector to encourage innovation, "R&D by federal scientists has declined steeply," and  "72%" of Canadians agree “in the next federal budget, funding for federal government science programs should be restored to what it was in 2011.”

The press release also referenced Statistics Canada figures which indicated that "spending on R&D by government scientists has declined by $891Mln CDN compared to 2010/11 under the Harper government."

"While Statistics Canada figures show overall funding of government science has increased from $10.4Bln in 2015/16 to $11.3Bln in 2018/19, actual spending is projected to be $112Mln CDN lower in 2018/19 than in 2014/15," it said.

According to the press release:
The StatsCan numbers reinforce the findings of a 2017 survey of federal scientists, which discovered well over half (58%) believe their departments do not have sufficient resources to fulfill their mandates. 
The problem is particularly pronounced in the Canadian Space Agency (79%), Natural Resources Canada (64%) and even Environment and Climate Change Canada, where 60% do not feel their department has sufficient resources.

Perhaps more interaction between scientists and politicians is the solution.

As outlined in the September 28th, 2018 University Affairs post, "Scientists to meet with political leaders for a day on the Hill," a new program being launched at the annual CSPC in November will "give scientists a chance to spend a day getting to know Parliament Hill and the people who work there."

Called Science Meets Parliament, the event will allow up to 20 participants to meet with MPs and senators for informal talks and to learn about their daily business. In exchange, perhaps both sides will learn a little more about the constraints and capabilities of the other.

According to the CSPC website:
Science Meets Parliament is presented as a pilot project this year. 
We endeavour to make this milestone project an annual event that brings scientists working in Canada to Parliament Hill in order to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators, attend House and Senate committee meetings, discuss scientific research, and gain familiarity with the political process.
The CSPC initially outlined its plan to bring Scientists on the Hill in a Five-Year Strategic Plan (2018-2023), mainly as a mechanism to connect the two communities of scientists and politicians, foster dialogue, and enhance mutual understanding.

Meanwhile over in Bremen at IAC2018, things are chugging merrily along.

As per the October 1st, 2018 IAC2018 press release, "Watch the IAC 2018 Public Day Remotely Free of Charge," some of the sessions are even available online for viewing.

IAC2018 is organized by the Paris France based International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) to establish a dialogue between scientists from around the world and provide a forum for "international space cooperation."
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page