Thursday, October 21, 2010

The case for public science


"Today, the union that represents federal government scientists launches a campaign to put the spotlight on science for the public good.

“Federal government scientists work hard to protect Canadians, preserve their environment and ensure our country’s prosperity but they face dwindling resources and confusing policy decisions,” says Gary Corbett, president of the Institute.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is a national union. Among its 59,000 federal and provincial members are 23,000 professionals who deliver, among other knowledge products, scientific research, testing and advice for sound policy-making.

The recent decision to end the mandatory long form census is the latest step in a worrying trend away from evidence-based policy making. Restrictive rules are curtailing media and public access to scientists, while cutbacks to research and monitoring limit Canada’s ability to deal with serious threats and potential opportunities.

A new online information and action centre launched today – – ( features interviews with the professionals who do science for the public good, experts who understand the critical importance of this work, and Canadians whose lives have been touched by public science. is part of a broader campaign to underline the importance of science for the public good and to mobilize scientists and the public to press politicians to make a clear commitment to policies that support public science.

“Our members are proud of the work that they do as independent and non-partisan scientists and we are going to work with them to tell their stories,” says Corbett. “Their work impacts on the daily lives of Canadians. It is science that is not and cannot be done by industry or by universities.”"