Maryse Lassonde - President (2015-2017)
I hope that summer has given you an opportunity to rest and re-energize. On my end, I continued to represent the Royal Society of Canada with various organizations. I also attended the excellent Commonwealth Science Conference in Singapore in June. This conference, among other things, enabled the presidents of the academies to develop strategies to bring together the various representatives of the Commonwealth. In particular, the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Edinburgh wish to continue the bilateral meetings that were initiated under our Foreign Secretary, Jeremy McNeil, whom I would like to thank for his extraordinary work over the past decade.
Representation of the RSC internationally is also one of the key mandates that our President-Elect, Chad Gaffield, would like to pursue, jointly with the person who will be taking over for Jeremy McNeil in November. International development will also be one of the pillars of our new strategic plan, which we expect to release in January 2018. Among the international initiatives, the organization of G7-Sciences is certainly one of the RSC’s most important responsibilities since Canada will welcome representatives from G7 countries, including the academy presidents of these countries, in 2018. The President-Elect and I are working with the federal government to develop the scientific themes that will be discussed with our G7 partners.
Participation in international conferences, however, goes beyond the sole goal of representing the RSC. In addition to contacts and discussions with other academies, these meetings also enable us to better situate ourselves in relation to issues shared by all our partners. Thus, the under-representation of women within the Academies, and particularly the Academy of Science, is a theme that is constantly being revisited. In addition, the RSC partnered on a project by the Academy of Science of South Africa that was submitted for funding to the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), the theme of which is the analysis of the participation and inclusion of women among IAP Academy of Science members. Continuing on this theme, I would like to remind you about the upcoming Gender Summit 11, an international conference co-organized by NSERC and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, which will take place at the Centre Sheraton Montreal from November 6-8, 2017. Exceptionally, the three Alice Wilson Awards for post-doctoral students selected by the College will be handed out in the presence of Minister Duncan and the President of the College, Cynthia Milton, during this conference. I really hope to see you in large numbers at this event.
At the Commonwealth Science Conference, I listened to lectures about the distinct involvement of the Academies in scientific diplomacy. Among the presentations during a session on Science, Society and Scientific Policies, I have to highlight the plea by Sir Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature. He encouraged the Academies to promote the abandonment of traditional CVs in favour of narrative CVs in order to assess the real value of researchers, without the quantitative bias associated with scientific production. Rest assured that this theme will be brought to the attention of our new committee, chaired by Pekka Sinervo, whose mandate is the role that the RSC should play in scientific diplomacy.
Lastly, the RSC presidency includes another responsibility, namely that of sitting on the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. As such, I have been able to, time and again, witness the successes of many of our Fellows appointed to the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour in the country. Six RSC Fellows were appointed in July and among these appointments, I would like to highlight that of our President-Elect, Chad Gaffield, as an Officer of the Order of Canada. Congratulations, Chad, for this much-deserved honour!