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May 2020

Dear RSC Friends and Colleagues,

As the president highlights in his note, the Walter House team has been focused on advancing the Strategic Plan’s priorities of engagement and next steps in advancing inclusive excellence in the age of COVID-19. 

Beyond the processes leading to the election of new members, one key strategic priority of 2020 and 2021 is the Committee on Membership.  This committee has a mandate to provide recommendations to Council about ways in which the RSC could advance the strategic plan’s commitment to inclusive excellence across both disciplines and generations.  I would be pleased to hear from you with regarding Canadian or international organizations that have instructive policies or practices implementing inclusive excellence. 

The impact of the work of the RSC Task Force on COVID-19 continues to grow, including a partnership with The Globe and Mail on the Ø Canada Project and two rounds of a survey of members that have resulted in over 700 inputs. Our website is frequently updated with original COVID-19 material by the RSC Community, and several working groups have begun developing policy briefings. To date, 70 scholars are engaged in the work of the Task Force. If, as you review the papers online, you notice under emphasised areas or feel you might contribute to the work of the Task Force, please be in touch with me or with the Task Force Chair, Tom Marrie.  

The work of the Task Force on COVID-19 vividly illustrates that the challenges facing Canada and the world require ongoing vigilance and engagement by the RSC community. Indeed, the 2020 cohort of new RSC Members will be welcomed in an age when the direct and ongoing engagement of our community is in daily evidence. The guiding principle for our 2020 Celebration of Excellence and Engagement will be the kaleidoscope of our community’s ongoing contributions to help build a better future. COEE 2020 will feature 24 hours of scholarly, scientific and celebratory activities from coast to coast to coast over 7 days in November, including a G7 Research Summit on the Future of Digital Health, a symposium organized by the University of Toronto, working meetings on RSC policy briefings, and next steps in our commitment to a sustainable future. And of course, key elements of the programme will welcome new members across the disciplines and across the generations.  

One further note on COEE 2020: as our planning continues in an era of physical distancing and enhanced digital connectivity, we were heartened to learn recently that the annual meetings of the United States National Academies of Science in April resulted in the organization’s most robust member engagement of modern times. It is clear that barriers to engagement can be lowered with enhanced digital connectivity. As we pursue the planning toward our autumnal activities, please continue writing to me with your ideas and suggestions.

2020 has many features that we did not expect. Thanks to your participation, we will continue to adapt to contribute to a better Canada.




Past messages from the Executive Director