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Dear RSC Members and Colleagues,

Since beginning my term as RSC President last November, I have been astounded by the support of this community and the strength of our common vision for a better future. In writing to update you on a considerable number of initiatives that are underway. I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board and Council for their leadership and guidance. Together, we are taking strong steps forward in realizing the aspirations of the RSC Strategic Plan 2023-2025, called Next Steps, Together.

The sine qua non of our mission is the recognition of excellence and, as autumn arrived, you will have seen the announcements of the Class of 2023 new Members and Award Winners. In all, 198 scholars and artists have been recognized this year for outstanding scholarly and research achievements. This has been made possible due to the volunteer efforts of over 150 RSC Members who serve on adjudication committees. I am grateful to each of you for your commitment.

Prior to outlining the fall slate of activities in which we invite your participation, allow me to update you on a development in our work resulting from the Committee on Membership, which was chaired by Dr. Marie D’Iorio.

In order to take our next steps in inclusive excellence, the RSC Council has determined that, going forward, in order to be eligible for membership consideration, all nominees – whether for the Academies or the College - will be required to submit a self-identification form. Operationally, this means that nominees will be aware that, once they submit the form, they are eligible for the adjudication phase of membership selection.  

This practice of gathering data on the annual pool of nominees, piloted successfully by the RSC College in recent years, will enable the RSC to establish a baseline of data with a view, over time, to work toward further enhancing and diversifying the pool of nominations. As has been the case with the College initiative, all data gathered from self-identification forms will be anonymized.

Should you have any questions about this, please contact either the RSC Secretary, Gary Libben (gary.libben@brocku.ca) or the RSC Membership and Awards Officer, Christopher Dragan (cdragan@rsc-src.ca).

With a continued focus on the practices of inclusive excellence, we are also deeply engaged in activities promoting independent expertise and international engagement, and we are doing so in partnership. Accompanying our alignment with The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, The Globe and Mail, Let’s Talk Science, and Canadian Science Publishing, we are enhancing our work with Les Fonds du recherche du Québec and with Acfas. There will be more to share about these exciting developments later this fall.

Contributions from over 700 Canadians have resulted in nearly 200 publications by the RSC Task Force on COVID-19, and we will have occasion to recognize these efforts in November. Upcoming reports include work on Harm Reduction, on The Future of Long-Term Care, on Connecting the Humanities to Health Policy, on Health Research Ecosystem Recovery, and on Learning Loss. Should you have any questions about the work of the Task Force, please contact the Chair, Tracy Vaillancourt at tracy.vaillancourt@uottawa.ca.

The RSC Task Force on One Health has identified a number of important themes and associated projects. Earlier this summer, our work in One Health involved hosting a workshop on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the National Research Council. Subsequent initiatives in this space are underway, and should you have complementary ideas please contact the Chair, my dear colleague and former RSC President Jeremy McNeil at jnmcneil@uwo.ca.

The RSC Dialogues will open next month on the grounds of Massey College with an event focusing on Working Together to Improve the Health and Well-Being of the Elderly. For more information and to register, please visit this link. We are indebted to Barb Neis, President of the Academy of Social Sciences, for having led the organization of this important debut initiative, which will be followed by three further dialogues – in December, March and May. I would also like to thank Michel L. Tremblay, Sheila Embleton and Frank Deer for their leadership of this series. Should you have questions about these or other RSC programmes, please contact Russ MacDonald at rmacdnonald@rsc-src.ca.

Following the success of the inaugural G7 Research Summit on One Health in November 2022 in Lake Louise, the 2023 RSC G7 Research Summit on Healthy Aging will be held in Niagara Falls from November 13-15. Space is limited, and should you be interested in participating please contact Amelia Domaradzki at adomaradzki@rsc-src.ca

We will be celebrating a culture of knowledge and innovation at the 2023 Celebration of Excellence and Engagement in partnership with the University of Waterloo. Happily, a large number of you have already indicated that you will attend. You can register here, and should you have any questions about this please contact Linda Clauson at lclauson@rsc-src.ca.

Thanks to our International Secretary, Paul Young, RSC engagements around the world continue to be very productive. The outcomes of the recently-concluded S20 process are here, and we look forward to welcoming colleagues from the Royal Society of the UK for a Frontiers of Science event in Ottawa and Toronto in early 2024. Later in 2024, we anticipate the first in our series of trilateral engagements with the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society Te Aparangi, an initiative being led for the RSC by College President Frank Deer. Should you have queries or initiatives in the global realm that the RSC might consider, please be in touch with Dr. Young at paul.young@utoronto.ca.

We are delighted to welcome a new member of the Walter House team this week! Paige Beveridge arrives to the RSC with considerable communications experience, having worked with the Royal Society Te Aparangi for over two years. Paige is succeeding Erika Kujawski, to whom we bid a fond farewell to last month after 14 years of service with the RSC. Paige is keen to hear your ideas about how the RSC can enhance our tools and strategies for communicating with you, and with the public. She can be reached at pbeveridge@rsc-src.ca.

Finally, beneath this update, we are sharing a few pictures of the activity at Walter House in Ottawa, where a suite of significant renovations is underway. We look forward to welcoming you all to a comprehensively updated facility in the Spring of 2024.

As the fall semester arrives with pace, the RSC community can continue to take pride in the work we are accomplishing due to our commitment to working together. We also know that there is a great deal more to do. I am always happy to hear from you, and please do not hesitate to be in touch with your questions, concerns and ideas at gagnon.alain@uqam.ca.

Sincerely,

Alain-G. Gagnon, FRSC
President

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