Council of Canadian Academies

Council of Canadian Academies

The Council of Canadian Academies (French: Conseil des académies canadiennes) was created to perform independent, expert assessments of the science that is relevant to important public issues. The Council’s assessment scope includes the natural, social and health sciences, engineering and the humanities.[1]

The Council is a private, non-profit corporation that has received a $30 million founding grant in 2005 from the Government of Canada. The grant is intended to support core operations for 10 years.[2] Although the Council is at arm’s length from government, it has agreed to conduct up to five assessments per year of subjects proposed by the Canadian federal government. Though is has not done so to date, the Council can also perform assessments for non-governmental and private sector organizations, but the cost of these cannot be covered by the federal government’s founding grant.

The Council of Canadian Academies is in many ways similar in concept and mission to the National Research Council in the U.S., which is, in effect, the operating arm of the National Academies in the U.S. The Council of Canadian Academies is of course much smaller and much younger, having begun full-fledged operations only in March, 2006.



The Council was initially, in April 2002, incorporated as the Canadian Academies of Science, but in June 2006 renamed to Council of Canadian Academies.[3]


The Council is governed by a 12-member Board of Governors, a majority of whom are appointed by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. The Chair of the Board is Elizabeth Parr-Johnston.

The Council also has a 16-member Scientific Advisory Committee, whose role is to advise the Council’s Board with respect to assessment topic selection, terms of reference, and peer review. The Committee is also among several sources of advice on the selection of expert panelists.

The first President of the Council of Canadian Academies was Dr. Peter Nicholson. His appointment was announced February 8, 2006. He retired at the end of 2009. Elizabeth Dowdeswell is the current President of the Council.


The Council’s assessments are performed by independent panels of qualified experts from Canada and abroad who serve pro bono. This model has been employed in other countries, most notably in the United States by the National Research Council of the US National Academies. All Council assessments are published and made available to the public free of charge in English and French.


The first report of the Council, "Survey on Canada’s S&T Strengths and Capacity",[4] was released September 12, 2006.

Since then, the Council has published 10 more assessments.[5]

See also


External links

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