Canada's New Government announces independent expert panel on federal laboratories



    OTTAWA, Aug. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the
Treasury Board, today announced the creation of an independent panel of
experts to provide advice on transferring federal non-regulatory laboratories,
including a range of different management options. With this announcement, the
government is delivering on its Budget 2007 commitment.
    "Our laboratories conduct research that benefits all Canadians. I have
asked this panel to advise the government on different options for managing
non-regulatory federal laboratories so that Canada benefits from a strong and
collaborative science and technology sector," said Minister Toews.
    This panel is comprised of individuals with extensive experience and
leadership in Canada's science and technology community. Dr. Arnold Naimark of
Manitoba will chair the panel. Other members of the panel are: Dr. Kevin
Keough of Alberta, Dr. Kelvin Ogilvie of Nova Scotia, and Dr. Clive Willis of
Québec.
    "This is an important opportunity to strengthen collaboration and advance
research," said Dr. Naimark. "Considering different arrangements for managing
laboratories will bring the views of government, academia and the private
sector together to find innovative ways to further advance our common research
goals."
    The panel will focus on four key objectives:

    
    - Increasing the impact of federal investments in research
    - Fostering research excellence
    - Enhancing learning and transfer of knowledge
    - Leveraging the strengths of government, university and private sector
      research

    The Panel will report back to the President of the Treasury Board in Fall
2007, including identifying up to five federal non-regulatory laboratories
that could be considered candidates for early transfer.
    "I am delighted such eminent Canadians from the science and technology
community have agreed to be part of this panel," Minister Toews concluded.
"Each one brings broad experience and a balance of perspectives from across
Canada."

    Attached is a backgrounder with information on the mandate of the panel
and biographical information on the panel members.

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                                 Backgrounder
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               INDEPENDENT EXPERT PANEL ON FEDERAL LABORATORIES
               ------------------------------------------------

    Mandate:
    --------

    The Independent Expert Panel will report to the President of the Treasury
Board, providing advice and options on transferring federal non-regulatory
laboratories to universities or the private sector. The Panel will report back
to the President of the Treasury Board in Fall 2007.

    Background:
    -----------

    Federal government laboratories conduct a broad range of scientific
activities including regulatory activities, knowledge advancement, and
economic and social development.
    Some laboratories focus primarily on regulatory functions such as testing
food for contaminates. Other laboratories focus on more research-oriented
non-regulatory functions. Only non-regulatory functions will be early
candidates for transfer.
    Science and technology (S&T), carried out by government, private and
academic sectors is a cornerstone of the national innovation system.
Government S&T plays a key role in that system and researchers interact with
other sectors and organizations, both in Canada and internationally, to bring
the benefits of federal S&T investments to Canadians. The Government of Canada
is committed to strengthening the effectiveness of its investments in S&T to
ensure Canadians benefit from scientific innovation and that Canada continues
to have a competitive advantage.
    Budget 2007 signalled the Government's desire to explore different options
for managing its non-regulatory laboratories by creating the independent panel
of experts to assist in this exploration. This intention was echoed in
Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, released in May 2007,
which stated that the government would focus its activities in areas where
government is best able to deliver results, and consider alternative
management for non-regulatory federal laboratories.

    Next steps
    ----------

    In the coming months, the Panel will engage key stakeholders, take into
account the diversity of federal science activities and consider a broad range
of options for transferring federal laboratories to universities or the
private sector. The Panel will report back to the President of the Treasury
Board in Fall 2007. The report will include identification of up to five
laboratories that could be considered as early candidates for transfer.


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                                 Backgrounder
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               INDEPENDENT EXPERT PANEL ON FEDERAL LABORATORIES
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                             MEMBER BIOGRAPHIES
                             ------------------
    
    Dr. Arnold Naimark, President Emeritus and Dean of Medicine Emeritus and
Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Manitoba, is
currently Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Medicine, and Chair of
Health Canada's Ministerial Science Advisory Board and Chairman of Genome
Prairie. Dr. Naimark will serve as Chair of the Expert Panel, bringing decades
of experience in leadership positions in higher education and research,
academic medicine, science and technology policy, biotechnology and
organizational design and function to the panel. Dr. Naimark resides in
Manitoba.

    Dr. Kevin Keough, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Memorial
University, is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the
Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and a founder of NovaLipids
Incorporated. Dr. Keough has served as Chief Scientist at Health Canada and
Deputy Chair of the Council of Science and Technology Advisors. Prior to
having joined Health Canada, he was the first Vice President of Research and
International Relations at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Dr. Keough
provides the panel with a range of private sector, government, and academic
experience related to science and technology and innovation. Dr. Keough
resides in Alberta.

    Dr. Kelvin Ogilvie is Professor of Chemistry and Past President and
Vice-Chancellor of Acadia University and one of the world's leading experts on
biotechnology, bio-organic chemistry, and genetic engineering. Dr. Ogilvie has
worked with numerous organizations including the Atomic Energy Control Board
and the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee, and serves on the Board of
Genome Canada, the Atlantic Innovation Fund Advisory Board and the NRC
Institute for Marine Biosciences Advisory Board. Dr. Ogilvie also served as
Chair of the Premier's Council on Innovation in Nova Scotia. Dr. Ogilvie's
academic experience, combined with his experience in innovation and
commercialization, will greatly benefit the panel. Dr. Ogilvie resides in Nova
Scotia.

    Dr. Clive Willis established himself as a private consultant after having
served in several positions at the Vice President level at the National
Research Council of Canada, including that of Vice-President of Research.
Dr. Willis has served on a number of boards and committees at regional,
national and international levels including co-chairing the National
Technology Table as part of the National Climate Change Process. Dr. Willis
played a key role in establishing a number of not-for-profit,
innovation-driven coordinating organizations including, most recently,
NanoQuébec, where he assumed the role of Director General. Dr. Willis provides
the panel with a range of government, private sector, and not-for-profit
experience related to innovation, science and technology. Dr. Willis resides
in Quebec.




For further information:

For further information: Mike Storeshaw, Director of Communications,
Office of the President of the Treasury Board, (613) 957-2666; Robert
Makichuk, Chief, Media Relations, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, (613)
957-2391; TTY (Telecommunications device for the hearing impaired), (613)
957-9090; This news release is available online at: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca


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