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Moving beyond the mic: Big Thinking speakers keep thinking big

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Since the kick-off to the 2013-2014 season, three of the Federation’s Big Thinking lectures have featured a top-flight researcher who continues to make airwaves with ideas and opinions on issues affecting current policy discussions. Let’s see what they have been up to since speaking to us in Ottawa...

In October, Richard Hawkins, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the University of Calgary, “proposed how policy makers can - and must - start thinking very differently about innovation. He argued that Canadian policies aimed at stimulating innovation are directly at odds with what we've learned about what innovation is, how it actually generates growth and employment, and what policy measures can promote it”. Since his talk, his reflections have been featured in an Op-Ed in The Hill TimesCanada needs an innovation agenda directed by knowledge, not mythology” (subscription required to see full article).

While considered fuel for our future, questions arise about the legal challenges raised by scientific and technological advances. Cyber security is one such concern. In November, Ron Deibert, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs' Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, addressed some of the issues relating to personal information being shared across varying types of “borders”. He shared his outlook for cyber security, and what recent revelations about surveillance will mean for a free, open, and secure Internet. Since November, and with Data Privacy Day being today, Professor Deibert has frequently been asked to comment and provide further expertise on the topic of surveillance. In recent weeks he has been featured in news channels across the country, including  in “Cyberspace expert Rob Deibert raises the alarm on government surveillance in Canada” and “Online security expert warns collection of metadata is the real threat to individual liberty”. And today, he was also a panelist at the “Big Surveillance Demands Big Privacy – Enter Privacy-Protective Surveillance” event in Toronto. Be sure to listen to the webcast from the event, available tomorrow!

Not only do science and technology evolve, so do family structures and dynamics. Most recently, Céline Le Bourdais, Canada Research Chair in Social Statistics and Family Change at McGill University, reflected on these ever-changing dynamics of family. She “examined the significance of common law partnerships through the lens of the stability of unions and management of their shared finances.” Most recently, she has been featured in Maclean’sHow marriage can save your life”, providing comments on a new study that has concluded that getting and staying married may help in sustaining a healthy life.

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Big Thinking

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ResearchBig Thinking