Jeff Junke, Coordinator, Social Media and Communications, Council of Canadian Academies
The social sciences and humanities are an important cornerstone of Canada’s research strength. The Council knows this all too well thanks to its report, The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012, which identified three of Canada’s six fields of research strength as social sciences and humanities disciplines (historical studies, psychology and cognitive science, and visual and performing arts). More than ever before, these various and wide ranging disciplines are key to understanding many challenges in Canadian science, research, and policy.
The Council has been engaged in the social sciences and humanities since its inception. With a broad definition of “science” that includes the natural, social, and physical sciences, as well as engineering, the Council has worked with countless expert volunteers that hail from many different backgrounds, allowing our work to be unabashedly multidisciplinary in nature.
The Council has also had the pleasure of working on projects that focus on issues at the centre of uniquely Canadian discussions. One of its most recent reports, Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge, brought to light the serious problem of food insecurity in Aboriginal communities across Canada. The report is special in that its conceptual framework offered a holistic approach to understand food insecurity, highlighting important factors such as culture, gender, place, economy, and resources, among others. In the short time since its release, this report has become one of the Council’s most well-read documents.
Looking forward, the Council will be releasing a number of interesting and relevant reports, firmly rooted in social science and humanities disciplines. From assessing how memory institutions can embrace opportunities of our digital age, to evaluating the effectiveness of health risk communication, to our next report on the opportunities information and communication technologies can play in creating a greener Canada, the Council is pleased to do work that can have a positive impact in the lives of all Canadians.
As you take in Congress 2014 this year, the Council hopes that collaboration can take place with peers and colleagues to achieve goals and challenge, redefine, and reconfigure the borders and boundaries that affect research.