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Independent expert panel to probe future directions for federal laboratories


Ottawa, ON – The federal government says it has created an independent panel of experts to provide advice on transferring federal non-regulatory laboratories, including a range of different management options.

“Our laboratories conduct research that benefits all Canadians,” said Vic Toews, president of the Treasury Board, in making the announcement. “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.”

The panel members are Dr Arnold Naimark, Dr Kevin Keough, Dr Kelvin Ogilvie, and Dr Clive Willis.

Dr Naimark, the panel’s chair, is president emeritus and dean of medicine emeritus and professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Manitoba. He 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 Keough, is professor emeritus of biochemistry at Memorial University, as well as the president and chief executive officer of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and a founder of NovaLipids.

Dr Ogilvie is professor of chemistry and past president and vice-chancellor of Acadia University and an expert on biotechnology, bio-organic chemistry, and genetic engineering.

Dr Willis established himself as a private consultant after having served in several senior positions at the National Research Council of Canada, including vice-president of research.

“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 key objectives, including increasing the impact of federal investments in research, fostering research excellence, enhancing learning and transfer of knowledge, and leveraging the strengths of government, university and private-sector research.

Their report, due in the autumn, will identify up to five federal non-regulatory laboratories that could be considered candidates for early transfer.