OCGC Seminar - Phase II: The Challenge of Causality in the Science/Policy World


Chris Jennings 
Strategy and Planning Division, NRCan


 Thursday, November 27th, 2014
11:30 a.m.  

Harrison Hall
Geological Survey of Canada
601 Booth Street



Articulating the causal link between performing a particular set of scientific activities and advancing a public policy priority is often a struggle. At a broad, conceptual level, there is little disagreement on the importance of science and scientific innovations to the Canadian economy and environment or the safety and security of Canadians; the challenge arises when conversation becomes more specific, focusing on decisions about spending public funds on specific science projects and programs and the alignment with the government’s priorities. This presentation approaches this difficulty as a problem at the level of ideas and applies elements drawn from theories of ideology to show, in part, where the difficulty in finding the causal links may come from and how to work through that difficulty to connect scientific objectives to public policy objectives in coherent arguments. It will also look at some of the ways that policy can, based on this same thinking, use science to support more innovative approaches to achieving government objectives.