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Measuring Environment Canada's Research and Development Performance (2014)


This report compares Environment Canada's (EC) present research and development (R&D) performance with the Department’s performance in 2009, as measured in the previous report, Measuring Environment Canada’s Research & Development Performance. Several metrics indicate improvement: for example, EC’s collaboration rate and scientific impact have increased. Other metrics indicate opportunities for growth: for example, timeliness and adaptability have decreased relative to past rankings. However, most metrics indicate sustained strength in R&D: for example, the Department continues to have a strong record in overall productivity, relevance to federal priorities, support to users and producers, top national and international partners, and S&T funding and personnel. EC’s sustained high-quality R&D performance is a key factor in its reliability and credibility as a scientific institution.

This report establishes baselines for EC’s R&D performance in each Science Strategy principle. Overall, EC’s R&D is relevant, transparent, responsive, excellent and collaborative. These five principles guide the work of all EC staff and help the Department achieve its mandate.

Excellence and Collaboration are well-established areas of strength for EC. The scientific impact of EC’s science is well above world average, and the Department adheres and contributes to international standards. EC’s science is increasingly collaborative, with Canadian universities remaining the Department’s strongest partners. EC’s R&D Excellence and Collaboration underpin the Department’s role as a leader within the environmental science community.

EC’s performance in Relevance and Responsiveness is strong, but reveals several strategic areas for improvement. EC is clearly a science-based department, with the majority of Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) programs using and producing science that is highly relevant to the Department’s mandate, Strategic Outcomes and federal priorities. EC’s enabling environment is stable in terms of funding, infrastructure and personnel. There are opportunities to improve user satisfaction, timeliness and adaptability through continued focus on user/producer linkages, one of the key mechanisms in the Science Strategy.

Transparency is an emerging area of focus for EC. A substantial amount of scientific data and nearly half EC’s publications are already freely available online. Beyond availability, EC is taking steps to improve accessibility of its science. As one of the leads for the Government of Canada’s Open Science commitment, EC’s efforts in the area of scientific transparency will increase in the coming years.

This report also establishes baselines for EC’s R&D performance in each Science Strategy priority area. Contaminants & Stressors (PA1) is a clear area of strength for EC, based on publication productivity and comparison with other Canadian and international institutions. EC also performs well in Weather (PA2), based on its share of publications in this area and its productivity, scientific impact and specialization compared to other institutions. Publications in Climate Change (PA3) have the highest average of relative citations (ARC); however, EC’s productivity in this priority area is lower relative to other areas within EC, and relative to other institutions. Conservation & Protection (PA4) is a priority area with potential for improvement in terms of productivity and scientific impact compared to other priority areas.

Overall, EC’s R&D performance is strong in each Science Strategy principle and priority area. EC’s sustained R&D strength underlies the ability of the Department’s policies, programs and services to help provide Canadians with a clean, safe and sustainable environment.

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