Where Does Canada Stand on Science?

On August 28, 2014, an expert panel, formed through the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), released an in-depth report about where Canada stands on “science culture”. Who are the Council of Canadian Academies and what is “science culture”? They describe themselves on their web site as:

…an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports independent, authoritative, and evidence-based expert assessments that inform public policy development in Canada. The Council’s work encompasses a broad definition of science, incorporating the natural, social and health sciences as well as engineering and the humanities.

The CCA considers that a society:

…has a strong science culture when it embraces discovery and supports the use of scientific knowledge and methodology. Such a culture encourages the education and training of a highly skilled workforce and the development of an innovative knowledge-based economy.

Canada actually does pretty well. The full report is available here and I’ve included some of the key findings below. One note of caution: wherever Canada is compared to other countries, the Canadian data are brand new, where the other countries’ data collection years vary. In other words, it is conceivable that Canada’s rank could move relative to these other countries if their data were collected at the same time.

The info-graphic below shows that Canadians view science favourably with 93% of us expressing an interest in new scientific discoveries and 74% of us agreeing that science and technology will bring future opportunities.

Compared with other countries, Canadians rank high in science interest and science literacy; we also visit science and technology museums more than most other countries (we are 2nd to Sweden). However, we don’t seem to formalize our science interests as Canadians rank low in obtaining first degrees in science or working in science and technology occupations.

Other notable findings: the more educated and wealthy you are, the more you are interested in science. Sadly, women are less interested in science (come on ladies – you’re also less atheist – what can I do to win you over?!)

The following two tables are a nice summary of the report but you take a look for yourselves as well by following this link: Council of Canadian Academies | CCA | Science Culture: Where Canada Stands.

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