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‘Essential role’

Memorial researcher named science advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada

By Kelly Foss

One of Memorial University’s leading ocean experts will soon use his knowledge to help strengthen science within the federal government.

Dr. Paul Snelgrove is a University Research Professor with the departments of Ocean Sciences and Biology, the director of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe) and the associate scientific director of the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI).

And as the newly appointed departmental science advisor for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), he will report to the department’s deputy minister, Timothy Sargent.

“The ocean is so important to Newfoundland and Labrador, and indeed the planet as a whole. I am truly delighted to be able to work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada towards a sustainable future for us all,” said Dr. Snelgrove.

“I have enjoyed working with DFO over the years – especially through the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network – and feel we can do more good things together.”

International leader

His new part-time position is for two years.

During that time, Dr. Snelgrove will maintain his academic position at Memorial University, also in a part-time capacity.

“With more than 40 per cent of our research ocean-related, Memorial researchers such as Dr. Snelgrove are recognized internationally as leaders for ocean innovation and leading-edge discoveries,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Through our ongoing collaborations with the federal government, Memorial will continue to play a central role in advancing critical scientific studies and research that will benefit the whole of Canada. I congratulate Dr. Snelgrove on his new role as he helps strengthen Memorial’s partnership with the federal government.”

Dr. Mark Abrahams, dean, Faculty of Science, adds: “Dr. Snelgrove’s appointment as science advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada speaks to the quality of researchers we have here at Memorial. I am certain Canada’s science community will benefit from his many years of experience. We are pleased to be able to support him as he takes on this essential role.”

Strengthening ties

In 2016 the Government of Canada launched a review of federal support for fundamental science.

Recommendations from the final report, chaired by Dr. David Naylor, included the establishment of a chief science advisor and a national science advisory network to ensure government science is fully available to the public.

“I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Snelgrove as our first departmental science advisor.” — Timothy Sargent

This strategy involves ensuring that government scientists can speak freely about their work and that government decisions fully consider scientific analyses.

The national advisors will also support the vital work of researchers by strengthening the linkages between science and policy decisions and improving collaboration across sectors and partners.

“I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Snelgrove as our first departmental science advisor,” said Mr. Sargent. “His experience and expertise will help us to advance efforts to promote a strong culture of scientific excellence and innovation in our department and throughout the Government of Canada.”

Interdepartmental experts

Dr. Snelgrove will join an interdepartmental group of science advisors across federal government departments.

These experts will work closely with senior departmental officials and support the mandate of the chief science advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, providing a neutral sounding board for decision-makers and facilitate the incorporation of evidence in decision-making processes, acting as a link between the department and external stakeholders.

Over the past year, science advisors have also been appointed to the Department of the Environment and Climate Change Canada, the National Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency, with more to come.

Dr. Snelgrove holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Biology Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a master’s degree in oceanography from McGill University, and a B.Sc.(Hons.) in biology from Memorial University

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