Recently, as part of their digital research infrastructure (DRI) planning, Industry Canada sent out a call for responses to their Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Strategy consultation, Seizing Canada’s Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation. As a champion and advocate of Ontario’s digital infrastructure users in the research, education, and innovation sector, ORION decided to submit a response on behalf of our community.
Having devoted my career to supporting innovation and digital infrastructure in Ontario and around the world, I am immensely proud of what ORION has achieved for its users – more than 2 million across Ontario, to date. What excites me are the possibilities generated as ORION enables even more researchers, educators and students to create greater impact. In fact, it’s because of and on behalf of our invaluable community that we take action in this national DRI strategy. Thanks to the feedback and continual engagement with ORION’s community, we are together building the kind of digital research infrastructure that can support the next world-class innovations that are made in Ontario.
Understanding the research community
- ORION has a long-standing consultative relationship with stakeholders through our Nexus surveys, interviews and workshops; collecting stakeholder input and disseminating findings for the purpose of collaborative problem solving across sectors.
- ORION spearheaded Advanced Computing Transforming Innovation in Ontario (ACTION), a project that brought together leaders in the research and advanced computing sectors to assess the strategic opportunities for the advancement of advanced computing in Ontario and produced a report on the outcomes/recommendations of the consultation.
- Community support has always been a central principle behind ORION’s mission and strategy; as such, ORION is committed to understanding and voicing the needs of the research, education and innovation communities, in order to further Ontario and Canada’s ability to lead on the world stage.
Key recommendations in ORION’s consultation submission
Our recommendations fall within the three main categories that reflect the priorities our community identified for us in our Nexus strategy project:
- Data – Create a culture of long-term collaboration and open data that allows for sustainable future research by adjusting funding and ownership structures. To support this type of collaboration, develop data security and privacy standards, and a better integrated national network of research data repositories, including libraries, as a key partner.
- Connectivity – Improve connectivity to and within northern communities and remote areas that are hampered by the digital divide, helping to ensure equal access to the digital tools required by tomorrow’s diverse leaders. Leverage the existing National Research and Education Network to provide higher capacity bandwidth and connectivity to the researchers and institutions who need it, especially in data-intensive fields.
- Computing – As modern research is increasingly dependent on advanced computing, we recommend coordinating the purchase and management of such services for efficiencies in access, costs and use of resources to better serve the local researcher. This could ensure standards are met and that highly qualified persons are available to guide technology decisions with greater expertise.
Over to You
The possibilities don’t stop here – your voice, as a member in Ontario’s research, education and innovation ecosystem – matters. If you have a chance in the time remaining, I encourage you to submit a response before September 14 to help support our community’s needs. The future of research in Canada is too important not to. Regardless, this is an ongoing discussion and no matter what, I’d like your input so we can better represent and serve our community’s needs.