The new Canadian science minister, Kirsty Duncan, has her work cut out for her, Nature News writes.
Duncan, a medical geographer and member of the House of Commons, was appointed to the post last month as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office. As Nature News notes, she "inherits a research community bruised by years of cuts to science programs and research jobs." The United Nations has noted that Canada is one of the few advance economies were R&D spending has decline relative to its GDP.
Duncan has been tapped to bolster the scientific enterprise in Canada, but whether she will be able to do so depends on the budget. "She's a great person for the job, but is it window dressing?" Kennedy Stewart, who tracks science issues for the New Democratic Party, tells Nature News. "The budget will tell."
In the mean time, Duncan will also be moving to improve Canada's science capacity by creating professorships in sustainable technologies as well as establishing a chief science officer post, as an alternative to the national science adviser post that was eliminated by the Harper government, Nature News adds.