About | Why this conversation matters | Roundtable highlights | Virtual townhall | Continue the conversation
Join Canada’s genomics research community, global experts and key partners in the genomics ecosystem in a vital conversation to help shape Genome Canada’s—and the country’s—strategic directions for impact in genomics.
Genomics on a mission to improve lives, strengthen communities and drive economic growth: For 20 years, Genome Canada has invested in building Canada’s genomics capacity across sectors through applied research and innovation partnerships. As we look to the next 20 years, Genome Canada is engaging Canada’s genomics ecosystem community in a dialogue to identify future opportunities and challenges for Canadian genomics, and to inform Genome Canada’s strategic direction and a new mission-driven approach: a cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral conversation aimed at delivering greater impact for Canada.
Genome Canada is kicking off this dialogue with:
- Three virtual roundtables (Sept. 23, Oct. 5, Oct. 21) with Canada’s genomics research community, global experts and key partners in the national genomics ecosystem.
- A public virtual townhall (Nov. 30 at 12:00-1:30 pm ET) with Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada; Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, Chief Scientific Officer, Genome Canada; Dr. Nehal El-Hadi, Science and Technology Editor, The Conversation Canada (Moderator); and Elder Claudette Commanda, Professor, University of Ottawa, and Executive Director, First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres.
Download our new report for highlights from our fall 2021 virtual roundtable series on the future of genomics in Canada.
Genome Canada is committed to continuing this dialogue across the genomics research and innovation ecosystem. Over the next year, we will roll out additional opportunities for engagement and input to help shape our strategic directions.
Why this conversation matters now
We are in the early days of a Bio Revolution, where advanced biosciences and biotechnology will fundamentally transform our lives. Driven by the confluence of genomics, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), gene editing and synthetic biology, we have an unparalleled opportunity to deliver homegrown biological solutions to complex problems, drive economic growth and position Canada for global market leadership in key areas of strength and—most fundamentally—protect and improve Canadians’ lives. Canada’s COVID-19 response was aided enormously by the power of genomics thanks to the cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN).
To harness this transformative potential, Genome Canada is moving to an impact-led, mission-driven approach to bring genomics solutions to key societal and economic challenges, and propel promising concepts through the research and innovation ecosystem to deliver equitable impacts that benefit communities across the country and globally.
Genome Canada’s dialogue series and townhall event provide an initial opportunity for partners from across the genomics ecosystem—research, innovation, business, policy and other relevant stakeholders—to bring their expertise and insight to Genome Canada’s mission strategy and a shared platform on a future for genomics in Canada.
Strengthening Canada’s innovation ecosystem for greater impact on value creation, economic growth and jobs—through greater policy coherence and coordination, optimizing synergies among federal ecosystem actors and better connecting upstream investments in fundamental research with downstream impacts on commercialization and intellectual property (IP) generation for national benefit—has been a major focus of federal innovation policy and investments over the last several years.
Budget 2021 doubled down on this goal, supporting key innovative sectors to drive pandemic resilience and economic growth, announcing major investments in the biosciences and biomanufacturing as well as in AI, quantum and genomics via the development of a new $400 million Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy (PCGS) over six years, including $136.7 million towards Genome Canada’s mission-driven programming.
The first roundtable explored how national research and innovation strategies and ecosystems support innovation and impact—with a focus on how genomics and associated areas of research can help Canada tackle some of today’s biggest challenges. Read the pre-event brief for more on roundtable 1.
Roundtable 1 discussion questions:
- How can Canada incorporate specific learning from other national research and innovation strategies, and what are the lessons for a mission-driven strategy around genomics? What are our strengths and where are there gaps?
- How can we ensure we both strengthen Canada’s global standing and competitive advantage and deliver on societal and economic impacts for complex problems?
- How can a national research and innovation strategy ensure it meets the needs of all communities and delivers on equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenous engagement imperatives?
The second roundtable focused on identifying where Canada’s strengths and areas of future focus should be—with a particular focus on where Canada can double down on its international advantage to lead in the future of genomics, and how we can leverage unique multi- and interdisciplinary genomics across areas of research and innovation. Read the pre-event brief for more on roundtable 2.
Roundtable 2 discussion questions:
- What are Canada’s strengths and areas of competitive advantage to leverage for delivering future genomics impacts in Canada and internationally? Where are the unique opportunities to create cross-sectoral benefits from genomics research and innovation in Canada?
- How can we ensure we strengthen Canada’s global standing and competitive advantage on our relative areas of strength and also support the broad future of genomics in the country? Where do we need to prioritize and make choices?
- How can Canada’s focus on future genomics research and innovation address diverse needs across society, and drive to health, social and economic benefit?
The third roundtable focused on foundational ecosystem elements required to deliver on potential impacts for Canada and globally. This includes ensuring we have the capacity, talent and data systems in place to support a highly impactful genomics ecosystem that can leverage unique multi- and interdisciplinary genomics across areas of research and innovation. Read the pre-event brief for more on roundtable 3.
Roundtable 3 discussion questions:
- What are the ecosystem foundational elements Canada should consider as vital supports for delivering future genomics impacts in Canada and internationally? Where are the unique opportunities for supporting cross-sectoral (both public-private and multi-sector) benefits from genomics research and innovation?
- Within broad areas of data, talent and capacity, how do we need to manage our portfolio of supports in order to strengthen Canada’s competitive genomics advantage?
- How can we ensure supports for Canada’s future genomics research and innovation address diverse needs across society, and drive to health, social and economic benefit?
Genome Canada’s Nov. 30, 2021 virtual townhall explored the game-changing role genomics is playing in the fight against COVID-19 and in tackling other grand challenges—from rare disease to climate change resilience. As part of an ongoing dialogue on the future of genomics in Canada, the townhall welcomed more than 340 participants, including researchers, government officials, industry representatives and members of the public, to share their diverse perspectives on how to increase Canada’s genomics impact for the benefit of all Canadians—and the world.
The discussion was led by Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada and Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, Chief Scientific Officer, Genome Canada, with moderator Dr. Nehal El-Hadi, Science and Technology Editor at The Conversation Canada. Elder Claudette Commanda, an Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, who is Special Advisor to the Dean on Reconciliation at the University of Ottawa, opened the session.
Help us continue the conversation on the future of genomics in Canada
- Follow @GenomeCanada on Twitter and the hashtag #GenomicsOnAMission for more highlights from the national dialogue on the future of genomics in Canada—including live updates from the three roundtables.
- We encourage you to share your thoughts on the discussion questions from the roundtable series on Twitter (tagging @GenomeCanada and #GenomicsOnAMission), by responding to Genome Canada’s open calls for input on the questions discussed at the roundtables, or via email ([email protected]). Feedback will help inform future roundtables and Genome Canada’s mission strategy.