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New Year Message – Raising the profile of agricultural research

As 2016 rolls in and 2015 becomes a memory, it is important to think about what we have accomplished and what remains to be done.  This allows us to improve on our record and strive to do better.

The Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) has changed over the past few years.  We have gone back to our original mandate and given ourselves the tools to accomplish our key objectives.

The development of a national policy on agricultural research was an initiative that was a founding part of our organization in 1920.  We finally were able to develop such a policy and gather consensus from a number of stakeholders.

Our 2015 conference brought together researchers, academics, public servants, entrepreneurs, commodity groups and other stakeholders to discuss the policy and look at the future of agricultural research.  That conference allowed us to plant the seeds of what will undoubtedly be an even more stimulating conference in April 2016 on the dissemination of agricultural research.

We have been able to provide more visibility to issues facing agricultural researchers and were quoted extensively in various mainstream and agricultural media.  Some articles referred to the development of our national research policy while others dealt with other issues such as the impact of recent decisions made by the federal government.  Our work was discussed in both English and French media.

The result of our efforts (and that of other stakeholders) was that for the first time in a long time, major political parties either directly referred to agricultural research in their electoral platforms or made special announcements on agricultural research.

We’ve increased our communications through social media and our weekly notes.  This allows us to reach thousands of people and bring them relevant information.

We have also divested ourselves of the scientific journals that AIC published for decades.  We found them a new home (Canadian Science Publishing) and are proud to say that this was the best solution to ensure the journals would continue to prosper, grow and help the scientific community in Canada publish its work and reach new audiences.

Much remains to be done.  What the past few years have taught us (as a community interested in agricultural research) is that we need to raise the profile of our sector in order to keep it at the top of priorities for people making policy and funding decisions.

This means that we need to strengthen our communications and advocacy efforts.  We also need to ensure that we have future generations interested in agricultural research.  Steps also need to be taken to strengthen our international linkages.

We would not be able to do this without the support of our members as well as our competent and dedicated staff.  Bridget Schrempf, Gloria Sanchez, Ellen McWeeny and our latest new recruit, Gabriele Leguerrier enable us to keep AIC moving forward.

The Board of directors sets the direction, provides the guidance and undertakes the oversight needed to run AIC.

We would like to thank both our members and agricultural research stakeholders for their support in 2015, we look forward to your continued collaboration and engagement in 2016.

Serge Buy
Chief Executive Officer / Président directeur général
Agricultural Institute of Canada / Institut agricole du Canada

Support through AIC membership enables us to be a strong voice for agricultural research in Canada.  Find out more about membership and how you can support AIC’s mission.