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Connecting science, policy, and society

 

Taking part in the Queen’s panel on AI and Natural Resources Management were, from left: Warren Mabee (School of Policy Studies and Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation); Vik Pant, Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor; Natural Resources Canada, Bruce Ringrose, Head of Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations, Farmers Edge Inc.; Joshua Marshall (Mining, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Materials Engineering); and Elissa Strome AVP Research and Executive Director, Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, CIFAR.

There is no argument that science can have a profound impact on developing and shaping the public policies that affect Canadians. However, the transmission of science from universities, research institutions, and industry into the hands of policy makers is not always a clear, direct route. There can be many bumps on the road.

Warren Mabee, Associate Dean and Director of the School of Policy Studies, moderated the Queen’s panel on AI and Natural Resources Management.

The Canadian Science Policy Conference, now in its 11th year, is a forum bringing together over 900 research, industry, and government leaders to discuss how to bridge the gaps between these sectors. This year’s conference featured discussions around science and technology and inclusivity in science, and included a keynote discussion on the future of Canadian research with Donna Strickland, 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics laureate, and Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.

Members of the Queen’s research community participated in the national conference, taking the opportunity to highlight the university’s areas of research strength that address challenges affecting Canadians and could serve to directly impact and influence current and future policymaking. Conference participants had a chance to view the new central Research at Queen’s website, a digital platform aimed at connecting external stakeholders such as government with the research happening at Queen’s.

Research at Queen's
Did you know that Queen’s University recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features, the latest news, and featured researchers, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research at Queen’s.

As part of the conference program, Queen’s also led a panel discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and natural resources management, featuring Queen’s researchers Warren Mabee, Director, School of Public Policy and Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation, and Joshua Marshall, Interim Director of Ingenuity Labs. The panel, which included representatives from Natural Resources Canada, Farmer’s Edge, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, looked at proper management of Canada’s renewable and non-renewable natural resources.

“Management of our land, air, water, and diversity of plants and animals is critical to maintaining our quality of life,” says Dr. Warren Mabee.  “To do so effectively, what new tools can we employ to monitor, model, and manage these resources? What role will artificial intelligence play in scientific decision-making leading to thoughtful policy?”

The discussion led to exploration of what impact AI might have on the natural resources sector, including employment and changing practice. Questions around how government is supporting AI development in the industry and how to prepare citizens for changes happening around the increasing use of AI, robotics, and automation in the natural resources sector were also examined.

“Because Canada is a country rich in natural resources, we have the opportunity to be frontrunners and leaders in this discussion,” says Dr. Joshua Marshall. “How we use AI to support responsible and safe economic development, and protection, of Canada’s natural resources is a question we need to answer, and I’m happy to see Queen’s at the table in leading these types of dialogues.”

For more information on the Canadian Science Policy Conference, please visit the website.

Conference participants had a chance to view the new central Research at Queen’s website, a digital platform aimed at connecting external stakeholders such as the government with the research happening at Queen’s.