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Ontario Names Molly Shoichet the Province’s First Chief Scientist

Ontario has appointed Molly Shoichet to advance science and innovation in the province — and to make government smarter and more effective by providing decision-makers with the world’s best scientific research and evidence.

The Chief Scientist will advise Premier Kathleen Wynne directly on key scientific matters, demonstrating Ontario’s ongoing commitment to grow our economy by investing in scientific research and promoting our world-class science both at home and to international audiences. Shoichet, a professor at the University of Toronto and a member of the Order of Ontario, will report to Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

An internationally respected and award-winning expert in the study of polymers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration, as a teacher, mentor and researcher Shoichet has demonstrated her dedication to the advancement of scientific knowledge and excellence.

In the coming months, Shoichet will help develop Ontario’s strategic research agenda and grow the province’s reputation as a top destination for global research talent. The Chief Scientist will also provide advice informed by science to help government decision-makers tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time, such as climate change, aging populations and the impact of transformative technologies.

Supporting research and innovation is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Recruiting a Chief Scientist is part of Ontario’s five-year, $650-million Business Growth Initiative, which is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale up and modernizing regulations for businesses.
  • Ontario held public consultations to help determine the skills and experience the Chief Scientist should possess, and how this role could advance science.
  • A recent survey by the Ontario Science Centre shows that many Canadians lack an awareness and understanding of science. Four in 10 said they think science is a matter of opinion, and 33 per cent consider themselves “science illiterate.”
  • Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 countries for total research publication output, and Ontario produced about 46 per cent of Canada’s national output from 2009 to 2014.
  • Ontario plans to increase the number of postsecondary students graduating in science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM) disciplines by 25 per cent over the next five years, to 50,000 per year. This will give Ontario the highest number per capita of postsecondary STEM graduates in North America.

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