University of Ottawa - Desmarais Hall, 12th Floor

Recessions, international conflicts, sustainable economic development – these are some of the urgent and complex issues facing governments every day. As a result, it is ever more important that leaders have access to new and innovative policy options.

Many successful policy leaders and decision makers have recognized the value of ideas from sources beyond their own government and formed strong links with outside institutions. Universities, with their capacity for critical thought and independent research can play an important part in the development of those ideas, and in nourishing a policy process that is both open and rigorous.

All of this is as true in Canada as anywhere. Yet we do not have a robust tradition of constructive engagement between cabinet and campus. There are few established lines of communication. It is rare that departments and ministries consult faculties in examining options. When dialogue takes place, it is typically episodic and seldom systematic.

Our Conference will explore the factors that have produced that situation. It will examine ways in which universities can more consistently contribute to the policy-making process and suggest approaches that will encourage those contributions. It will ask whether there are obstacles that need to be removed. It will consider practices that are followed in other countries, so that we can learn from the experience elsewhere. And it will make recommendations for both universities and governments to consider.