Scott Findlay


Scott Findlay
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Associate Director (Graduate Studies)

Room: 1 Stewart Street (301A)
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 3108
Work E-mail:



Scott Findlay is a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa and associate director of graduate studies at uOttawa’s Institute of Environment. His main research interests involve the impact of humans on ecosystems, the relationship between science and law, evidence-informed decision-making, the integration of Indigenous and Western scientific knowledge and the role of Darwinian evolution in cancer progression and cancer therapy. From 2003 to 2009, he was the director of the Institute of the Environment. He was appointed to the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission in April 2005 and, in 2008, to the federal Challenge Advisory Panel to advise on the federal government’s Chemical Management Plan. In September 2009, he was appointed to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s expert advisory panel. He was commissioned by Canada’s National Judicial Institute in 2011 to contribute to a manual for Canada’s judiciary on the interpretation of scientific evidence in the courtroom. In May 2012, he was awarded a University Chair in Teaching from the University of Ottawa, and in 2013, he co-founded Evidence for Democracy, a national non-partisan organization that advocates for evidence-informed decision-making by governments. He has been researcher in residence at the Office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada since July 2017.


He is interested in the issue of evidence-based decision-making, be it in a scientific, statutory, regulatory or policy context.  In particular, he is interested in the question of the efficacy and/or efficiency of measures designed to achieve certain outcomes (e.g. environmental protection, public health, technological innovation, etc.).  Scott has worked on this question in a wide range of settings, from natural resource management (e.g. fisheries policy) , wildlife conservation (e.g. reducing road mortality, effectiveness of protected areas in reducing biodiversity loss), fresh water conservation, species at risk, ecosystem service delivery; and cancer drug efficacy.

Examples of Research Questions:

  1. What recovery actions are most effective at recovering species at risk?  What actions are largely ineffective?
  2. How well can we predict the level of ecosystem delivery by different ecosystems?
  3. How do we effectively and efficiently integrate traditional and western scientific knowledge in environmental decision-making?
  4. What policy measures actually promote technology innovation, especially in the clean technology sector?
  5. How do we design an efficient risk assessment system for new chemicals?
  6. What is the true predictive value of current models for toxicological hazard assessment?
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