When Research Nova Scotia began operations on April 1, 2019, we needed to figure out how the new organization would fulfill its mandate. How do you support, organize and coordinate research funding in such a way that the research is in line with the needs of the province, but without telling researchers what or how to research? How do you support researcher-led creativity while guiding that research towards real benefits to the everyday lives of Nova Scotians?
Research is vital to an innovative, creative and prosperous society. Funding research creates jobs, supports the local economy, and trains highly-qualified people for a wide variety of careers both within and outside of academia. But more specifically, research has the potential to make lives better: by improving our understanding of how the world works, solving problems and identifying better ways to do things.
The province of Nova Scotia has supported research in many different ways since at least 1935. Countries and regions around the world have also found ways to both broadly support research and connect it to the needs of society. So we looked through it all for best practices, lessons learned and new ways of thinking to give shape to our direction—all while continuing to deliver programs, funding and support for the research community.
The result is our strategy: our mission-oriented approach to research.
Mission-oriented research starts with what we want to accomplish, and builds a research agenda and coalition of partners to help achieve these goals through creativity and collaboration. As a province, we face many grand challenges; we are also rich in resources, expertise and people that can grab hold of opportunities and make the world better. By working with partner organizations, each of whom plays a role in the economy, environment, health care or broader society, we can help ensure research is part of the bigger picture.
What’s most exciting about this strategy is that there is room for a wide variety of researchers, subjects, organizations and methods to achieve Nova Scotia’s goals. Foundational (or discovery) research is just as important as applied; we need social sciences and humanities alongside natural and life sciences; ideas and solutions might come from small, individual projects or large-scale collaborations. When you start with the outcome we want, that diversity of contribution can blossom.
We are excited about our future, but we cannot succeed on our own. Whether you are a researcher, a research administrator, government, private sector, or not-for-profit, we want to work with you to support a sustainable, prosperous and world-leading Nova Scotia.