Advances in technology and increasing digitalization, before and exacerbated during the pandemic, have led to higher demand for advanced skills sets. To build the future of work, we need to empower a new generation of researchers by nurturing talent and creating opportunities for career development.
The critical importance of building scientific capability is apparent, and the first steps have already been taken with the Government of Canada investing over $550 million to support more than 5,500 researchers from coast to coast to coast, and universities across Canada creating opportunity for experiential learning in leading research labs to help young researchers develop the foundational skills and experience needed to pursue meaningful careers in R&D and related fields.
Supporting researchers in the early stages of their career helps them build an innovative mindset, confidence and important industry and community connections. Yet, these young researchers face many challenges, including establishing research credentials or having them recognized, limited resources for research, and high competition for the scarce research positions available.
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the session to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
2. What is the most memorable “success story” or “lesson learned” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/group has contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
3. In your view, what do you see as the primary role that each of us has to play in building future ready communities?
4. What would be your biggest piece of advice to talent in Canada trying to start and/or advance their careers and navigate the future of work?
5. What are some resources, books, Ted Talks, or podcasts, that have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
Key take-aways that stood out in the conversation were the value of life-long learning and the impact of climate change on future generations. We often underestimate or do not even consider environmental factors, but incorporating principles of sustainability in all the work that we do is critical to build a better future of work.
Another theme that resonated strongly with the panelists was the need for inclusive and actionable research. It’s important for us to better understand the impact our research can have on the community. We need to bridge the gap between research and practice, while creating equal opportunities for all and cultivating space for curiosity, exploration and passion as the new generation of researchers build their careers and develop their skill sets.
Guiding discussion questions:
About the panelists:
Mohamed Elmi, Executive Director, Diversity Institute
Mohamed is the Executive Director of the Diversity Institute. The Diversity Institute conducts and coordinates multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research to address the needs of diverse Canadians, the changing nature of skills and competencies, and the policies, processes and tools that advance economic inclusion and success. Mohamed hold a PhD in Information Systems at University of Cape Town. Prior to this, Mohamed completed his thesis Masters of Arts in International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and an Honour Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Brunswick.
Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute, Toronto Metropolitan University
The Diversity Institute (DI) conducts and coordinates multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research to address the needs of diverse Canadians, the changing nature of skills and competencies, and the policies, processes and tools that advance economic inclusion and success. Their action-oriented, evidence-based approach is advancing knowledge of the complex barriers faced by underrepresented groups, leading practices to effect change, and producing concrete results.
Founded in 1999 by Dr. Wendy Cukier, the DI has conducted groundbreaking research on diversity and inclusion in Canada, developed impactful programs like the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, championed legislative change on Bill C-25 and has helped companies understand the opportunities of inclusion and develop tools to harness inclusion as a driver for success. DI is leading the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and is a partner in the Future Skills Centre, external link, opens in new window.
Eric Siegel, Chief Innovation Officer, Ocean Frontier Institute
Eric has worked at the intersection of ocean science, technical innovation, and international business for twenty years. He has held director and founder positions in global ocean technology companies leading teams in sales, marketing, business development, product development, and advanced manufacturing. Eric is a demonstrated growth leader with market depth, customer touch, and technical expertise, with extensive experience working in North America, Europe, the UK, and Asia. Eric serves as the Chief Innovation Officer at Canada’s Ocean Frontier Institute and the Executive in Residence at the Creative Destruction Lab, as well as Strategic Advisor for international ocean technology companies. He was appointed to the UN Ocean Decade Technology & Innovation Informal Working Group and sits on the board of directors at Sustainable Oceans Applied Research and Sail Nova Scotia. Eric is trained in physical oceanography, naval architecture and marine engineering, and earned an MBA with a focus on leadership, innovation, and global business. When not helping ocean scientists and companies, Eric is an active sailor, having crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on his small boats, and is now racing Bluenose Class Sloops with his family in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Ocean Frontier Institute
The Ocean Frontier Institute, established in 2016, is a partnership led by Dalhousie University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and University of Prince Edward Island. The Institute is now an international entity administering the Canada First Research Excellence Fund — The Safe and Sustainable Development of the Ocean Frontier, the Ocean Graduate Excellence Network (OGEN), Ocean School, and the North Atlantic Carbon Observatory (NACO).
OFI’s ocean research focuses on changes and solutions; Their research examines key aspects of atmosphere-ocean interaction, resulting ocean dynamics, and shifting ecosystems, and focuses on effective approaches to resource development that are sustainable, globally competitive, societally acceptable, and resilient to change.
Simon Blanchette, Research Associate, Diversity Institute & Future Skills Centre, Toronto Metropolitan University
Simon Blanchette has been a Senior research associate with the Diversity Institute and Future Skills Centre for several years working on the organization’s seminal DiversityLeads project, the Diversity Assessment of the Superclusters (for ISED) as well as a range of projects for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and with various partners including the Government of Canada, the Black Business Professional Association, BMO, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec. He has presented his work in prestigious international conferences, such as the Academy of Management Annual Meeting and the European Group on Organization Studies Annual International Colloquium. Simon is an Adjunct lecturer in management in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University and the John Molson School of Management. He is the coauthor of several recent studies (and upcoming studies) on women and work as well as training gaps and skills gaps in SMEs, and also has previous experience as a consultant and executive educator. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and Master of Science in Management (specialized in Strategy) from HEC Montreal, where his thesis focused on creative ideation and innovation.
Toronto Metropolitan University
Toronto Metropolitan University is at the intersection of mind and action. They champion diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation, and are dedicated to creating a culture of action. As Canada’s leader in innovative and career-oriented education, they believe that education and experience go hand-in-hand. What their students learn in the classroom is enhanced by real-world knowledge through internships and co-ops, or amplified through zone learning, specialized minors and graduate programs.