CFIA Scientific Research Strategy 2018-2021
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a science-based regulatory agency that conducts scientific research to support evidence-based decisions to safeguard food, animals and plants; and to enhance the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment, and the economy.
Scientific research includes any research that supports sound, risk-based decision-making, policy development, and program design and delivery. Products of scientific research must meet the needs and mandate of the CFIA, support the Government of Canada's priorities and must provide value to CanadiansFootnote 1.
This Strategy is to be used by the CFIA and its stakeholders to support decision-making during scientific research engagement, prioritization, planning, delivery, reporting, and evaluation activities.
Scientific research, as it applies to the activities of the CFIA, includes:
- scientific investigation to acquire new knowledge, or new and improved technology
- analysis or synthesis of data or information to efficiently and effectively transfer knowledge to end-users
- scientific activities that support development of tools to proactively detect, assess, mitigate, and manage risks
Advance science and innovation to support evidence-based decision-making by providing timely and meaningful scientific research outputs to inform the design and delivery of regulatory policies and programs.
Objectives of the Strategy
The CFIA Scientific Research Strategy will leverage a diverse range of scientific research activities to provide sound regulatory science to inform and support the CFIA's Responding to Today, Building for the FutureFootnote 2 initiative by achieving the following objectives:
- advancing science and innovative scientific research
- enabling evidence-based decision-making
- strengthening collaborative opportunities and partnerships
- maximizing the impact and value of research investments
Trends and drivers
Major trends and drivers for CFIA scientific research activities include:
- New threats, pressures and emerging issues such as foreign animal disease, plant pest and disease vector incursions, invasive species, arboviruses, food safety issues, issues of public confidence and transparency, globalization, climate change, increased trade, movement of people and goods, as well as security and safety threats.
- Rapid advances in science and technology supports the Agency in being optimally equipped with the knowledge and tools to carry out the mandate effectively.
- "One Health" approach, and Canada's Plant and Animal Health StrategyFootnote 3 are focussed on prevention, detection and response by addressing increasingly complex challenges and events that cross disciplines, jurisdictions, mandates, and business lines, thereby requiring novel approaches and solutions.
- Open Science commitments and Open Government requirements call for an 'Open by Design' approach to research that is inclusive and barrier-free. These values foster collaborations and partnerships that enable researchers/scientists to share information to build upon existing knowledge in novel ways.
- "One Agency" approach ensures all parts of the Agency are moving towards the same goals and ready to deliver on its mandate.
The CFIA Scientific Research Strategy has four guiding principles that align with the Government of Canada priorities:
- Research excellence – to support an environment that fosters innovation, leverages multi-disciplinary approaches and methodologies, and promotes global leadership.
- Increased focus on prevention – to develop proactive and preventative risk management approaches into all CFIA programs.
- Global collaboration and partnerships – to build networks and partnerships that strengthen CFIA's scientific research investments.
- Openness and transparency – to enhance scientific integrity and accountability, increase citizen engagement, and drive innovation and opportunities through open science, open data, open information, and open dialogue.
The CFIA will harness its scientific research strengths and leverage opportunities to advance its mandate by:
- Integrating multi-disciplinary scientific research teams with international and national networks to engage in all science activities, including policy, program and operational needs to deliver integrated solutions and strategic outcomes for regulatory issues.
- Engaging federal/provincial/territorial relationships to foster strong alliances and joint interdepartmental initiatives (i.e., Genomics Research and Development Initiative, Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Plant and Animal Health Strategy, Canadian Safety and Security Program, Canadian Food Safety Information Network).
- Enhancing human resource capacity to anticipate and address evolving priorities by hiring and training highly qualified research staff and insightful leaders to promote research excellence.
- Optimizing information management and information technologies, and scientific equipment to support scientific research activities to enable collaboration, manage large data sets, ensure data security, and facilitate connectivity.
- Modernizing financial approaches to address research gaps, remain competitive, increase innovative efforts, and acquire new technology to advance scientific research.
Research strategic priorities
The CFIA will work collectively and collaboratively to embed the following Research Strategic Priorities into scientific research activities to achieve the expected outcomes:
Modern regulatory toolkit
Generate new knowledge and technology
- Provide seminal knowledge that will support the design and implementation of the modern regulatory toolkit to anticipate and respond to emerging risks.
- Expected outcomes - CFIA applies scientific research knowledge and technology to support the Agency's legislative framework.
Integrated risk management
Enhance risk intelligence capacity
- Generate data and information through the CFIA's integrated network to enhance program reviews and policy updates to better measure, monitor, mitigate and manage risks.
- Expected Outcomes - CFIA efficiently and effectively deploys resources to enhance the Agency's surveillance, risk analysis and foresight capacity.
Consistent and efficient inspections
Provide robust processes and tools
- Deliver new science-based methods, tools, standards and innovative approaches to respond to emerging risks and enhance responsiveness to existing issues.
- Expected outcomes - CFIA supports the application of science-based processes and tools focused on regulatory outcomes.
Digital first tools and services
Facilitate open and transparent knowledge transfer
- Support sharing of information and knowledge through open access digital tools to foster relationships between the CFIA and its partners.
- Expected outcomes - CFIA contributes to knowledge of food safety, animal and plant health through the sharing of information on open, digital platforms.
Encourage research collaborations and partnerships
- Leverage multi-disciplinary scientific research collaborations, partnerships and networks to enhance capability and capacity to address new challenges and opportunities.
- Expected outcomes - CFIA maintains a leadership position on the international stage and influences international standards, improves and environmental outcomes, and supports market access.
The aim of this Strategy is to enhance the impact and value the CFIA's scientific research activities to deliver on its mandate. Two overarching targets will be used to monitor and evaluate progress in achieving its expected outcomes:
Application - the use and integration of scientific research data, information, and knowledge in the areas of:
- policy making
- program design
- risk intelligence
- international standard setting
Innovation – the advancement of creative and novel ways to:
- develop new science-based tools, technology, methods and processes
- integrate science in knowledge application
- share information and data to advance scientific research
- provide global leadership in regulatory scientific research
The CFIA Scientific Research Strategy presents the overarching framework that contains a suite of tools to enable engagement, governance, and integration of scientific research activities and outputs into a One Agency approach.
Evolution and optimization of operational components, such as internal financial support mechanisms, research partnerships, international collaborations, and open science, to name a few, will further support the CFIA research modernization that is aligned with this Strategy.
The Strategy's success is contingent upon the efforts of all CFIA staff and their commitment to engage with all stakeholders. It is our shared responsibility to strengthen Canada's position as a global leader in food safety, plant and animal health.
This Strategy replaces the CFIA's 2011-2016 Research Strategy and comes into effect March 29, 2018.
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