The end of the Quantum to Cosmos Festival marks the beginning of preparations for the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI), an international science conference expected to take place in Waterloo Region in spring, 2011.
The global gathering will see international researchers, business leaders and public policy decision-makers help identify actions in the science and technology arena that must be taken in order to seize opportunities in the decades ahead and monitor progress against those actions.
The WGSI will focus on the role that science and technology can play in addressing the world’s most fundamental social, environmental and economic challenges. The conference will provide leading thinkers with a forum in which to view the long term and identify clear actions. Areas of provincial, national and global concern may include energy, quantum information and water resources.
WGSI will operate as a partnership between the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. A Board, Advisory Council and Scientific Advisory Committee will be drawn from a variety of organizations, including universities across the province.
“Ontario understands the value of world-class science to the future of our economy, our environment and our society as a whole,” says John Milloy, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation. “The WGSI will bring the world to our doorstep and shine a light on the important work of Ontario as a global thought leader, a global policy leader and unequivocal champion for innovation as the key driver for prosperity.”
David Johnston, President of the University of Waterloo, says, "The growing complexities of our world require exceptionally clear thinking if we are to grow the knowledge economy and benefit the province and Canada. Taking a long term view is critical to spotting opportunities early in order to identify and sustain responsible social and economic development. UW and PI are well positioned to help keep Ontario ahead of the innovation curve and position the province for success in specific research fields.”
Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, says, “Science and technology will be vital to our future. Through wise investments, Ontario and Canada are already emerging as global knowledge leaders. WGSI will help with identifying key challenges and opportunities, thereby ensuring the best possible decisions are taken.”
Waterloo Region can provide an ideal location for the conference due to its international reputation for innovation throughout the full research chain - involving basic research, experimentation and commercialization. The region is highly regarded outside of Canada for its efforts in spurring the transition from a manufacturing base to a knowledge-based economy. The location is highly accessible to the world, yet provides the intimate environment required to facilitate a highly focused gathering of top leaders.
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 28,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow.