The Vice-President Research (VPR) of the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has been delegated the authority, on behalf of USask, for oversight of management and operation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) grant, Global Water Futures (GWF): Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change. Specifically, the VPR has the responsibility to ensure that the CFREF grant achieves the vision, mission, goals, and objectives (see Appendix) as proposed in its institutional application, in accordance with USask and federal policies and procedures. Given this authority, the VPR established an academic Strategic Management Committee (SMC) to establish scientific directions, with the ad hoc support of end users. Now that the core science has been developed with user input in the first half of the GWF program, the VPR seeks advice and guidance of a formal User Advisory Panel (UAP) to assist the SMC with GWF accountabilities in the latter half of the program. The UAP will support the SMC by offering guidance on knowledge mobilisation strategies and the delivery of risk management solutions aligned with federal strategies as well as responding to provincial, industrial, and community needs.
Reporting to the GWF Director, the UAP will yield insights into the users’ science and decision support needs, provide recommendations and avenues for translating GWF’s research results into real-world impacts, and support scientific exchange with private and public sectors. In addition, the panel will provide strategic advice and be a catalyst in identifying new opportunities for sustainability of the GWF network post CFREF funding. Specifically, as a member of the UAP, individuals will:
- Provide guidance on understanding the information needs of decision-makers and policy practitioners to effectively manage water challenges in a changing climate;
- Recommend effective design, management, and delivery of user-focussed science products.
- Provide unbiased opinions and guidance on identifying research gaps in the GWF program and research projects;
- Provide guidance and expert advice in the development and assessment of mid-term and project-end review reports;
- Provide recommendations on developing and managing relationships with existing partners and stakeholders;
- Identify ways to improve collaboration between researchers, governments, and partner and user organizations;
- Identify strategic priorities, science needs, and research opportunities from the perspective of user needs; and,
- Identify information on additional program funding opportunities.
The UAP will be composed of individuals who can offer broad and insightful perspectives and are drawn from provincial/territorial and federal government agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry, and urban and rural communities. The Director and Associate Director of GWF will serve as ex-officio members and the UAP Resource Personnel will provide administrative support, including minute-taking, to the UAP.
The UAP will select a chair who will lead the Panel in addressing its responsibilities and will receive administrative support from GWF for meetings. The UAP is envisioned as having regular quarterly meetings. From time to time the SMC will refer questions to the UAP and request UAP review of and input to GWF reports to CFREF that may require additional meetings to address. The UAP will be invited to attend annual GWF Open Science Meetings and will have an opportunity to address these meetings with its findings and perspectives.
The UAP will be aided by the following personnel from the GWF Secretariat who will provide necessary expertise and assistance as required:
- Director of Operations, GWF - Phani Adapa,
- Science Manager, GWF - Chris DeBeer,
- Knowledge Mobilization Specialist, GWF - Stephanie Merrill