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Genomics in society


At the heart of Genome Canada’s initiatives and impact is a commitment to:

  • Fostering the responsible, ethical, equitable and effective development, uptake and implementation of genomics research and innovation.
  • Supporting evidence-based policy and decision making. 
  • Building trust and understanding of genomics. 

Since our inception, Genome Canada has been a world leader in the field of GE3LS research (genomics and its ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social aspects). Today, we continue to embed a GE3LS research component and genomics in society strategy in all our challenge-driven initiatives. Genome Canada invests in large-scale GE3LS  research projects investigating critical questions at the intersection of genomics and society, and to inform our understanding of the potential impacts of scientific advances in genomics, strengthen research impact and bridge gaps between genomics researchers and other stakeholders. 

We also support GE3LS  research integrated in large-scale genomics projects, which must address key factors that will impact the advancement and application of the project’s genomics research. In these projects, the integrated GE3LS research questions must be aligned with, and complementary to, the overall project goals. GE3LS research is essential to helping us identify inequalities in access to, and benefit from, genomic solutions. It also helps us strengthen collaboration with communities and co-create genomic solutions with diverse sources of knowledge. An important example of this is collaboration with Indigenous communities who have been environmental stewards since time immemorial.

Through strategic partnerships with organizations like the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), we support social sciences and humanities research and related activities to enrich the understanding of the societal implications of genomic research in Genome Canada.

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We engage in a broad range of activities to promote the role of genomics in Canadian public policy and support evidence-based policy- and decision-making. Through high-profile platforms with significant reach into public policy, business and researcher audiences, we engage in federal policy dialogue to inform and shape policy and regulations affecting societal uptake of genomics. Likewise, six Genome Centres across the country facilitate vital policy dialogue at the regional level through their connections with provincial counterparts and ensure a pan-Canadian perspective on policy and regulatory issues under consideration at the federal level.

We enable evidence-based policy and decision-making using research insights and data generated through our funded projects and challenge-driven genomics initiatives. Genome Canada funded GE³LS researchers also provide critical expertise to public policy and decision makers through parliamentary committees and other forums.

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Genome Canada Leader's Dialogue on the Future of Genomics in Canada

Community and end-user engagement

Translating genomics research and innovation into effective solutions requires strong engagement with communities and the people and institutions using genomic technologies. By collaborating with communities and end-users, and co-creating genomic solutions with them, we are working to ensure those solutions are applied equitably and respond to real-world needs. The expertise and perspectives of these diverse stakeholders shape our initiatives and drive our impact.

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Genomics literacy and awareness

We promote genomics literacy and awareness in Canada through traditional and social media, events and strategic partnerships. The Genome Centres also excel at mobilizing genomics knowledge across Canada through high school and citizen science partnerships, high-profile public genomics conferences and multimedia digital efforts to reach new and younger audiences.