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The ISC’s Centre for Science Futures secures a million-dollar grant to explore the impacts of AI on science in the Global South 

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada will be supporting the Centre for Science Futures, the ISC's think tank, with a grant of over one million dollars to explore the impacts of AI on science systems in the Global South.

Rapid developments in AI and other technologies are fuelling transformations in the practice and organization of science worldwide, threatening to exacerbate existing inequalities. A major grant from the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC-CRDI) to the ISC’s Centre for Science Futures is dedicated to improving our understanding of the issue and to advance the capacity of STI actors in the Global South to embrace these changes and thrive in the next decade and beyond.

The three-year grant of over one million Canadian dollars will serve to develop first-hand knowledge on transformations of STI systems propelled by AI and other new technologies, and to explore with key science organizations, particularly in the Global South, how to enhance their visibility, build strong coalitions and take advantage of technological advancements. 

“IDRC is delighted to partner with the ISC’s Centre for Science Futures. We value the Centre’s work to better understand emerging trends in science and research systems globally. This partnership will be of immediate relevance to scientific institutions such as granting councils and help them emerge as leaders in using new technologies for the benefit of stronger science systems.”

Matthew Wallace, Senior Programme Specialist at IDRC

The grant confirms the ISC’s commitment to understanding and leveraging AI in science, particularly in underrepresented regions: 

“As the ISC Board embarks on developing the organization’s next strategic plan, the questions around the impacts of new technologies, such as AI, stand prominently on our agenda. This timely generous contribution from the IDRC will allow us to explore the issue in depth and offer support and advice to the global scientific community that is navigating a quickly evolving landscape of challenges and opportunities.”

Motoko Kotani, ISC Vice-President, Science and Society

“Ultimately, we want to ensure that AI works for the improvement of science worldwide. We are already working with 20 countries to understand current and future roadmaps for the uptake of AI by their research ecosystems. The partnership with IDRC will allow us to continue and build on this work in the coming years.”

Mathieu Denis, Head of ISC’s Centre for Science Futures. 

Further details of this initiative, including its scope and ways to get involved, will be released in the coming months. 

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The IDRC was established in 1970 with a mandate “to initiate, encourage, support, and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions.” The IDRC champions and funds research and innovation as part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts. 

The ISC established its Centre for Science Futures to improve our understanding of emerging trends in science and research systems, and to provide options and tools for appropriate action. 

Picture by Mimi Thian on Unsplash.

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