Since the pandemic, we have had to redirect our efforts to the most essential and crucial activities to be of service to our research community. We know the importance of scientific research and innovation, but during this pandemic scientific research has become part of our daily public conversations. This is reassuring and consolidates a mutually beneficial relationship between science and society.
Our Faculty is immersed in the essential sectors of Agriculture and Agri-food, where we strive to provide, more than ever, solutions and technologies for sustainable production of foods and efficient management of our environmental resources to ensure the protection and improvement of the health and well-being of our population. Our priorities affirm our engagement in fundamental and applied research as we contribute to the development of a realistic vision, responding to local and global challenges, including climate change, environmental pressures, food security, nutrition prevention and worldwide health.We are witnesses to the accelerated effect of the changes wrought by this pandemic; the need to innovate has never been this great and our flexibility in adapting to the situation continues to be key.
The resumption of essential research activities on our campus has been progressive, conforming strictly to government safety and sanitary guidelines. The health and safety of our community is our highest priority. Our institution’s determined engagement in support of our researchers and students has permitted activities to resume in a safe manner that also conforms to the high quality of research for which the University is renowned. In this constrained setting, my fellow researchers have responded in a remarkable effort of solidarity to resume essential research activities. Their proactive contributions, flexibility in adapting to changing circumstances, and their agile uptake of new practices affirms their great devotion to our campus community and McGill University.
Our Faculty Research Office, for which I am responsible, works directly with McGill’s Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), contributing to the outcomes and flourishing of research at our own Macdonald Campus. Our office continues to provide support for our researchers from the inception of their projects, accompanying personnel at each phase through to the establishment of research project activity. All of this is done via frequent virtual meetings as well as online information sessions. In addition, this process continues to play a role at the interface between our Faculty and our diverse academic, institutional and industrial partners.
One of the advantages of our virtual tools is how easy it is to include the active participation of many partners in various locations. These interactions and the outcomes of all our research activities are a source of inspiration and comfort to me, as I am certain they are for our whole community. I consider it a privilege to be part of this strong community, to be able to contribute to my Faculty and McGill University. I am pleased to continue to work with my colleagues, our partners and our community in the largest sense.