A workshop on university earth science research was held in Ottawa, January1981. The meeting, partly sponsored by NSERC was attended by about 100 earth scientists.
Perhaps the most impressive result of the workshop was the spirit of cooperation of the participants and the expression of concerns that if we are to improve our science on the national and international scenes, then we must coordinate efforts as far as possible and as rapidly as possible. There is a great need for increased funding levels in the science but a widely held view was that this maybe achieved best by establishing some large projects (mega-projects) which will integrate efforts from a large spectrum of members of our community and which will lead to "state of the art" conclusions on problems of vital concern to our science and to national objectives in mineral resources. Examples of the types of projects considered were three dimensional studies of the crust (lithoprobe), sedimentary basins and continental margins.
It was recognized that universities cannot do the job alone but there should be a coordinated effort from government, industry and the universities. But universities have a unique role to play in that a large population of intelligent young people are available to work on new thrusts and be trained in exciting science. Universities also have wide ranging facilities which can be turned to such mega-projects. The general feeling of the participants was that project selection and fund raising should be coordinated through the Geoscience Council of Canada with each group doing those parts of the projects for which they were uniquely suited.
Other important conclusions of the workshop were that there is need for increased effort in mineral resources, research in the North and environmental studies. Concern was expressed over the small number of the new senior research fellowships being awarded in our science. It was also agreed that Canada should and must take part in international research in drilling in the ocean margins and that there is urgent need to review the status of present and future research involving Canadian ships for marine research.
Finally Fyfe notes the large degree of agreement on areas of concern which resulted from the St. Jovite meeting of EMR and the report of the Canadian Committee for the Dynamics and Evolution of the Lithosphere which appear in this volume.