Canadian Space Agency announces Western’s Sarah Gallagher as its first Science Advisor

Longueuil, Quebec – The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening science in its decision-making, supporting the vital work done by Canadian researchers and ensuring that government science is fully available to the public.

In keeping with these national priorities, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today announced Sarah Gallagher of Western University as the first Science Advisor to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

“I am delighted that Dr. Sarah Gallagher has accepted to become the Canadian Space Agency’s first Science Advisor. Her advice will help us shape the future of space science in Canada and ensure our investments effectively support the Canadian space industry and its workers across the country,” says Bains.

The CSA’s mandate is to advance the knowledge of space through science, and ensure that space research benefits Canadians. Space science exemplifies innovation and requires research in countless scientific fields, such as astronomy, health, robotics, artificial intelligence, climate change and the environment.

“Our government understands how critical science is to evidence-based decision-making, innovation and a strong economy. That is why we are committed to strengthening science in Canada and why I am so pleased to see Canada’s Chief Science Advisor delivering on her commitment to establish a network of departmental advisors across government. Congratulations to Dr. Gallagher on her new appointment: as Science Advisor to the Canadian Space Agency, she has an important role to play in advancing our knowledge of space and inspiring the next generation,” says The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport.

Gallagher will report directly to the CSA’s President, Sylvain Laporte, to shape Canada’s future direction in space science and champion Canadian space research. During her two-year mandate, she will work closely with the Government’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, to support the integrity, openness and the impact of science in government. Dr. Gallagher will also help promote space science and its relevance to our daily lives by engaging with Canadians and inspiring our next generation of space scientists.

“I am excited by this new opportunity to work with the Canadian Space Agency and the Chief Science Advisor to maintain Canada’s excellence and leadership in space science. I look forward to connecting with researchers and engineers across Canada who lead Canada’s future space missions and advance understanding of our planet and the universe we inhabit,” says Gallagher, an Associate Professor in Western’s Department of Physics & Astronomy.

Gallagher holds a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on supermassive black holes at the centres of distant galaxies.

In 2017-18, 1,638 research team members (students, professors and technicians) were involved in CSA-funded projects, while the CSA’s investments resulted in 783 scientific publications and 1,307 presentations.

“Establishing a network of departmental science advisors is an important step in strengthening science advice within government. I have strongly suggested the creation of a network of departmental advisors to share our respective scientific expertise and enhance communication and collaboration across scientific fields and sectors. I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Gallagher, a renowned physicist, as the first member of this growing network, and I very much look forward to working with her and our future advisor colleagues,” says Nemer.


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Sarah Gallagher