The RCI is Canada’s oldest scientific society. We envision a scientifically literate and well informed Canadian public which embraces science as part of its culture and decision-making contributing to civil society. We work to enhance public awareness and understanding of science and to create an environment in which science can flourish, be appreciated, and contribute to all aspects of Canadian life and society. To read more about the RCI and its history, please visit the About Us page.

  • 2017 Fall Programming

    The War on PTSD 

    Sunday September 24th,  2017 – 2pm

    J.R.R MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto

    Post Traumatic stress disorder is one of the most common and debilitating mental health conditions. This panel discussion will commence with a 45 minute documentary by Patrick Reed entitled “Beyond Trauma”, which focuses on the military and civilian struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Experts Ruth Lanius, Candice Monson, Anthony Feinstein and Ute Lawrence will discuss current research and treatment by taking a look at data on global conflicts around the world.



    The Planets, a Musical Odyssey of Evolution, Environment and Exploration

    Sunday October 29th, 2017 – 3pm

    Hart House, University of Toronto

    A century ago, Gustav Holst had 7 planets to inspire his composition, The Planets. With Earth, these were the known worlds. Holst evoked the planets’ astrological characteristics, assigned in the distant past by sky watchers trying to make sense of their world. As Holst looked back, astronomers were busy looking up with telescopes, photography and spectroscopy, collecting data, testing ideas and uncovering the true nature of the planets. In the 1960s, space travel launched a steady stream of metal ambassadors and, with them, virtual human exploration. Then, just over 20 years ago, astronomers spied the first planets orbiting other stars. The known world count has swollen since then into the thousands. Explore the mystic and the scientific in this unique presentation, in which the Hart House Orchestra plays excerpts from Holst’s The Planets, interspersed with talks about planetary science in 2017.



    Science at the South Pole

    Thursday November 2nd, 2017 – 7pm

    Mississauga Central Library

    The quest for ever-clearer views of the sky has driven astronomers to put telescopes in some pretty remote places, ranging from arid deserts, to the tops of mountains, and even the middle of Antarctica. Professor Keith Vanderlinde talks about his work with the 10m South Pole Telescope, and the science that convinced him to undertake an eleven-month “winterover” position working on-location with the telescope.



    Canada’s Engineer – A Beaver’s Tale

    Sunday, November 26, 2 PM

    J.R.R MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto

    This talk describes the use of a difficult but useful form of genome sequencing called de novo sequencing, where the genome sequence is reconstructed from scratch without the shortcuts of current methods.  De novo sequencing is particularly suited to the genomes of species that have previously not been sequenced.  To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and as a part of our effort to develop de novo sequencing for clinical use, we completed and published the first genome sequence of the Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis), the country’s iconic national symbol that was the economic engine that drove early British and French colonial expansion leading to the founding of Canada.


    Research at the Northern Edge of the Canadian Arctic

    Sunday December 3rd, 2017 – 2pm

    J.R.R MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto

    Perched on a ridge in the remote polar desert of Ellesmere Island sits an atmospheric research facility, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL). Surrounded by vast, rugged, and beautiful Arctic scenery, a small team of Canadian scientists use sophisticated instruments at PEARL to measure and investigate a wide range of atmospheric science topics. From this is strategic location, research is conducted to better understand climate change, ozone depletion chemistry, pollution transport, and the high Arctic atmosphere. This talk will highlight how PEARL contributes to research on global environmental issues and what it is like to carry out fieldwork at one of the northernmost research sites in the world.



  • A Great Appointment for Canada!

    The Royal Canadian Institute is delighted by the announcement that Ms. Julie Payette will become Canada’s next Governor General. Ms. Payette has been a very successful ambassador, bringing Canada to the world, and also bringing science to Canadians.

    As an astronaut, engineer, museum director and musician, Ms. Payette is one of our country’s strongest promoters of science and STEM. This appointment underscores our country’s commitment to the integration of science into the fabric of our culture.

    We wish Ms. Payette the very best in her now role.

    We also wish to thank His Excellency, the Right Honorable David Johnston for his 7 years of service as Governor General, and as the Honorary Patron of the Royal Canadian Institute.



  • 2017 Killam Prizes

    Congratulations to Dr. Molly Shoichet on receiving a 2017 Killam Prize. Dr. Shoichet is the 2015 Fleming Medal winner. To read more about these Canada Council awards, including the other winners, please visit:



  • NOTICE OF AGM – for RCIS Members in good standing

    2017 RCIS Annual Report is now available.

    Thank you to all who attended!

    Invitations will arrive shortly to Members of the RCIS for the 2016-17 Annual General Meeting.

    Note the change of venue for this year’s meeting.

    DATE: Thursday, May 11

    TIME: 7:30 PM

    LOCATION: The Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St (on the south side, west of St. George)
    Closest transit: Spadina Streetcar (Willcocks St stop), paid street parking is available nearby.

    At this meeting, we will:

    • Introduce the RCIS Council for 2017-18
    • Discuss the RCIS finances
    • Present proposed by-law changes
    • Discuss the future of RCIS programming

    We are delighted to welcome Mr. Jim Handman as the keynote speaker.

    This meeting is open to RCIS members in good standing. Members may register up to 1 guest.

    Please RSVP & direct inquiries to:

    Hope to see you there!

    Kirsten Vanstone
    Executive Director




    IBM Canada receives the William Edmond Logan Award. The award recognizes the organization’s outstanding contributions to the public understanding of science.

    IBM Canada Limited receives the Award in recognition its work promoting STEM among youth through programs such as its IGNITE camp and IBM STEM 4 Girls programming. The large number of students reached through these initiatives and the manner in which these programs engage IBM Staff through volunteerism is impressive. The focus on First Nations, Indigenous and Inuit youth in particular are a very important aspect of these programs.

    The RCIS Council also noted IBM Canada’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability, with its flagship “green data centre” in Barrie Ontario and also its efforts to promote diversity in STEM professions, having recently hosted at Markham headquarters the “STEM Female Millennial Conference” for women in senior secondary school. The IBM STEM 4 Girls Millennial Conference hosted students to discuss the current state of women in STEM and to give them an opportunity to network as well as learn about IBM’s latest technology.

    Like RCIS, IBM Canada has a long history in this country. Canada. Peter Love, the 114th President of the Institute said, “We are delighted to recognize another such venerable institution for its work in building public awareness of science.”

    Every day for the past 100 years, IBM has invested in growth, progress and reinvention across the nation.  IBM has an enduring commitment in Canada to meaningful progress– to finding better ways to do things that matter.

    We recognize excellence in Canadian science outreach with two awards: the Fleming Medal and the William Edmond Logan Award. William Edmond Logan was the Institute’s 3rd President and presided over the granting of its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria. He is also the namesake of Canada’s tallest mountain, Mt. Logan, and founder of the Geological Survey of Canada.

    The William Edmond Logan Award will be presented at the 12th Annual RCIS Canadian Science Dinner, on the evening of April 20, 2017 at MaRS in Toronto. This unique and exciting evening gives an opportunity to talk science with some of Canada’s top researchers and science policy experts.

  • Science in Budget 2017

    We are pleased to see science and innovation play a large role in today’s Federal Budget, including $2M for the Chief Science Advisor and Secretariat.

    “As part of her/his mandate, the Chief Science Advisor will provide advice on how to ensure that government science is open to the public, that federal scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that science is effectively communicated across government.”

    The budget also mentions specific funding for Stem Cell research, Space Exploration, Quantum Information, Social Innovation and International Research Collaboration. The National Research Council will receive nearly $60M to continue and expand the translation of scientific ideas to innovative technology. And there is also money to upgrade Federal Science infrastructure.

    STEM education received a boost with an expanded NSERC PromoScience program to fund innovative, hands-on STEM experiences to youth, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups. And 17 STEM-themed teaching awards will be created to recognize excellence in STEM teaching and promote sharing of teaching practices.

    Finally, the budget mentions a proposed Prime Minister’s Gold Medal to recognize excellence in Science.

    RCIS looks forward to learning more about this award. It is important that Canada recognize its exceptional contribution to research!


  • Winter 2017 RCITalks

    Winter 2017 Talks

    Our #RCITalks Winter 2017 programming continues, January 22nd at 2pm at the University of Toronto Medical Sciences Building. Join Dr. Richard Zemel, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto as he speaks on Interpreting the World with Machines.

    Please note this weekend’s closure of the subway from St. George to Downsview Stations may require that you find another route to our closest subway stop: Queen’s Park. Please plan accordingly.

    Information on our 2017 programming is available here.



  • RCIScience applauds the plan to appoint a Chief Science Advisor for Canada

    The Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience), Canada’s oldest public scientific society, applauds the Government of Canada for creating the position of Chief Science Advisor to the Government of Canada.

    A Science Advisor will build a bridge between Government and Canada’s scientific community to bring clarity to issues that hinge on research findings. This appointment will also work to elevate the importance of science across all levels of Canadian society.

    “Policy is not made in a vacuum. The voice of science must be heard when dealing with important issues. The decision to appoint a Science Advisor demonstrates the Federal Government’s commitment to fostering a robust science culture, which our members believe is key to building a stronger Canada,” said Peter Love, President of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience), Canada’s oldest public scientific society.

    For more than 165 years, RCIScience has worked towards building a strong science culture in Canada. A science culture features strong public engagement with science, inspires students to pursue careers in STEM, stimulates innovation and creates jobs in science and technology. People who live in a science culture can more easily make informed decisions when weighing medical treatment options or healthy food purchases. Their lives are enriched by fascinating bodies of knowledge of how the world works. We welcome the creation of the Science Advisor position as a strong step by the Government of Canada to foster a greater science culture in this country.

    Canadian scientific research is robust and has a large impact, locally and globally. RCIScience strongly believes that bringing a scientific perspective to decision-making is vital to building a strong Canada. This idea was central to Sir Sandford Fleming when he and his colleagues formed the Institute in 1849: a forum for the exchange of scientific ideas that would “do great good to my adopted country.” This appointment represents a great step towards that goal.

    The RCIS is a platform for public engagement with leading scientists. Through public lectures and webcasts, we expand science dialogue and promote informed decision making in our communities. Founded in 1849, the RCIS is among the oldest societies of any kind in Canada and its longest-running scientific organization. It has a long tradition as an independent, not-for-profit organization, a credible source of scientific information, helping the public understand the vital role that science plays in our lives.

    The official posting can be found here.


  • RCIScience celebrates the 2016 Friesen Prize winner in Ottawa

    Celebration Dinner for 2016 Friesen Prize in Ottawa.

    RCIScience celebrated Dr. Janet Rossant and her 2016 Friesen Prize. Dr. Rossant gave a public talk in Ottawa, followed by a discussion of how to best support Early Career Researchers with RCIScience, Friends of CIHR and the Banting Research Foundation at the Canadian Science Policy Conference.
    The transcript of these discussions will be made available in the New Year.
    Left-right: Paul Kennedy, Peter Love, Minister Reza Moridi, Helle Tosine and Aubie Angel.


  • Fleming Medal Ceremony – November 15th

    2016 Fleming Medal and Citation

    Join us for an evening celebrating excellence in science communication as we honour Ivan Semeniuk for his outstanding contributions to the public understanding of science.

    Ivan will give a talk after the medal presentation:

    A Canary in the Cathedral

    Globe and Mail reporter Ivan Semeniuk reveals his favourite stories as a science communicator, broadcaster and journalist and considers the future of the profession in Canada.

    Reception to follow.

    Location: Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W
    Time: Ceremony begins 7:30 PM, doors open 7 PM

    Free and open to all.