Government of Canada supports University of Saskatchewan’s “Women in STEM” speaker series featuring astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar

Federal government investment to help increase women’s role in STEM

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related jobs are essential to expanding an innovation economy and participation of women, both at educational institutions and in the workforce. 

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced a $30,000 investment to support two “Women In STEM” speaking events through the Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy (CSIP) at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS).

The latest Women in Science (WinS) Speaker Series features Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut and the world’s first neurologist in space. This CSIP-led initiative encourages women and other underrepresented groups to participate in STEM fields at all stages of education and career development. Dr. Bondar’s talk will take place on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Convocation Hall at the University of Saskatchewan. This event is presented in collaboration with the university’s Whelen Lecture.

Dr. Bondar’s lecture is taking place as Canada launches Exploration, Imagination, Innovation: A New Space Strategy for Canada. The strategy aims to leverage Canadian STEM strengths in areas like robotics, artificial intelligence and biomedical technologies. It includes participation in the Lunar Gateway project to build a space station in orbit around the moon.


“Building a strong and innovative Canadian economy includes encouraging diverse groups, including young women, to pursue interests and careers in STEM fields. As Canada also embarks on a new space strategy that includes going to the moon, it is crucial that all Canadians have opportunities to participate in the future economy on Earth and beyond.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“To be the university the world needs, the University of Saskatchewan is committed to a culture of inclusion and collaborative innovation across our diverse community, with particular focus on women and Indigenous peoples in underrepresented STEM fields. Through this seminar series and by highlighting the success of outstanding female role models, our students will be inspired to pursue research and STEM careers.”

Karen Chad, Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan

“CSIP’s Women in Science (WinS) Speaker Series showcases the real contributions made by female scientists in Canada and the outstanding impact these women are having on policy development, national dialogue, economic growth and prosperity. Through these forums, we can inspire the next generation of female innovators and leaders, increase awareness of cultural biases and barriers, and profile career opportunities to increase the representation of women in STEM fields.”

Peggy Schmeiser, WinS Project Leader and Associate Director, Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan 

Quick facts

  • The University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan jointly established the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School (JSGS) of Public Policy in 2007, a leading policy school for graduate students and public servants.
  • The Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy was founded at JSGS to bridge the divide between science and innovation, and related policy and governance considerations.
  • Less than 30 per cent of those in STEM-related occupations in Saskatchewan are women (2016 Census).
  • On February 28, 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $1.9 billion over 24 years for the next generation of smart, AI-powered space robotics for the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway.
  • On March 6, 2019, the Government of Canada announced a new Space Strategy that describes how Canada’s space industry will be positioned to take full advantage of the growing global space economy and support innovative Canadian space firms.

Associated links


Rhonda Laing
Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Erica Schindel
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan