Cafe X

Café X will bring together faculty, staff, students and the broader community, to cultivate and develop “blue sky” thinking about topical issues and leading edge ideas. Invited speakers will share experiences in exciting innovative areas that will spark discussion, provoke debate and elicit thoughtful ideas.

Featuring ...

Robert Walker

Robert Walker (M.Eng '75, Ph.D. '77 EngPhys & D.Sc. 2013)
Past President, Atomic Energy Canada Limited

"Thoughts on the Science-Policy Interface in a Complex World"

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
3:30 - 4:30 pm

McMaster University
Engineering Technology Building, Room 535

Free admission, however seating is limited. Registration required.

Register here »

Café X will be open for business for one hour, starting with a presentation, followed by questions and answers. Refreshments will be available at the start and conclusion of the event.


We live in an increasingly complex world. Our world that has become highly interconnected through globalization. Yet at the same time, it has many fracture lines: ideology, culture, values, wealth. Social media has created new and powerful means for citizen conversations. Against this backdrop, today’s policy makers face many challenges. Science plays a particular role in helping bring fact-based evidence to policy makers. However, just as policy makers are needing to adapt to new realities, so must the science community in order to have effective voice. Bob Walker will share some of his experiences and perspectives on today’s science-policy interface and how the science community could help it be more effective. 

About Robert Walker:

Dr. Robert Walker was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Limited (CNL) effective November 3, 2014. CNL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown Corporation.  Dr. Walker retired from CNL in September 2015.

Concurrent to his position at CNL, Dr. Walker also served as AECL’s President and Chief Executive Officer from October 7, 2011 to March 31, 2015. Dr. Walker joined AECL in November 2010 as the Senior Vice-President of AECL’s Nuclear Laboratories division.

Prior to joining AECL, Dr. Walker was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Science and Technology at the Department of National Defence and the Chief Executive Officer of Defence Research and Development Canada. He was also the Federal Government’s executive responsible for coordinating its public safety science and technology activities.

For the period April 2009 to 2012, Dr. Walker served as the Chairman of the NATO Research and Technology Board, the senior oversight body for cooperative research within the NATO framework. He is presently the Chair of the Board for the Network of Centers of Excellence in Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR), hosted by Dalhousie University. Dr. Walker is a Director on the Board of the Canadian Defence Association Institute and the Chair of the Board for the Pembroke Boys and Girls Club.

Dr. Walker earned a B.Sc. in Physics from Acadia University, an M. Eng. in Engineering Physics and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University. In 2013, McMaster University awarded Dr. Walker with an honorary Doctor of Science degree and in 2015 the Royal Military College of Canada awarded him with an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. He is a graduate of the National Defence College and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Dr. Walker is a recipient of the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service and the Canadian Nuclear Association’s 2015 Ian McRae Merit Award.

For event information, please contact Terry Milson,, 905-525-9140, ext. 27391.