Amid rapid scientific and technological change and increasing complexity, there is growing concern about the ability of governments to conduct scientific research, absorb the findings of outside research, and incorporate this new knowledge in the development of legislation, policy and regulation.  To shed some light on some of the challenges facing government, the IRPP and the Canadian Academy of Engineering collaborated on a series of round tables that were held across Canada in 2015. The articles in this special feature are part of this collaboration, which also produced this report of recommendations.