Reactions to budget 2018

Read Bill Morneau’s budget speech here:

Yvan’s Semeniuk’s always relevant take:

In actual dollars, the increase remains a far cry from the $1.3-billion a year that the Naylor report said is needed to bring Canada’s research machine up to global standards. Anyone hoping for a bolder, more transformational move from Mr. Morneau was bound to come away disappointed. But the budget provides a 25-per-cent increase in the category of basic research, which is technically Ottawa’s biggest ever and enough for Mr. Morneau to claim a historic investment in research that is “on brand” for a government that wants to be seen as pro-science.

“There are gaps, but they’ve listened carefully and I have a high degree of confidence that in the years ahead we can talk to them about what else would help,” said Dr. Naylor.

in Nature:

On the right track

The budget doesn’t provide the huge boost of more than Can$1 billion per year for the granting councils that Naylor’s report recommended. But it sets the right trajectory and shows that the government listened to scientists and took Naylor’s review seriously, says Jim Woodgett, director of research at the University of Toronto’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. “It falls short but it doesn’t preclude adding to it going forward,” he says. “Scientists should be sleeping well tonight in Canada.”

#SupportTheReport became a rallying cry on social media as many scientists mobilised around the country, organising meetings to drum up support for the report’s message, with a special focus on its funding recommendations. Biomedical and health scientists have been particularly vocal because the squeeze on funding for field-initiated proposals has resulted in steeply declining success rates among investigators reliant on the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

Sarah Turnbull in

The federal government is committing $6.6 billion to foster innovation and science, with $4 billion going to innovation and $2.6 billion going to science. And at the same time, Canada’s venerable National Research Council will get a major makeover.

In this commitment, unconstrained, fundamental research — conducted by Canada’s Granting Councils — will receive $1.2 billion, the largest ever injection of cash in Canadian history.


Re-investing in research: Budget 2018 makes a massive commitment

En français:

Budget Morneau: investissements importants dans la recherche fondamentale

Tell the Canadian Government: Science Matters – CAUT campaign

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has launched a campaign to #SupportTheReport.  View the Campaign and sign the petition today:


For nearly a decade, Canada under-invested in fundamental science. We failed to keep pace with other countries in supporting our research community. Now, the Liberal government has a unique opportunity to reinvest in scientific research. With increased funding, researchers will be able to ask bold questions and seek the knowledge we need to enhance the quality of life for all Canadians.  



Budget 2018: a litmus test for the future of Canadian research

Read an opinion piece by David Naylor, Jeremy Kerr and Julia Baum published in the Hill Times:

Budget 2018: a litmus test for the future of Canadian research

Restoring Canada’s international prominence in research will take several years of steadily increasing investment, ongoing improvements in governance, and steadfast leadership by the Government of Canada. But the rebuilding process must start now with the 2018 budget. The
success of Canada’s young researchers—vital to our country’s future prosperity—depends upon it.

Read the full article here (PDF):

McGill University launches #supportthereport webpage

McGill University has just launched a #SupportTheReport webpage: 

McGill’s Efforts to Support the Naylor Report

McGill’s students and researchers are working together to #supportthereport. We hope you will join the McGill community in boldly imagining what Canadian researchers can achieve with the support they need to fuel new discoveries and the innovations of tomorrow.

You can get involved.

 Amongst the resources on this page, view a video by Martha Crago – Explaining what is fundamental research, and why should we care.

Natalie Zemon Davis on the importance of curiosity in humanities research

The best research starts with curiosity

From University of Toronto News:

Zemon Davis has joined a chorus of experts, including Nobel Prize-winning chemist John Polanyi, urging the Canadian government to move on the recommendations of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review. A panel, chaired by U of T President Emeritus Dr. David Naylor, calls for a $1.3-billion boost in funding for university-based research over four years – an increase they say amounts to only 0.4 per cent of the government’s annual budget.

“The panel recommends the support of work that is not necessarily able to be commercialized right away or right away translated into something practical,” Zemon Davis says. “It recommends the support of the work of young people who might be overlooked in the quest for number of publications. It supports the work of Indigenous people and especially the life and past of Indigenous people in Canada. These are marvelous ideas.”

Ivan Semeniuk: Sensing a moment, Canadian scientists swing for the fences

Globe and Mail Science Journalist Ivan Semeniuk published : Sensing a moment, Canadian scientists swing for the fences.

“Scientists are making a historic pitch to revitalize basic research in Canada and the federal government is listening.”


Researchers say they are encouraged by the dialogue but anxious to see whether it will translate into a flow of dollars to research labs. Currently, the federal government invests about $3.5-billion a year in academic research, primarily through three granting councils for health, social and natural (meaning physical and non-medical biological) sciences and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The Naylor panel would see that base level of funding rise to $4.8-billion, phased in over four years, an increase that the report stresses amounts to only 0.4 per cent of the government’s annual budget.

Dr. Naylor, who met with Mr. Morneau earlier on Friday, said that he and the minister “had a good exchange of views about what might and might not have an optimum impact on Budget 2018.”

But the research community must continue speaking with one voice and maintaining pressure on the government in order to achieve meaningful gains for Canadian science in the new year, he said, adding, “As my Twitter alter-ego, Oscar the border collie, sometimes says, we need to keep barking.”

Read the full article here: