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.”

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