Young scientists face too many funding obstacles

Read an Opinion by Mark Lautens in The Globe and Mail: Young scientists face too many funding obstacles. 

Mark Lautens is the J.B. Jones distinguished professor at the University of Toronto.


The most important outcome of scientific research isn’t patents or products. It’s people who can think and solve our toughest problems. 

Meanwhile, the metrics are clear. Canada is losing ground in science relative to peer nations. If we want to educate brilliant young people who will move this country forward, we need to give them environments where they can learn to solve hard problems – in basic science and, yes, a range of other disciplines. That can only happen if the government of Canada makes a major investment in basic research in general, and supports our most promising younger researchers and our trainees in particular.

We simply cannot succeed as a society if we are constantly paying a premium for knowledge-based products and services created in other countries.

MacLean’s: To help foundations help Canada, our fundamental research system must improve

Leaders of high-profile family foundations across Canada on the need for world-class research, for their work and for future businesses
In this article, signed by Naomi Azrieli, Sandra Bouchard, Arthur Irving, Rosamond Ivey, Mark Krembil, Jacquie Labatt, Larry Tanenbaum, Lorne Trottier, and Peter Webster, leaders of some of Canada’s most important foundations highlight the importance for all Canadians of support for fundamental research.

…we believe that supporting fundamental research at higher funding levels and in better-coordinated ways is vital for Canadian prosperity. We cannot know what economic sectors and technological specialties will drive the national and global economy in decades ahead. However, we do know that other countries are investing vigorously in their research systems, with emerging economies challenging more established ones for leadership. Only by ensuring a truly world-class cadre of talented researchers and research facilities in Canada can we expect to keep up with the global competition and lead the way to the basic and applied research of the future.

Read the full article in MacLean’s:

The Conversation: Canada must make science great again

Read an article in The Conversation by Toby Brown, Post Doctorate Fellow in Astrophysics at McMaster University, arguing that Canada must make science great again:

In the absence of American political leadership on science, Canada must take up the mantle.
[…] Good science depends strongly on a continuous flow of people — and importantly, their ideas — across borders. Canada aspires to be at the very forefront of cutting-edge research and is therefore in a highly competitive global market for the very best talent. If it can demonstrate that the liberal and progressive values underpinning its society are fundamentally aligned with high quality science, Canada will prosper.

Read the full article in The Conversation:

NDP launches petition: Let’s stand up for Canadian Science

Kennedy Stewart, NDP critic for Science, has launched a petition on his website, stating:

The Government of Canada needs to implement all 35 Naylor Report recommendations including: creating a new National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation and increasing base-level spending for core funding agencies from $3.5-billion to $4.8-billion per year.

Visit his website to view the petition:

Nobel Prize-winning chemist John Polanyi supports the report -University of Toronto video

“You can’t tell people what to discover.” #UofT Nobel Prize-winning chemist John Polanyi tells why it is vital to #SupportTheReport.

The government funding I’ve had throughout my career has been absolutely vital.

You can’t tell somebody what to discover, if they knew it wouldn’t be discovery. So, give them freedom to follow the contours of the land…

Watch this short interview here

Researchers’ Response to Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

Researchers’ Summit Meeting Summary Report now published! Read the report from the Researchers’ summit meeting.

Hosted by: Mount Sinai Hospital Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research & Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute Ryerson University Dr. Imogen R. Coe, Dean, Faculty of Science Canadian Science Policy Centre Mehrdad Hariri, President & CEO

May 31, 2017, Toronto Researchers’ Summit Meeting 

Report available here:


” Fundamental Science and Innovation: A Productive Partnership “ Nobel laureate Arthur McDonald at the Canadian Club Sept 28, 2017

Listen to a great talk by Arthur McDonald at the Canadian Club from September 28th about research, but also in a large part about the Fundamental Science Review, which he took part in:

If you do not have a robust fundamental science base, then you are not going to have successful innovation

Listen to Dr. McDonald explain why he supports the report (starting at about 24 min in the conference)

Science in Canada needs funding, not photo-ops | Andrew Craig in The Conversation

Professor Andrew Craig of Queen’s University published an excellent article in The Conversation Canada explaining why the government needs to #supportthereport now. The Conversation Canada is an independent and non-profit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. 


…there has been no evidence that the science minister or the prime minister will provide the budget support needed to enact the report’s recommendations.

Now at the midpoint of its mandate, the Trudeau government is attempting to traverse an ever-widening gap between the government’s messaging on science and its actions. Due to inaction, they have effectively reduced available funding for federal research in open competitions where the research topics are not constrained or dependent on industry partnerships.

Serious implications

Why should the public be concerned? The loss of investigator-initiated grants means that we are currently limiting the support for new fundamental discoveries that cannot be predicted by well-intentioned government or granting council executives.

Further, these discoveries are often not translated into new treatments or devices immediately. The late Tony Pawson, who made seminal discoveries during his biomedical research career in Canada, had an important message for all governments when accepting the prestigious Kyoto Prize in Japan in 2008: “Governments increasingly want to see immediate returns on the research that they support, but it is worth viewing basic science as a long-term investment that will yield completely unexpected dividends for humanity in the future.”

Read the full article in The Conversation here: