Research Canada Welcomes Fall Economic Update Commitment to a More Skilled and Innovative Canada, but where’s the Research Investment?

Read Research Canada’s latest release:

Ottawa, October 25, 2017— Minister Bill Morneau’s Fall Economic Update presented to Parliament yesterday committed the government to a fiscal agenda in support of a more skilled and innovative nation through investments in the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, the Strategic Innovation Fund and a Pan Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Missing, however; was recognition of the vital importance of fundamental science, which underpins innovation, educates innovators and is a path to new technologies, new businesses, new jobs and new value creation for Canada.

“Research Canada applauds the Government of Canada in taking definitive steps in support of innovation and equipping Canadians with the skills they need to succeed in a knowledge-based economy,” says Dr. Robert McMaster, Chair of Research Canada and Vice President of Research at Vancouver Coastal Health. “The government’s efforts will be stifled, however, if investment in publicly-funded research stagnates in the 2018 Budget. Canada’s innovation engine requires enhanced public support of its primary fuel — basic science research — in order to attract and spur further investment and development by the private sector.”

“We call on the federal government to implement the recommendations detailed in Canada’s Fundamental Science Review including multi-year investments for renewal of fundamental science in Canada,” says Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada. “In particular, Research Canada fully supports the Report’s recommendation of an increased investment of $485 million over four years to fund investigator-led research.”

Read the full release on the Health Research Innovation Portal



New poll shows university research matters to Canadians

View a new poll published by Universities Canada.

Survey findings include:

  • 92 per cent of Canadians support increasing university research funding to comparable levels with our global competitors.
  • 94 per cent support investing in international university research collaboration to tackle global challenges.
  • 94 per cent support attracting the world’s best researchers to Canadian universities to expose our students to world leading research.
  • 92 per cent believe Canada must support young, talented and diverse researchers in order to retain top Canadian talent.

View the full report here

New polling data shows Canadians value research for Canada’s future


FINA Pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2018 budget – Canada’s standing committee on finance is coming to Eastern Canada

The House Finance Committee is travelling in Eastern Canada this week for public hearings.
We invite you to participate in these consultations to promote the implementation of the Naylor report.  You can sign-up to participate in open mic sessions as described in this news release:
These are the last dates to get your voice heard by the committee:

16 October: St. John’s, Newfoundland

17 October: Halifax, Nova Scotia

18 October: Montreal, Quebec

19 October: Windsor, Ontario

20 October: Toronto, Ontario.

A consistent message across all sites is important, and should follow from the Naylor report.  Three important points to highlight are

  1. Canada used to be a world-leader in supporting investigator-driven research, expending 2% of GDP in 2003 (90% of OECD average).  After over a decade of repeated cuts, we now spend 1.7% (<80% of OECD average). This puts us behind countries like Germany, US, Israel, Switzerland, Korea,  but also Slovenia, Taiwan, Iceland). source:
  2. This investment will train the next generation in STEM so Canada can lead in the emerging knowledge economy
  3. Discovery based science is the foundation for new treatments for disease, potential cures and a better life for Canadians

Wondering how researchers should engage politicians? Quebec’s Chief Scientists, Rémi Quirion has some advice:

10 tips for making researchers’ voices heard by politicians



Participate in the #support4research campaign October 16-20 2017

Research Canada is launching a social media campaign on Twitter the week of October 16-20, 2017 to promote increased investments in Canadian health research. It is called the #Support4Research Campaign.

It is important for us to get this message out as soon as possible (on Twitter the week of October 16-20, 2017) to influence the 2018 budget process.


View these documents from Research Canada


Suzanne Fortier, Sophie D’Amours and Guy Breton support the report

Read an opinion piece by the Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University, Sophie D’Amours, rector of Université Laval and Guy Breton, rector of Université de Montréal, published recently in The Gazette:


…there’s never been a better time than now for Canada to become a world leader in science. The fact that our country has been relatively spared the political upheavals happening in the United States and Europe puts us in an excellent position to attract and retain the best researchers.

Our government has to act now. By increasing its support for researchers, it can give momentum to the entire country, to the lasting benefit all Canadians. We are convinced that with all the talent in our universities, the government’s efforts will soon bear fruit.

Read the full article here:

Opinion: It's time for Canada to reinvest in university research

The Gazette: Opinion: A boost to federal medical research funding is essential

Read a recent opinion piece published in the Montreal Gazette by William D. Fraser, MD, is scientific director of the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke. This article is co-signed by the scientific directors of the other FRQ-S research centres.

The Naylor Report, released earlier this year by the expert panel charged with reviewing the federal government’s support of fundamental science, points out that Canada is no longer among the top 30 nations in terms of investment in research. The report mentions that research and development spending in Canada has been on the decline for several years, representing just 1.69 per cent of the country’s gross national product in 2013 (the most recent data), compared to an average of 2.37 per cent in OECD countries. It emphasizes that the three federal granting agencies are severely underfunded, and strongly recommends a major federal reinvestment in health research.

It is our wish that the recommendations of this report be implemented immediately, to bring about beneficial, effective and sustainable change for the research of today and tomorrow. The resulting synergy between federal and provincial governments will enhance our research capacity, train tomorrow’s scientists, and provide tangible support for the development of a true knowledge society, for the greater benefit of all Canadians.

Read the full article here:

Opinion: A boost to federal medical research funding is essential


Innovative science research in Canada is dying a silent death

Why should Canadians care about fundamental research funding? Kelly Marshall McNagny, a professor of medical genetics and the co-director of the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, provides this example:

It’s a question that affects Canadians, even if they may not feel that way. Let’s imagine, say, that a parent takes a child with extreme intestinal pain to the doctor. The child meets the medical dictionary’s description of feeling like he is trying to pass broken glass. The doctor’s diagnosis is Crohn’s disease, an increasingly common illness for which there are few effective treatments other than repeated painful surgeries. The parent experiences an all-too-common outrage: How, in this day and age, can there be no cure for this disease?

This is precisely what funding for basic research from the CIHR is designed to address. A huge reason we, today, live much longer and healthier lives than our parents and grandparents is due to a federal investment decades ago in discovering effective and innovative treatments and cures for a variety of diseases that plagued our ancestors.

Read the full story in MacLean’s

Innovative science research in Canada is dying a silent death
Opinion: Federal science funding continues to be cut, shuttering labs and slowing innovation. And Canadians should be mad.
Kelly Marshall McNagny
August 9, 2017


University Affairs: Federal government getting pressed on many sides to adopt Naylor report

Support for the report is unanimous amongst researchers, university administrators, students and student groups:

Researchers, university administrators, students and science groups across the country have wholeheartedly endorsed the report and are working together in an unprecedented joint effort to ensure the government does not ignore the report’s recommendations.

Read the full story in University Affairs here:

Federal government getting pressed on many sides to adopt Naylor report