Canada is emerging from a decade in which our government systematically dismantled the research capacity of our nation. Now researchers in Canada are uniting around a positive and ambitious vision for the future of fundamental science research in our country. We need your help getting politicians on board to make this vision a reality.
Science impacts all Canadians. Science and knowledge generation play a crucial role in protecting our health, safety, environment and high standard of living. We all benefit in immeasurable ways from advancing our understanding of the world around us.
A recent report spearheaded by Dr. David Naylor shows that Canada is falling behind other countries when it comes to fundamental research and development. Government funding for research has steadily declined over the past 15 years and Canada is no longer in the top 30 countries for research spending (relative to GDP).
The problems extend beyond funding. For example, persistent gender disparities exist at many levels and the four funding agencies (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, CFI) are working in a largely uncoordinated fashion. This means that Canadian research isn’t reaching its potential.
The good news is that the Naylor report lays out a comprehensive set of recommendations presenting a bold vision for the future of science in Canada. Some highlights of the recommendations include:
- Create a new National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation to provide broad oversight of the federal research and innovation ecosystem along with increasing coordination and accountability of the funding councils (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC and CFI).
- Increase government investment by $485 million for investigator-led research to address the imbalance caused by governments favouring priority-driven targeted research over the past decade.
- Consider hard equity targets and quotas to address the significant gender inequality at nearly all stages of the research pipeline.
- Increase support for early career researchers and publicly report on the progress.
- Develop a comprehensive strategic plan to support Indigenous-led research, with the goal of enhancing research by and with Indigenous researchers and communities.
For the first time in decades, we have a positive and ambitious roadmap for how to create a strong, thriving and accountable research sector in Canada. Implementing all of the recommendations in the Naylor report could establish Canada as an international leader in science. The $1.3 billion boost in research funding (0.4% of the annual federal budget) would support highly qualified staff and students, train the next generation of innovators, grow our economy and lead to discoveries that will make the daily lives of Canadians better.
But we need to act now to make sure this report doesn’t just sit on a shelf. We need to show Cabinet and our Members of Parliament that Canadians care about science and want them to implement all the recommendations made in the Fundamental Science Review Panel report.
Scientific breakthroughs don’t happen overnight, and neither will rebuilding Canada’s science capacity. Implementing the full recommendations from the Fundamental Science Review report will go a long way to get science in Canada back on track.
Send a message to your MP now.
Already sent a message to your MP and looking to do more? Here are 3 more ways you can take action: