However, science and innovation are still recovering from neglect and funding cuts. Our scientific research capacity, the fundamental tool we use to make wise decisions to ensure our continued health and prosperity, is lagging behind our peers internationally, and causing concern among researchers and Canadians alike. Fortunately, we have seen some improvement for Canadian science.
Budget 2017 invested heavily in the Innovation Agenda, looking to secure Canada’s lead in innovation, and job growth in the “new” economy. With significant resources going towards Superclusters, Innovation Canada, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing, it is clear this government prioritizes discovery, innovation, and economic progress that benefits all Canadians.
However, research has shown the importance of fundamental research to success in innovation. This government has greatly improved several parts of the “innovation pipeline,” but it must address the imbalance between applied and basic research if we are to see the greatest benefits result from Canada’s investments in the Innovation Agenda.
Budget 2018 presents an opportunity to continue to focus on the research, science, and evidence that improves the lives of all Canadians, and bolsters our productivity, competitiveness, and leads to innovative advancements that benefit businesses and the Canadian economy.
Our recommendations are divided into two groups: Public science for the public good, and Transparent, innovative, and evidence-based decision-making.
- An increase of $1.3 billion over four years for fundamental research, with $386 million beginning in 2018. $135 million of these funds should be earmarked for investigator-led research.
- Increase investments in federal intramural research to reach the hiring target of an additional 1,500 federal scientists.
- Federal investment of $2.5 million/year to fund Cochrane Canada.
- Investment of $1.5 million/year to make PEARL a national facility; reinstating a research funding mechanism in the model of CFCAS.
- Increase the $2 million/year currently earmarked for the Office of the Chief Science Adviser.
- Invest 1% of departmental program funding to policy experimentation.