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The Fundamental Science Review: Where Are We At in 2021?

On April 10, 2017, the Fundamental Science Review was published — a review of Canada’s fundamental science and research ecosystem, including 35 recommendations. As the review approached it’s five year anniversary, Evidence for Democracy carried out a second review of the recommendations

On June 13, 2016, then Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, launched the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science. Led by Dr. David Naylor, former President of the University of Toronto, the panel was asked to “take stock of the steps required to preserve Canada’s world-class standing” through a review of Canada’s fundamental science and research ecosystem.

The resulting Fundamental Science Review (FSR, sometimes referred to as the Naylor Report), was released on April 10, 2017. The FSR outlined a comprehensive action plan, with 35 recommendations to strengthen the foundations of Canadian extramural research (i.e. science being led by researchers working in universities, hospitals and other research institutes).

The review was met with enthusiastic support from researchers across the country. There has been progress on the recommendations since, with recent federal budgets making new investments in science and research.

In the years since, the FSR has become a rallying cry for the Canadian science community. But progress has been uneven — in 2019, E4D’s Dr. Kimberly Girling carried out an initial review of the FSR recommendations that showed we are still a long way from the finish line.

As we approached the five-year anniversary of the FSR, we undertook a second analysis to find out how far we have we come with the FSR since our last look? We found that of the 35 FSR recommendations, nine are complete, 13 are in progress, and 13 remain unresolved.

The analysis takes a step-by-step approach, by looking at what has been addressed and what remains to be done for each recommendation. The status of each recommendation has been sorted into three categories: complete, in progress and unresolved. Some of the complete recommendations have been marked with an asterisk (*) — these recommendations have technically been addressed, but there are a few caveats.

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