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Take Two: here’s where we’re at with (the) Fundamental Science (Review)

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 approaches it’s five year anniversary, Evidence for Democracy carried out a second review of the recommendations
Fundamental science review

By Umais A Baqi, Mairin Deith, Eashan Halbe, Kim Pho, and Farah Qaiser

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, and remarked that we are still a long way from the finish line.

Now, as we near the five-year anniversary of the review, and are only days away from a new session of Parliament, we wondered: how far have we come with the FSR since our last look?

Today, we — E4D and four incredible volunteers — are pleased to share our second review of the status of the FSR recommendations. We found that of the 35 FSR recommendations, nine are complete, 13 are in progress, and 13 remain unresolved.

We’ll be sharing our thoughts on this review in an upcoming op-ed in Policy Options (coming very soon!), but we thought that the broader science policy community may want to take a deeper look into the FSR, so we’re also sharing our background research. The document 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.

As you can imagine, tracking every one of the FSR recommendations is challenging! Have we missed a key detail? Please get in touch with us (at

Read the full analysis here. 


Umais A Baqi is a graduate student at the Engineering and Public Policy program at McMaster University. Mairin Deith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia. Eashan Halbe is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia. Kim Pho is a PhD student at McMaster University. Farah Qaiser is the Director of Research and Policy at Evidence for Democracy.

We would also like to thank all of the individuals who provided their insights and expertise as we reviewed the Fundamental Science Review recommendations, both in 2019, and in 2021. This work would not have been possible without your support.


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