Written Submission for the House of Commons Standing Committee of Finance Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget

RECOMMENDATIONS

Students and Early Career: Students and early career researchers represent the next generation of researchers who will contribute to Canada’s science culture, productivity and competitiveness by making ground-breaking discoveries and tackling the many economic, social, and cultural challenges facing Canadians. The CCR recommends

  • enhanced personnel support for students and trainees at different career stages (total base increase of $140 million per year be phased in over four years, in equal increments of $35 million per year to harmonize, upgrade and strategically focus the system of graduate student and post-doctoral fellow supports)
  • the creation of research chairs for excellent scholars and scientists with a focus on early career researchers making the transition to mid-career, with a $35 million investment this year and a $105 million the following year.

Institutional Research Support: To enhance the environment for science and scholarship by improved coverage of the institutional costs of research, the CCR recommends

  • adding $314 million to the existing $1.7 billion per year the federal government currently pays through the Research Support Fund.

Research Infrastructure: Targeted spending is required for: i) infrastructure-related start up (small-scale equipment) costs; ii) ongoing costs to support major science facilities; and iii) replacements costs for research tools and instruments that are outdated. The CCR recommends

  • that in addition to a stable annual budget for CFI of $300 million, an additional $35 million annually be provided to CFI for major research facilities (MRFs) matching ratio funding, and an additional $5 million for research tools and instruments replacement costs
  • that appropriate support be provided to national research facilities funded through other federal mechanisms (e.g., TRIUMF’s operational funding that flows through the National Research Council), and that the Government move forward in a timely manner to implement the Fundamental Science Report’s recommendation to better coordinate planning around national big science infrastructure.

ASSISTING CANADIANS AND BUSINESSES TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE AND COMPETITIVE

Consistent with last year’s theme of fostering productivity and competitiveness for Canadians, as part of the prebudget consultation in advance of the 2019 budget, the government is seeking input on what steps the federal government can take to support and/or encourage Canadians and their businesses to grow the economy – from a productivity and competitiveness perspective – in the face of a changing economic landscape.

With 20 member-organizations, the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) represents more than 50,000 researchers and 650,000 students across disciplines. It is the largest advocacy coalition in Canada focusing on research funding in all disciplines and support for post-secondary education. It commends this Government’s continued commitment to:

  • fundamental science via the recent review conducted by a panel that was overseen by Dr. Naylor;
  • the record investment of $1.6 billion over 5 years for independent, investigator-led research made to increase the base funding of the research councils as part of the 2018 budget;
  • the requirement that the above investment of funds is disbursed in a manner that supports diversity in research;
  • creation of the Chief Science Advisor and subsequent appoint of Dr. Nemer;
  • support for Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education and excellence in Indigenous research; and
  • expanded eligibility criteria for the Canada Student Grants program to support more part-time students and those with dependent children (beginning in 2018-19).

These commitments have been needed to help the research community – and Canada as a whole – prosper and thrive.

These commitments notwithstanding, more can and needs to be done, and as such the CCR maintains its stance that ensuring Canada’s competitiveness can be further advanced by implementing the recommendations in the report from Canada’s Fundamental Science Review – “Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research” – which was released on April 10, 2017. The report was prepared by an independent, expert advisory panel and was commissioned by the federal Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan.

Through its recommendations, the report offers a comprehensive plan to both change and improve Canada’s research ecosystem and, in so doing, restore the position of Canadians as research leaders on the international stage. To date, unfulfilled recommendations include:

Support for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows. The report identified the need for harmonizing, upgrading, and bringing strategic focus to the system of graduate student and post-doctoral fellow (PDF) supports. To this end, it recommends that a total base increase of $140 million per year be phased in over four years, in equal increments of $35 million per year. The report also recommends the creation of research chairs for excellent scholars and scientists with a focus on early career researchers making the transition to mid-career, with a $35 million investment this year and a $105 million the following year.

Infrastructure. The report also proposes a bold and much needed plan to strengthen Canada’s research ecosystem through recommendations for stable annual funding for CFI ($300 million) and another $35 million annually for major research facilities (MRFs) matching ratio funding; increased support for facilities and operations (targeted 40% reimbursement rate for all institutions with more than $7 million per year of eligible funding – additional $314 million to the current $1.7 billion currently paid); and consolidated long-term funding for a merged entity to oversee national digital research infrastructure.

Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research. The report also outlines a comprehensive agenda to strengthen the foundations of Canadian research. Among its recommendations is legislation to create an independent National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation (NACRI) that will work closely with Canada’s new Chief Science Advisor (CSA).

The CCR supports efforts to improve coordination and harmonization, promote collaboration, and share best practices among CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC and CFI. Consistent with the CCR’s recommendations to the panel, the report also called for balance across all research disciplines (social sciences and humanities, health, and natural sciences and engineering) as a foundational principle for funding; new forms of support for multidisciplinary and international funding; support for indigenous researchers, diversity in research, and research that cross-cuts disciplines; and improved agility and timeliness in responding to emerging research issues.

Conclusion

Science – social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health – is a fundamental part of Canada, having relevance to societal well-being, human functioning, health, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, productivity and the economy; its relevance can be measured at the individual, business, and community levels.

It is critical to develop, promote and support a culture that values discovery and innovation in all sciences – including but not limited to natural sciences and engineering, technology, social science and humanities, health, and mathematics – to foster an interest in Canada’s youth and underrepresented segments of society, and to achieve and benefit from the vast impacts of scientific inquiry. Achieving this requires continued and sustained investments in funding for research.

Students represent the next generation of researchers who will contribute to Canada’s science culture, productivity and competitiveness by making ground-breaking discoveries and tackling the many economic, social, and cultural challenges facing Canadians; these contributions will ultimately help Canada’s people, businesses and communities. Supporting graduate-level (masters, doctoral and post-doctoral fellows) teaching, research, and real-world experience through internships and fellowships, across diverse disciplines and settings, will encourage Canadians to pursue graduate-level education and build a foundation for economic and social development.

Equally important to supporting students and early career scientists is supporting the institutions that house them and the facilities/equipment they use to conduct their research. The Government has made significant, strategic investments in establishing world-class research facilities that have positioned Canada as an international leader in many areas (e.g., Sudbury Neutrino Observatory which led to the co-awarding of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics). While funding for individual research projects carried out within these facilities are available through the granting Councils (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR), and capital costs are available through the CFI, there is no specific program to fund the ongoing operational costs of these facilities (salaries, utilities, infrastructure stewardship and facility maintenance, repair and overhaul). For example, CLS and SNOLAB obtain their operating funds through the CFI-MSI program, along with matching funds from several other Federal organizations and Provincial awards to the partner universities. The Government needs to ensure that adequate funding for the operations of Canada’s national research facilities – which accounts for inflation, new infrastructure, future planning, staff growth, and increasing client demand – is made available through their funding providers at the time of renewal. As the fundamental science report notes, all post-secondary research depends upon maintaining and replacing common-use equipment; meeting regulatory standards; regularly upgrading institutional information technology services; keeping libraries stocked; cleaning, lighting, and heating laboratories and research spaces; and administering grant awards. The Government is urged to move forward in a timely manner to implement the recommendation in the Fundamental Science Report to manage its investments in Big Science in a more coordinated manner from conception/approval, building, and operations through their lifespan to decommissioning.

Science advances and innovations happen when students and researchers from all disciplines and sectors (e.g. universities, government departments, data collection agencies, libraries), are supported with graduate scholarship, research funding, infrastructure support, institutional support, and career development opportunities. Implementation of the remaining recommendations outlined in the report from the Fundamental Science Review would help Canadians be as productive as possible in their workplaces and their communities; help Canadian businesses to be more productive and competitive; enhance the well-being of Canadians; and support a strong science culture upon which the development of good policy and programming is based. The CCR extends its thanks to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for welcoming input as part of the 2019 pre-budget consultation. We also once again thank the Minister of Science for convening this necessary review of Fundamental Science in Canada, and the distinguished panel of scientists for conducting the review in as systematic, transparent, and inclusive a manner as possible. For further information contact the CCR Chair, Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, at 613-237-2144 ext. 323 or executiveoffice@cpa.ca.


Click here for the PDF: http://ccr-ccr.ca/ccr_2019pre-budget_submission_30july2018_final/

Budget 2018: Research community welcomes record investments in fundamental research for Canada

(Ottawa, Ontario) February 28, 2018 — The Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) applauds the Government of Canada’s budget which provided record new investments for fundamental science and research infrastructure, as well as for students and researchers.

The CCR’s pre-budget submission recommended that the recommendations embodied within the Fundamental Science Review report be fully implemented, particularly to establish steady-state annual funding across the four agencies and related entities at $4.8 billion (from approximately $3.5 billion).  This steady-state increase in base by the end of four years would amount to an additional 0.4% of the Government of Canada’s annual budget.

“The CCR is particularly pleased with the allocation to the granting councils of a total of $925 million over a 5-year period. This is a welcomed step toward restoring Canada as a world-leader in fundamental research for the natural, health and social sciences,” says Canadian Consortium for Research Chair, Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker.

Consistent with the recommendations in the Fundamental Science Review report, the budget also included support for a new tri-council fund to support research that is international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and higher-risk; funding to provide increased support and training opportunities for researchers, students and highly qualified personnel; funding for surveys to collect data on researchers; funding to implement programs that support improved equality and diversity in academia and post-secondary institutions; increased support for the Canada Research Chairs program; and ongoing and stable funding for the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC have been tasked with developing new plans, strategies and targets to ensure greater tri-council collaboration in support for interdisciplinary research, as well as to achieve greater diversity among research funding recipients, including improved support for women, underrepresented groups and early-career researchers. The CCR looks forward to collaborating with the granting councils to provide input on the development and implementation of these plans.

“Canada’s research community has long called for these investments, and we are pleased the Government has heard these calls.  These investments will position Canada as a leader in knowledge production and innovation, and a country that cultivates a strong science culture, domestically and internationally”, added Dr. Votta-Bleeker. “We look forward to working with the Federal Government in the years to come as it continues this commitment towards a long-term roadmap for Canada’s research system as outlined in the Fundamental Science Review report.”

 

Read the full Press Release here: http://ccr-ccr.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2018/03/CCR_BudgetResponse_26Feb2018_Final.pdf

The future of Canada’s research: A roadmap to strengthening our country

(Ottawa, ON) – On April 10, 2017, the report developed by the panel to oversee the review of fundamental science in Canada was released: “Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research” presented a welcomed plan to strengthen Canada’s research ecosystem. The plan addressed the need for increased funding to the base budgets of the granting councils (CIHR, SSHRC, and NSERC); the need for scholarships and fellowships; the need for stabilized funding for the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for infrastructure support; increased funding for indirect costs of research through the Research Support Fund; balance across all research disciplines as a foundational principle for funding; and increasing support to diversity in research, emphasizing the importance of research across disciplines, addressing gender equity, and providing support for early career scientists, visible minorities, researchers with disabilities, and Indigenous researchers.

“This very thorough report offers a comprehensive plan to both change and improve Canada’s research ecosystem and in so doing, restore the position of Canadians as research leaders on the international stage,” said Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Chair, Canadian Consortium for Research.

The report was prepared by an independent, expert advisory panel chaired by Dr. David Naylor, former President of the University of Toronto, and was commissioned by the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan. In 2016, the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) made a submission to the panel that highlighted key issues affecting Canadian research and researchers.

Consistent with the CCR’s recommendation to the panel and the review’s focus on fundamental science, the first priority of the report is to increase funding for independent, investigator-led research. To this end, the report recommends cumulative increases to the base funding of the federal research granting councils to reach annual spending of $4.8 billion by 2022, phased in over four years—up from the current $3.5 billion annually which represents an increase of roughly 8% annually over the next four years.

The report also outlines a comprehensive agenda to strengthen the foundations of Canadian research. Among its recommendations is legislation to create an independent National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation (NACRI) that will work closely with Canada’s new Chief Science Advisor (CSA). Together, they will provide ongoing evaluations of all programming and the appointment of a new Four Agency Coordinating Board that would work closely with the Chief Science Advisor and the Ministers of Science and Health to improve coordination and harmonization, promote collaboration, and share best practices among CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC and CFI. In line with this recommendation and again consistent with the CCR’s recommendations, the report also called for balance across all research disciplines as a foundational principle for funding and recognized the significant contributions that the social sciences and humanities make to Canada’s ability to thrive in the 21st century; SSHRC currently receives just 15 percent of federal investments in the granting councils.

We are pleased to see other important recommendations and priorities of the report such as new forms of support for multidisciplinary and international funding; support for students through scholarships and fellowships; stable annual funding for CFI; and consolidated long-term funding for a merged entity to oversee national digital research infrastructure. These are reflective of the CCR’s submission that called for increased funding for graduate students, as well as support for Canada’s research infrastructure.

“The Canadian Consortium for Research extends its sincere thanks to Minister Duncan for convening the review and to the panel for completing this very important work,” added Dr. Votta-Bleeker. “The panel was extremely insightful in its recommendations. We look forward to engaging our members in the coming months regarding the report’s recommendations as they pertain to the CCR’s advocacy efforts, and to working with government to bring the report’s recommendations to fruition.”

See the PDF here; ScienceReviewPanel_recommendations_CCRresponse_Final

Budget 2017: Commitment to science, but no new funding for fundamental research

(Ottawa, Ontario) March 23, 2017 — The Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) supports the government’s continued commitment to fundamental science via the science review and chief science advisor, but was disappointed that this budget failed to build on the government’s initial investments in fundamental science by not providing any new funding for the granting councils. The CCR has called on the government to increase, in an equitable manner, the base budgets for the granting councils by 5% per year for each of the next 3 years so as to restore fundamental research funding to 2007 levels when adjusted for inflation.

The CCR was pleased to see the government’s commitment to creating the Chief Science Advisor and accompanying office. It was also pleased to see the government’s acknowledgement of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review; the CCR offered its input to the panel overseeing the Review, and eagerly awaits the report and subsequent changes that will arise.

 

The budget included support for students in the form of new investments for Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education. While it also expanded eligibility for the Canada Student Grants program to more part-time students and those with dependent children beginning in 2018-19, it neglected to expand the eligibility criteria to include graduate students.

 

“Science advances and innovations happen when students and researchers from all disciplines and sectors across the health, social and natural sciences, are supported in fundamental research, graduate scholarship, and career development opportunities. Although disappointed to see no new funding to the base budgets of the granting councils, we await the report from the Fundamental Science Review, as well as the appointment of the Chief Science Advisor,” says Canadian Consortium for Research Chair, Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker. “The CCR will welcome the opportunity to work with the government on moving these files forward.”

The CCR is the largest advocacy coalition in Canada, focusing on research funding in all disciplines and support for post-secondary education. CCR includes 20 organizations that represent more than 50,000 researchers and 650,000 students across disciplines.

For more information:   Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker

Chair, Canadian Consortium for Research

executiveoffice@cpa.ca or 613-237-2144 ext. 323

 

CCR_BudgetResponse_March2017_Final2

Government of Canada launches search for Chief Science Advisor

View this document on news.gc.ca

Government of Canada launches search for Chief Science Advisor

Position key to advancing science and integration of science into decision making

December 5, 2016 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

More than 35,000 people in the federal government are involved in science and technology activities. Also, nearly 50,000 researchers and trainees across the country are supported by the federally funded research councils. From clean air and water to food security and technological advancements, science plays a crucial role in providing the evidence the Government of Canada needs to make decisions that improve the lives of Canadians.

Today, the search begins for the person who will be instrumental in furthering the Government’s commitment to science-based decision making. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, is delivering on her key mandate commitment by launching the search for a Chief Science Advisor for Canada. The announcement took place at the historic Library of the National Research Council in Ottawa.

The Chief Science Advisor will be responsible for providing scientific advice to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Science and members of Cabinet. This individual will also advise on how to ensure that government science is open to the public, that federal scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that science is effectively communicated across government. The office will be supported by a team of scientists and policy experts.

The position is now open to all Canadians. The full job description and information on applying can be found on the Governor in Council website. The application process is expected to close on January 27, 2017.

Quote

“This search for a Chief Science Advisor is a historic moment. This position is critical because science affects everything from the health and well-being of Canadians to the economy and the environment. Science is also the foundation of sound decision making within government.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

Quick facts

  • Minister Duncan was mandated by the Prime Minister to create the position.
  • The Chief Science Advisor will report to both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Science.
  • In the past year, the federal government has made a science-based approach to governance a top priority.
  • The Chief Science Advisor will be available to the Government to provide scientific advice on key issues.
  • The mandate of the position was developed after a rigorous process of consultation across government. The Minister also looked at best practices from around the world and listened closely to the research community.

Associated links

Follow the Minister on social media.
Twitter: @ScienceMin
Instagram: sciencemin

Contacts

Véronique Perron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science
343-291-2600

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

CCR makes submission to panel overseeing Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

Submission to Canada’s Fundamental Science Review – September 2016

SUMMARY
The CCR is pleased to provide its input into Canada’s Fundamental Science Review being overseen by Minister Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. Canada’s capacity to build knowledge, innovate, compete internationally, and in turn, thrive economically, socially, and culturally, is dependent on numerous factors that include but are not limited to:

  • Canada’s investment in fundamental research through the granting councils;
  •  the ways in which research is funded, reviewed, and awarded;
  •  availability of support for students and early-career scientists; and
  •  availability of stable funding to support knowledge infrastructure and a broad spectrum of research carried out in various environments.

Many members of the CCR will be making separate submissions on behalf of their respective associations that will speak to many of the issues included in this submission, as well as to issues specific to the research conducted by the members of their given associations. The CCR’s recommendations reflect the following three broad categories that cross-cut the views of all of the CCR’s members:

  1.  Increase Funding for Fundamental Research and Researchers
  2.  Ensure Long-term and Stable Funding for Knowledge Infrastructure
  3.  Support a National Science Policy Agenda and a Science Culture in Canada

Click here for the full Submission: ccr_sciencereviewsubmission_final_30sept2016