Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2023 Budget

Building on Our Strength: Higher Education Research and Science

Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2023 Budget

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation #1: Increase base funding levels of the Tri-Councils for investigator-led research by $200 million per year for the next five years.

Recommendation #2: Increase the number and value of scholarship awards by $185 million in 2023 and an additional $55 million per year, thereafter.

Recommendation #3: Renew investments in equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives related to research.

Recommendation #4: Expand the Statistics Canada academic staff survey (UCASS) to include data on part-time faculty and develop a Science and Research Human Resource Strategy.

Recommendation #5: Increase funding for government science by at least $740 million annually to return funding levels to 2010/11 levels and review barriers to government-academic partnerships.


INTRODUCTION

Higher education research and development, the strength of Canada’s research and science ecosystem, remains severely underfunded. The $1 billion investment in fundamental science in Budget 2018 restored some funding for basic research after years of neglect.  Budget 2022 saw an investment of $3 billion to initiatives to incent businesses to invest in research and development.  A further commitment of $1 billion over five years for fundamental science is needed to keep solid this foundation of our knowledge infrastructure.

In addition, Canada must take immediate steps to fix the shrinking pipeline of scientists and researchers by better supporting graduate students, developing a national research and science human resource strategy, and supporting government science.

Another key strength of Canada is our diversity. Our Budget 2023 submission calls for a modest investment of $30 million to programs aimed at increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion within our research and science community.

  1. Invest $1 billion over five years in fundamental science

The base of Canada’s research ecosystem is fundamental science. Basic research expands knowledge needed for progress and innovation. This was recognized by the government in Budget 2018 which noted that:

“Canada’s prospects are bright thanks in part to earlier investments in science, research, and innovation. These investments built world-leading Canadian universities and colleges and created a strong research environment—one that has resulted in global recognition and has succeeded in attracting top talent in important emerging fields like artificial intelligence. The next step is to build on this success and make Canada a beacon that attracts the very best researchers from across the globe.”

The funding commitments made in 2018 were essential to shore up the crumbling base of our research ecosystem. However, they fall far short of making Canada a beacon that attracts the very best.

  • When accounting for inflation, funding at CIHR and NSERC has not grown since 2012/13.[i]
  • The flagship inter-disciplinary, international, fast-breaking, and higher-risk research fund has a 17.2% success rate.
  • The value of grants has not increased in real terms.

Canada’s research intensity was 1.70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020 compared to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 2.68%.[ii] When examined, our key strength is in Higher Education Expenditures on Research and Development (HERD) and we lag on Business Expenditures (BERD). To address the latter, the government invested $3 billion in Budget 2022 to initiatives to incent businesses to invest in research and development.

Meanwhile HERD, the strength of our research and science ecosystem, is not where it needs to be, even after a $1 billion Budget 2018 investment to restore some funding for basic research after years of neglect. To build on our strength of higher education research and development, an additional $1 billion over 5 years to granting council funding is needed.

This recommendation is echoed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research in its report, Successes, Challenges and Opportunities for Science in Canada, released in June 2022, “the Government of Canada increase its investments in fundamental research through increases to the budgets of the three granting councils.”

  1. Increase support for graduate students

Graduate scholarship awards have remained unchanged for nearly 20 years, and postdoctoral fellowships had only a small increase in the same timeframe. As the cost of living has steadily increased, these scholarships and fellowships provide inadequate support or incentive to continue to do this work in Canada.

We recommend that the government increase scholarship and fellowship award amounts for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers by $185 million in 2023 and an additional $55 million per year thereafter, to increase both the value and the number of awards, and to index to the consumer price index (CPI).

  1. Renew investments in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives

A diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and thought breed great science and research. This government has made progress in ensuring that publicly supported science and research is equitable and diverse. Budget 2018 committed $21 million to seeding change.  These initiatives are just taking root and the commitment must be renewed with additional funding to ensure these EDI initiatives flourish.

Specifically, the government should commit $30 million over five years to continue the following:

  • The EDI Capacity Building Grants
  • The Dimensions program
  • The Survey on Post-Secondary Researchers to assess impact of CoViD-19
  • The University and College Academic Staff Survey (UCASS) and increase to include data beyond gender
  1. Expand Statistics Canada academic staff survey to include data on part-time faculty and develop a Science and Research Human Resource Strategy

The limited data[iii], [1] we have shows that Canada’s science and research workforce is shrinking. Since 2006, we have seen a 21% decline in tenure-track positions and a near doubling of ‘off the tenure-track’ contract positions. The off-track positions are employed on teaching only contracts with no support for research. In the words of one observer, “Canada is hemorrhaging early career research capacity.”[iv]

As noted by the President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), “[There are] minimal opportunities for starting academics to undertake meaningful research…The real challenge…lies…specifically in finding ways to expand academic offerings to accelerate onboarding of early career researchers in an environment that is increasingly constrained financially.”[v]

The number of researchers in Canada has declined over the last six years—the only G7 country to experience a decrease. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of full-time researchers per million inhabitants in Canada declined by 4.8%. During that same period, the number of researchers in the U.S. increased by 4.9%, in the United Kingdom by 9%, and in Germany by a full 20%.[vi]

As a recent Council of Canadian Academies report concluded, cultivating a robust, resilient, and diverse scientific workforce is central to the development of a nation’s research capacity and requires supporting researchers throughout their careers.[vii], [viii]

  1. Restore funding for government to 2010/11 levels and review barriers to government-academic partnerships

Science undertaken by the government complements, contributes to, and benefits from the work of academic researchers. Government science facilities, like the Experimental Lakes Area, welcome post-secondary researchers and students alongside government scientists. When government science is well funded, supported, and allowed to be freely shared with the broader scientific community, there are direct and indirect benefits for Canada’s academic research community and, ultimately, all Canadians. For this reason, the CCR joins other stakeholders to recommend that funding for government science be increased by at least $740 million annually to return funding levels to 2010/11 levels.[ix]

In addition, to make it easier to carry out joint research with government scientists, the granting agencies should review barriers for partnership with government scientists, including those presented by industry linkage and cost-sharing requirements.

Contact:
Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Ph.D.
Chair, Canadian Consortium for Research executiveoffice@cpa.ca
613-237-2144, ext. 323


[i] Statistics Canada. Federal extramural expenditures on science and technology, by performing sector and major departments and agencies.

[ii] OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators, March 2022 Edition

[iii] Data on the academic workforce is drawn from Statistics Canada, University and College Academic Staff System Survey and the long-form census.

[iv] Wright, Julia. (2017).  How to invest in our PhDs? Through faculty renewal. University Affairs.

[v] Hewitt. Ted . (2018). Underemployment of PhDs hurts research. This article was originally published in The Chronicle Herald on January 3, 2018.

[vi] Sylvain Charbonneau. Vice-president of research and innovation at the University of Ottawa, (2021) Oral Testimony. House of Commons Committee on Science and Research, February 10.

[vii] Council of Canadian Academies, (2021.) Powering Discovery: The Expert Panel on International Practices for Funding Natural Sciences and Engineering Research.


[ix] McGrath, Eleanor. (2021). A decade of defunded public science: preparing for the next crisis. Sciencepolicy.ca


Click here for the full submission as a PDF.
 

Mémoire présenté dans le cadre des consultations prébudgétaires en prévision du budget de 2022

La COVID-19 a révélé que la science est pertinente et a une incidence à tous les niveaux, que ce soit à l’échelle des individus, des entreprises, des municipalités, des nations et du monde entier. La science ne connaît pas de frontières; elle a été, est et continuera d’être utilisée par les décideurs pour assurer la gestion continue de la pandémie, pour faire des découvertes importantes et pour générer de nouvelles connaissances afin de relancer l’économie canadienne, d’innover et d’être compétitif à l’échelle internationale. Pour cela, il faut soutenir durablement un large éventail de recherches menées dans des milieux variés (universités, industries, établissements de recherche, laboratoires gouvernementaux, organismes sans but lucratif). Les innovations scientifiques qui renforcent l’économie et permettent de résoudre des problèmes comme ceux qui sont apparus dans la foulée de la COVID-19 sont possibles lorsque les étudiants et les chercheurs de toutes les disciplines et de tous les secteurs (p. ex., universités, ministères, organismes de collecte de données, bibliothèques) bénéficient de bourses d’études supérieures, de subventions de recherche, de soutien en matière d’infrastructure, de soutien institutionnel et de possibilités de développement de carrière – ces investissements dans la recherche témoignent du soutien du gouvernement à la mise en place d’une culture scientifique prospère.

RECOMMANDATIONS

Recommandation 1 : Le CCR recommande que le gouvernement fédéral donne suite aux recommandations en suspens du rapport sur l’Examen du soutien fédéral aux sciences de 2017. Le gouvernement du Canada a pris des mesures en réponse à certaines des recommandations du rapport sur l’Examen du soutien fédéral aux sciences; toutefois, il doit combler l’écart considérable de 60 % entre l’augmentation recommandée du financement des activités de base pour la science fondamentale et ce qui a été mis en œuvre à ce jour.

Recommandation 2 : Le CCR recommande que le gouvernement fédéral augmente ses investissements en recherche et développement (R et D) au Canada afin de relancer la reprise économique du Canada et trouver des solutions aux multiples défis complexes et urgents auxquels sont confrontés le Canada et la société, notamment :

  • une augmentation de 1 % des dépenses intérieures brutes de R et D qui, à 1,56 %, sont à leur plus bas niveau depuis 2001 (la moyenne des pays l’OCDE est de 2,4 %)
  • une augmentation du financement des budgets de base des IRSC, du CRSH et du CRSNG pour la recherche fondamentale et la recherche appliquée d’au moins 10 % par année, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit proportionnel aux autres pays du G7
  • un soutien accru à la diversité en recherche, particulièrement en ce qui concerne l’équité entre les sexes, les minorités visibles, les chercheurs handicapés et les chercheurs autochtones

Recommandation 3 : Le CCR recommande que le gouvernement fédéral assure une meilleure coordination et une meilleure surveillance des sciences et de la recherche au Canada, afin que le Canada soit en mesure de s’attaquer efficacement au prochain problème majeur qui l’affectera et qui nécessitera une contribution et une analyse scientifiques, en :

  • créant un conseil consultatif national sur la recherche et l’innovation
  • veillant à ce que le poste de conseiller scientifique en chef devienne un poste permanent au sein du gouvernement canadien

Recommandation 4 : Le CRR recommande que le gouvernement fédéral augmente son soutien aux étudiants des cycles supérieurs, aux boursiers postdoctoraux, aux scientifiques en début de carrière et aux étudiants internationaux en :

  • augmentant le financement des bourses d’études supérieures et des bourses postdoctorales de 185 millions de dollars en 2022 afin d’augmenter la valeur et le nombre de bourses accordées, ainsi que 55 millions de dollars supplémentaires par année, échelonnés sur les trois années suivantes
  • étendant les programmes de financement temporaire mis en place pour aider les étudiants touchés par la COVID
  • rétablissant le financement du Programme des chaires de recherche du Canada aux niveaux de 2012 grâce à un investissement de 140 millions de dollars au cours des deux prochaines années (35 millions de dollars au cours de l’exercice 2022-2023, 115 millions de dollars au cours de l’exercice 2023-2024), en attribuant de manière asymétrique de nouvelles chaires de niveau 2 afin d’aider les chercheurs en début de carrière

Recommandation 5 : Le CCR recommande que le gouvernement fédéral augmente son appui aux installations et aux coûts administratifs de la recherche en :

  • bonifiant le Fonds de soutien à la recherche en le faisant passer de 21 % à 40 %
  • augmentant le financement pour répondre aux besoins en petits et moyens équipements des chercheurs indépendants
  • assurant la viabilité des laboratoires de recherche et des établissements dans lesquels la recherche est effectuée

Lire la soumission complète…

Réponse du CCR au budget fédéral 2021

Les investissements de base dans l’écosystème de la recherche au Canada rapportent des dividendes substantiels

23 avril (Ottawa) – Le Consortium canadien pour la recherche (CCR) prend acte du budget fédéral de cette semaine, qui prévoit une série d’investissements sociaux et économiques, ainsi que des investissements en santé, destinés à mettre le Canada sur la bonne voie de la reprise après la pandémie mondiale de COVID-19. Bien que la science ait contribué de façon importante à la gestion de la pandémie, le milieu de la recherche au Canada a lui-même été touché de manière importante par la pandémie. Nous restons préoccupés par le peu de mesures envisagées pour continuer à rétablir l’écosystème de la recherche du Canada.

« Le budget ne parvient pas à reconnaître les contributions et les répercussions simultanées de la pandémie sur le milieu de la recherche au Canada, pas plus que le rôle évident que joue la recherche dans la reprise économique du Canada », affirme la Dre Lisa Votta-Bleeker, présidente du CCR. « Les investissements d’aujourd’hui dans la recherche fondamentale sont les découvertes et les innovations de demain, qui sont à la base de notre compétitivité et de notre prospérité futures. »

Le budget de 2021 propose un financement total ciblé de 2,2 milliards de dollars sur sept ans destinés à la recherche pour stimuler le secteur de la recherche biomédicale et des sciences de la vie au Canada, afin, notamment, d’accroître le développement de vaccins. Bien que ces investissements soient bien accueillis, le budget de 2021 ne prévoit pas de nouveaux fonds destinés aux budgets de fonctionnement des trois conseils du Canada pour la recherche fondamentale; il ne tient pas compte non plus du financement essentiel encore nécessaire pour appuyer les chercheurs, les stagiaires et les étudiants, comme celui fourni par le Fonds d’urgence pour la continuité de la recherche au Canada de 2020.

Dans leur mémoire présenté dans le cadre des consultations prébudgétaires de 2021, les membres du CCR ont souligné qu’il « est plus crucial que jamais que le gouvernement fédéral augmente son soutien aux organismes de financement de la recherche du Canada, aux étudiants, aux chercheurs en début de carrière, aux établissements universitaires, à la recherche internationale et aux laboratoires de recherche »[1].

L’écosystème de recherche au Canada a été considérablement touché par la pandémie. Les laboratoires de recherche, les études, les emplois, en particulier chez les femmes, et les bourses postdoctorales ont été interrompus et, dans certains cas, se sont arrêtés complètement. Les exigences de distanciation physique ont entraîné des difficultés indéniables pour de nombreux projets de recherche dans les milieux universitaires et non universitaires. La réduction du financement de la recherche de la part d’organismes de bienfaisance et d’organismes sans but lucratif a frappé lourdement les chercheurs en début de carrière, qui se verront privés de financement pendant des années. Des étudiants internationaux ont quitté le Canada et certains d’entre eux ne sont pas encore de retour. Tous ces facteurs combinés ont eu non seulement une incidence sur les ressources scientifiques et universitaires du Canada à court terme, mais leurs conséquences se feront sentir pendant de nombreuses années.

« Le fait que les chercheurs en sciences de la santé aient été inclus dans le programme de subventions salariales d’urgence a aidé, mais le budget de 2021 ne parvient pas à fournir le soutien continu à la recherche et les fonds de démarrage nécessaires à la reprise de la science fondamentale, qui a stagné ou s’est interrompue pendant la pandémie », fait remarquer Votta-Bleeker. « Nous étions déjà loin de ce que nous devions être avant la pandémie, et le fossé n’a fait que se creuser. »

Les dépenses publiques actuelles du Canada en R et D n’ont jamais été aussi basses depuis 2001, s’établissant à 1,54 %, comparativement à la moyenne de l’OCDE, qui est de 2,47 % (un écart de 55 %), ce qui place le Canada au 23e rang parmi les pays de l’OCDE. Un tel investissement est nécessaire à la reprise économique du Canada. Le CCR a demandé au gouvernement fédéral d’augmenter d’au moins 10 % le financement de fonctionnement des IRSC, du CRSNG et du CRSH destiné à la recherche fondamentale, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit au même niveau que les autres pays du G7. La R et D englobe la recherche fondamentale entreprise dans le milieu universitaire et dans l’industrie, la recherche appliquée axée sur des objectifs précis et le développement expérimental visant à produire des produits et des processus nouveaux ou à améliorer des processus et des produits existants. Ensemble, ils stimulent la croissance économique et impulsent l’innovation, ce qui a pour effet de créer de meilleurs emplois et d’accroître la productivité.

« Le milieu de la recherche au Canada continuera de réclamer l’accroissement de la recherche fondamentale, car il est nécessaire de cultiver une culture scientifique forte et viable, au pays et à l’étranger, et d’appuyer et de prendre sous notre aile les générations actuelles et futures de chercheurs qui, en fin de compte, contribueront à la force économique et à la reprise du Canada. »

———–

Le CCR est la plus grande coalition de défense des intérêts au Canada. Ses activités portent sur le financement de la recherche dans toutes les disciplines et le soutien à l’enseignement postsecondaire. Le CCR compte 20 organisations, qui représentent plus de 500 000 étudiants et 50 000 chercheurs de toutes disciplines.

Dre Lisa Votta-Bleeker
présidente, Le Consortium canadien pour la recherche
executiveoffice@cpa.ca


[1]Mémoire écrit présenté dans le cadre des consultations prébudgétaires en prévision du budget de 2021, Consortium canadien pour la recherche, p. 4, https://ccr-ccr.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/CCR_Pre-Budget_2021Consultation_Submission_FINAL.pdf

Téléchargez le communiqué de presse complet ici

CCR’s Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2021 Budget

The global response to the pandemic has shown that science is relevant and impactful at all levels, from individuals and businesses to municipalities, regions, nations and the world. Science knows no boundaries; it has been, is, and will continue to be relied upon by decision-makers for continued management of the pandemic and to re-start Canada’s economy.

Canada’s capacity to innovate and compete internationally, and in turn recover and thrive economically, is dependent on sustained support of a broad spectrum of research carried out in various environments (academic, industrial, research institutions, government laboratories, not-for-profit settings). Science advances and innovations that enhance the economy and work to address issues such as those that have arisen as a result of COVID-19 happen when students and researchers from all disciplines and sectors (e.g., universities, government departments, data collection agencies, libraries) are supported with graduate scholarships, research funding, infrastructure support, institutional support, and career development opportunities.

The FSR report represents a detailed, well-researched, and measured roadmap for how the federal government can boost the economy via fundamental science and research. What must happen now is that the remaining recommendations of the FSR Report are implemented quickly with continued monitoring and assessment to significantly mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and thereby ensure that Canada’s needs are met and researchers are able to address society’s most pressing questions.

Contact:
Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Ph.D.
Chair, Canadian Consortium for Research
executiveoffice@cpa.ca
613-237-2144, ext. 323

Read the Full Submission

The CCR has drafted the following statement to speak to the government’s support for research during COVID-19

The Canadian Consortium for Research welcomes federal support for research during pandemic

(Ottawa – May 15, 2020) The Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) applauds the Government of Canada’s efforts to support research and researchers in light of current COVID-related challenges. Most recently, the federal government announced $450 million in funding to support universities and health research institutes.

As a result of COVID-19, many researchers across the country have been forced to suspend, and in some cases, end their work. “The granting councils as well as other funding agencies have helped the research community greatly by offering grant extensions and allowing exceptions to the rules governing the use of grants. Most recently, there was concern for the health researchers and research staff who were falling through the cracks of government programs and facing layoffs,” said Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Chair of the Canadian Consortium. “It is very encouraging to see the government address this issue and provide essential support to the research community.”

It was estimated that up to 15,000 health researchers, research nurses or lab technicians who were researching cancer, cardiovascular health, dementia, and many other areas of health would face layoffs because universities and health research institutes who were funded through industry and philanthropic donations were not eligible for the federal wage subsidy program or other government supports for research.

Last week’s announcement allows universities and research institutes in these situations to access this federal support, which offers 75 per cent per individual to a maximum of $847 a week. Additionally, 75 per cent of total eligible costs to maintain and restart essential research related activities, such as safe storage of dangerous substances and restarting data sets, will also be covered.

“Ensuring that research staff are retained, that research funds are available, and that research activities are supported during these challenging times means that vital work and innovation can continue as our country begins to recover,” said Dr. Votta-Bleeker. “The CCR applauds the research community for its advocacy on these matters, and the government and funding agencies for hearing the concerns of the research community. We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government and the funding agencies to ensure that all researchers, students, trainees and research staff, and ultimately the research they conduct, are supported through this difficult time.”

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker
Chair, Canadian Consortium for Research
science@cpa.ca

CCR Member Organization COVID-19 Resources

CCR Member Organizations respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Canadian Consortium for Research Looks Forward to Advancing Science Agenda for Canada

OTTAWA, October 24, 2019 — In the recent federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada won a second mandate, claiming 157 seats for a strong minority parliament. The Conservative Party claimed 121 seats, the Bloc Québécois took 32 seats, the NDP won 24, and the Green Party claimed three seats.

“We congratulate the government on its second mandate and look forward to working with new and returning Members of Parliament to advance a strong and vibrant science agenda and culture for Canada,” said Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Chair of the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR).

In its previous mandate, the government made significant strides in improving Canada’s position as a world-leader in fundamental research for the natural, health and social sciences by commissioning the Fundamental Science Review (FSR) under Dr. David Naylor; making record new investments for fundamental science and research infrastructure in Budget 2018; and providing a means for high level scientific expertise to interact with the Government, through the creation of the Chief Science Advisor and subsequent appointment of Dr. Mona Nemer to it.

The FSR panel’s final report included 34 recommendations that covered the following areas: improved governance and coordination; improved prospects for the next generation of researchers; restoration of core funding for independent research grants; new investments to attract and/or retain top-flight established researchers; and phased investments to strengthen the overall research environment and stabilize Canada’s Big Science facilities. Thus far, some key recommendations have been addressed only in part.

“As outlined in the Fundamental Science Report, there are numerous steps still to be made in terms of investments in fundamental science, tangible commitments by both government and business to fostering research and development, and training the next generation of researchers,” said Dr. Votta-Bleeker. “The CCR looks forward to continuing our work with the government and all parliamentarians to capitalize on the important steps made – and still to be made – to position Canada as a leader in advancing knowledge and innovation, and a country that cultivates a strong science culture, domestically and internationally.”

Click here for the PDF.

Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2020 Budget

The CCR is pleased to provide this 2020 pre-budget consultation submission to the House of
Commons Standing Committee on Finance. The CCR and its member organizations and members
are of the belief that the themes for Budget 2020 of climate change, national research, and
development and innovation, are inter-dependent themes that are critical to progressing on the
goal of growing and sustaining Canada’s prosperity.

Click here for the full submission.

CCR Summit: What’s needed and what’s next for Canada’s research community: A summit for scientists/researchers working in or outside of academia.

CCR Summit: What’s needed and what’s next for Canada’s research community: A summit for scientists/researchers working in or outside of academia.

May 6-7, 2019 – Hilton Garden Inn, Ottawa

Powerpoint Presentations and Summary available below.

The Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR), in collaboration with the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), was pleased to host a 2-day Summit – What’s needed and what’s next for Canada’s research community: A summit for scientists/researchers working in or outside of academia. Dr. David Naylor, Chair of the panel convened to review fundamental science in Canada, kicked off the Summit with a Keynote Address and Townhall Discussion on the state of fundamental science in Canada. Delegates then participated in break out sessions focused on the academic work environment, training our next generation for careers outside of academia, and impact/outcome measures in academia and science. The afternoon of the second day was devoted to a meeting of the psychology-specific attendees only.

Powerpoint Presentations