Budget 2015: Some important new investments, but missed opportunities for discovery-driven research
(Ottawa, Ontario) April 22, 2015 — Although the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) acknowledges the new research funding announced yesterday, Budget 2015 missed key opportunities when it comes to funding for discovery research and graduate students.
The CCR pre-budget submission recommended increased investments in the tri-council basic research discovery funding programs, support for students through graduate scholarships and internships, and support for Canada’s knowledge infrastructure.
The budget announced a total of $10 million in new funding in support of research and innovation activities for 2015 that includes digital research infrastructure support for CANARIE, funding for TRIUMF, and industry-research partnerships through the National Research Council. It also included a number of promises of funding to start in future years, such as: funding targeted mainly for industry-research partnerships through the tri-councils (2016-2017); support for Mitacs (2016-2017); and new investments in CFI (2017-2018).
While we acknowledge and welcome the importance of the announced funding, the absence of either immediate or promised increases to discovery research funding through the NSERC Discovery Grants, SSHRC Insight Grants, and CIHR Operating Grants is of primary concern to the CCR. As noted above, the promised future increased funding is, once again, allocated to tri-council targeted programs.
“Industry-partnered research is important to answer questions of an immediate or targeted nature. However, science advances and innovations happen when researchers are supported in discovery –research that isn’t driven by specific industry needs or interests,” says Canadian Consortium for Research Chair, Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker.
“While the increase to Mitacs is welcome, the CCR is disappointed that there is no new funding for graduate scholarships and internships. An opportunity to address the needs of students and support the next generation of researchers was, unfortunately, missed,” added Dr. Votta-Bleeker.
The CCR will continue to advocate for funding for discovery-based research, graduate student funding and for support for knowledge infrastructure such as Statistics Canada and Library Archives Canada.
The CCR is the largest advocacy coalition in Canada, focusing on research funding in all disciplines and support for post-secondary education. CCR includes 19 organizations that represent more than 50,000 researchers and 500,000 students across disciplines.
For more information:
Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker
Chair, Canadian Consortium for Research
firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-237-2144 ext. 323