Ottawa, ON: Support Our Science (SOS) has worked tirelessly over the last year to advocate for increased funding to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. We are disappointed that the Government of Canada’s Budget 2023 does not include any new investments for the next generation of research and innovation leaders driving Canada’s economy. We recognize the fiscal challenges our nation is currently facing; however, Budget 2023 will have drastic impacts on current graduate and postdoctoral scholars in Canada and will negatively impact the retention and attraction of top talent for years to come.
Government-funded graduate students and postdoctoral scholars have not had a raise in 20 years. Many live in poverty, pursue opportunities outside of Canada, or decide to forgo a career in research altogether. Because of the financial challenges associated with pursuing a Master’s or PhD degree in this country, Budget 2023 continues to perpetuate inequities in higher education for underrepresented groups in research. With the lack of financial investment in Budget 2023, Canada is sending the message that young researchers are better off pursuing their research, innovations, and science elsewhere.
Of the G7 nations, Canada already makes among the lowest investments in research, development and training. This is documented in the report by the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, the 2017 Fundamental Science Review, and the 2021 Degrees of Success Report by the Canadian Council of Academies. This budget puts Canada even further behind. Our ability to advance green technologies, cybersecurity, quantum technologies, disease prevention, and many other areas of critical and urgent need are being hampered by the Government of Canada’s lack of investment in the next generation of researchers.
“Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are particularly vulnerable to inflation and are already experiencing significant financial challenges,” says Sarah Laframboise, PhD Student and President of the Ottawa Science Policy Network. “While we will continue to advocate on behalf of Canada’s future scholars, we are disappointed to see no investments into next generation researchers.”
“By neglecting to provide overdue financial relief, the Federal Government is jeopardizing the well-being of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars,” says Kaitlin Kharas, PhD candidate and Co-President of the Toronto Science Policy Network. “We look forward to a time when the important contributions of trainees to Canada’s science and innovation are no longer undervalued and we will continue advocating to ensure training is supportive and equitable for all.”
“Canada falls further behind each year with stagnant funding for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the face of rising costs,” says Courtney Robichaud, a postdoctoral scholar. “The Government of Canada has the power to change how the most vulnerable researchers in Canada are treated. While this news is disappointing, SOS and the many grad students, postdoctoral scholars, and supporters who believe in this work will continue to advocate for a fairer research environment.”
Canada needs to invest in current and future researchers to reclaim our role as an international leader in science, innovation, and technology. SOS is committed to advocating for increases to graduate student scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships, and funding for all graduate and postdoctoral scholars funded through Tri-agency grants. We will continue to fight for the next generation of researchers in Canada because the future of science and innovation in Canada depends on their success.
About Support Our Science: Support Our Science is a grass-roots organization advocating for increased pay for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in Canada. Collectively, we represent tens of thousands of graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty in Canada advocating for increases in funding and the elimination of poverty wages for students on the front line of innovative and transformative research.
For more information, please contact:
PhD Student, University of Ottawa
Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of Toronto
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