In a historic gathering on Parliament Hill, a diverse coalition of organizations representing post-secondary institutions, research hospitals, life sciences companies, university faculty, student leaders, and health charities have come together to deliver a critical message to the Canadian government. They emphasize the pressing need for increased funding in research and development, a vital cornerstone for Canada's future success in an ever-changing world.
For the past two years, Canada has witnessed a troubling absence of new funding and stagnant support levels for researchers. This concerning trend poses a significant threat to our nation's standing in the global research community. The Coalition for Canadian Research strongly urges the federal government to make a substantial new investment in research funding. This investment is crucial to secure highly-qualified talent, attract investment, and foster innovation, which will be the bedrock of Canada's prosperity and resilience.
Canada's current investment in research and development falls short of the mark, with only 1.55% of GDP allocated in 2022, trailing far behind the OECD average of 2.71%. In contrast, other leading nations like the United States, Germany, and Japan are committing substantial new funding to make research a central component of their industrial vision, tackling issues from climate change to pandemics. Canada's lack of action poses a significant risk of a "brain drain," where top talent may seek opportunities overseas, depriving Canada of the skills, innovations, and knowledge it needs to address its most pressing challenges.
To remain competitive in an increasingly competitive world, Canada must invest in a healthy and vibrant research ecosystem. Our global peers have recognized the importance of research, and we cannot afford to let our research system stagnate.
The Coalition for Canadian Research has released an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, calling for immediate and substantial action to bolster science and research. This initiative aligns with recommendations in the federal government’s own Advisory Panel in the Bouchard Report, emphasizing the need for a major reinvestment to maintain Canada’s research and innovation ecosystem amid high inflation and mounting international competition.
The coalition proposes a significant increase in the base budgets of federal research granting agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) and CFI to enrich fundamental research. Additionally, they call for an increase in graduate scholarship and post-doctoral fellowship award amounts that have remained frozen for two decades. These critical steps aim to rejuvenate the research system, retain highly-qualified talent, and support early-career researchers, innovators, and academics in undertaking their vital work.
Canada has a tremendous opportunity to embrace an ambitious agenda for success in research that mirrors the efforts of our peers. By doing so, we can build a research system that harnesses our strengths in emerging sectors, attracts top talent, and powers prosperity. Let us seize this moment to secure a progressive, productive, and prosperous future for all.
Together, we can make a difference.
Read our open letter in English: https://u15.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/FINAL-Advocacy-Coalition-Open-Letter-October-2023-1.pdf