The 2018 Federal budget released on Tuesday, February 27, aims to renew Canada’s science research and innovation sectors. After several years of Federal budget cuts for scientific research under the previous federal administration, research in Canada was suffering.
The budget has taken into consideration the recommendations provided by Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, run by Dr. David Naylor. The review identified declining funding per researcher and a need to change how the Canadian government invests so that international, interdisciplinary and ground-breaking research would receive greater support. It also emphasized the need to develop the next generation of diverse scientists.
In an attempt to address the issues identified by Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, the 2018 Federal Budget has proposed investments into Canada’s research system that total almost $4 billion dollars.
The Government plans to invest $1.7 billion over five years through Canada’s granting councils and research institutes and over $1.3 billion over five years for investments into laboratories, equipment and infrastructure. The three granting councils involved include: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); and thenSocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
The Federal government proposes a combined investment of $925 million into these three granting councils and an investment of $275 million into a new tri-council fund in support of “international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and higher-risk” research. The three granting councils will also be required to develop new systems to increase collaboration amongst themselves and to support interdisciplinary research and diversity amongst recipients. Additionally, $231.3 million will be invested into the Research Support Fund for university overhead costs and indirect research costs that are not covered through the granting councils.
The 2018 Budget has allocated $210 million over five years to the Canada Research Chairs Program, suggest this money may be used to “better support early-career researchers” and increase the diversity of nominated researchers.