Federal panel calls for $1.3 billion in new funding for science research, system overhaul

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A federal science panel is asking for $1.3 billion to be put into the research system, after completing its study of finding better ways to make the most of funding on fundamental science research. It’s the first time a panel has reviewed the state of science in Canada in 40 years, according to the CBC.

The panel was led by David Naylor, the former president of the University of Toronto, and found that the biggest gaps in the system are in resources and aspirations. The panel recommends increasing the current spending for four major granting agencies — CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, and CFI — from $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion by 2022. The funding would be spread between direct research projects, operating funds for research facilities, scholarships, fellowships, facilities, and administrations costs.

The panel also found that the major federal agencies don’t work together as well as they should. Among their recommendations is the creation of a new national advisory council on research and innovation, as well as a board to coordinate Canada’s research agencies.

The report concludes that, “We are firmly convinced that by strengthening the foundations of Canadian research, this government can make an immediate and major difference to the prospects of future generations.”

The six-month study was launched in June of 2016, when federal science minister Kristy Duncan asked the panel 10 different questions related to the funding of scientific research. The panel was also charged with looking at how much funding goes to senior established scientists as opposed to younger researchers.

In Budget 2017, the federal government acknowledged the challenges of coordinating between agencies. The government proposed creating an Innovation in Canada platform dedicated to reviewing “dozens” of innovation programs situated across departments to see how they might be consolidated and simplified.

Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis is a staff writer at BetaKit. She’s a fourth-year journalism student interested in healthtech. She’s passionate about tight-knit teams working together, which is why she’s so fascinated by startup culture. Madonna’s hobbies include dragon boating, singing, and hosting a YouTube show about cat news.