The GYA is publishing a new report on “Restoring Canada’s Competitiveness in Fundamental Research: The View from the Bench” today. The report by GYA members Julia Baum and Jeremy Kerr reveals that Canada’s support for fundamental research crumbled over the past decade, due to the previous government’s disregard for fundamental research. As a result, many accomplished researchers in Canada are now left completely unfunded and Canada’s future as global leader for innovation and discovery is at stake.
Complementing Canada’s recently released Fundamental Science Review, the new report uniquely provides the perspective of over 1,300 members of the Canadian research community, from the on-line survey that was conducted for the report.
Dismantling support for fundamental research has changed the very nature of how science is conducted in Canada and had a profound impact on the Canadian research community. Strikingly – and primarily in response to the loss of fundamental research funding – the proportion of researchers who reported that they only conduct fundamental research collapsed from 24% for 2006-2010 to <2% for 2011-2015.
The accumulated funding gap for fundamental research in Canada had reached $535 million by 2015. Canada’s new Liberal government began to address this deficit with the 2016 federal budget, adding $76 million to the three granting councils. The report’s authors suggest that investment of $459 million – the outstanding funding gap – for fundamental research is needed.
The report further recommends that fundamental research funding should be linked to the number of active researchers in the Canadian research community, and that doing so would be likely to sharply increase Canada’s research impact globally.
The report is the outcome of the GYA’s working group on the “Importance of Fundamental Research”. See their page here for further information and to read the report.