Significant Investments in Budget 2018 will Revitalize Canadian Scientific Research

February 27, 2018 (OTTAWA, ON) — The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities welcomes Budget 2018, which includes major increases in funding for scientific research.

“We commend the Canadian government for its bold investments in research in Budget 2018, which will revitalize Canadian scientific research.” says Dr. Guy Breton, U15 Chair and Rector of the University of Montreal. “These investments are investments in Canada’s future. They will drive economic growth by giving Canadians the skills they need to succeed, build research capacity that the private sector can leverage, and generate discoveries that will improve our health, safety and quality of life.”

Key investments include:

  • $1.22 Billion over 5 years in new funding to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), known collectively as the Tri-Council, including:

o   $354.7M for CIHR

o   $354.7M for NSERC

o   $215.5M for SSHRC

o   $275 M in a new fund aimed at research that is international, multidisciplinary, and fast breaking research.

o   $21M to increase diversity in science.

  • Stable funding for scientific research infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) of $763M over 5 years.

o   Includes $160 million for Major Science Initiatives Fund.

  • $231 Million over 5 years in funding for the Research Support Fund, which funds the indirect costs of research.
  • $572.5 Million over 5 years to support digital research infrastructure plus $52 Million ongoing. This includes a Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy.
  • $210 Million over 5 years for the Canada Research Chairs program which will create significant renewal for Canada’s research faculty, and will improve outcomes in terms of equity and early career researchers. 
  • A national strategy on Major Research Facilities, to be formulated in 2018.
  • Innovation-related programs with CIHR and NSERC will be amalgamated within each of the councils respectively.
  • $108M per year for the National Research Council for each of the next 5 years.

“The U15 applauds the leadership that Science Minister Kirsty Duncan showed in commissioning the Fundamental Science Review in 2016. This was the first comprehensive review of the Canadian science ecosystem in decades,” Breton adds.  “The review and the Minister’s tireless efforts paved the way for these investments.”

The U15 is also pleased at the government’s efforts to increase equity and diversity, Breton says. “Canada’s research capacity is strengthened by ensuring diverse views and perspectives are well-represented in the academy.”

The U15 would like to thank all the students, researchers, university leaders and associations who came together in support of these critical investments.