A survey held in July 2020 shows that research laboratories have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of the physical distancing measures that were taken to combat the pandemic.
Research laboratories were completely closed for 3 months or more, and most are still not functioning at full capacity. Our survey showed that most researchers reported loss in at least one of the categories in the graph below.
Loss of highly qualified personnel
Students, Staff members, Post-Doctoral fellows, Clinical fellows or visiting scientists were lost during the COVID pandemic (Relocation, leave of absence, loss of funding, etc.)
29% of PIs reported loss of 1 or more Paid Staff (Research Associates/Scientists, Research Technicians/Assistants)
24% reported loss of 1 or more Post-Doctoral Fellows
49% reported loss of 1 or more Students
Loss of productivity
How many more studies (publications) do you expect your lab would have completed (i.e. paper submitted or resubmitted) if the pandemic had not occurred?
89% of PIs (302) reported the inability to complete and submit findings for publication (On average, this was 2.4 more studies.)
Loss of funding
Was any of the funding you expected to receive/applied for during 2020-21 cancelled or delayed?
42% of PIs (143) reported loss or delay in funding for 2020-21 because of the pandemic.
Estimated percent of budget required only for COVID recovery
To the question what percentage of your lab’s annual budget will you need to spend solely to compensate for losses, restart and recovery of your operations? The average response was 27%
CAN submission to Department of Finance pre-budget consultations
On January 25, 2021 – the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mona Fortier, launched pre-budget consultations. These discussions allow the government to hear the best ideas from Canadians and experts across the country about how Budget 2021 can support Canadians through the pandemic and help us build back better.
When COVID-19 is under control and Canada’s economy is ready to rebound, the government has a plan to make smart, targeted investments to jumpstart the country’s economic recovery and begin to repair the damage done by the pandemic. These pre-budget consultations are an opportunity for Canadians from across the country to share their ideas and priorities for how the government can best invest to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and build a greener, more competitive, more inclusive, and more resilient economy.
CAN President Charles Bourque participation in the Canadian Science Policy Conference as panelist
Professor Charles Bourque will participate in the session: Roles & Responsibilities of Academic Science Societies in informing Policy: Lessons & Observations from Around the World – November 17th at 8:30 via zoom, as part of the Canadian Science Policy Conference which takes place virtually this year.
CAN Hill week is taking place November 2-6, 2020, virtually
We are very excited to be organizing the first ever CAN Hill week, which will take place November 2 -6 2020, virtually. Our objective is to advocate for more funding for fundamental research in Canada through CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.
We have over 25 meetings organized in which over 50 CAN neuroadvocates will participate.
CAN Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finances
We have made the following recommendations
Recommendation 1: That the government of Canada provide a one-time 25% increase in investment in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for research restart and recovery from the setback of the COVID-19 pandemic to research laboratories in Canada.
Recommendation 2:The government should commit to providing robust and reliable funding for basic discovery research to sustain and grow Canada’s scientific community. 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) should be increased by at least 10% yearly, until commensurate with other G7 countries. This recommendation is in accordance with the Fundamental Science Review and will ensure Canada’s research ecosystem is healthy and resilient to face any future challenge. (more…)
COVID impact survey results
Thank you to all our members and colleagues who responsed to our survey on the impact of COVID-19 on researchers and laboratories in Canada. The full results of the survey are available here:
CAN was invited by SfN to participate once again in SfN’s Hill Day, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on March 5, 2020. CAN Vice-President Charles Bourque and CAN Past-President and current member of SfN’s GPA committee Jaideep Bains were present for this important event. Each was paired with a group of neuroadvocates from different states and to meet with elected officials and their staff to advocate for more funding for NIH and NSF. It was an opportunity to network with fellow neuroadvocates, to learn from our colleagues at SfN effective advocacy strategy.
“Support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Capitol Hill is bipartisan and strong. Republican and Democrats equally recognize the importance of investing in health research – this is truly inspiring. We have work to do in Canada to increase the support for our NIH equivalent, CIHR, but the example of the our US colleagues shows us how to do this, and the importance of being mobilized towards this goal.”
“Visiting US senators and representatives during Capitol Hill Day was a great experience. It confirmed that face-to-face contact and open discussion can have a real impact on the support elected officials have for science, and help build lasting relationships between scientists and politicians.”
We wish to thank Charles Bourque and Jaideep Bains for representing CAN at Hill Day.
The support CAN receives from SfN, both in terms of in-kind training and exchange, and funds for advocacy in Canada that we receive through our Memorandum of Understanding with SfN are of critical importance to allow us to pursue our advocacy goals in Canada.
CAN January 2020 Report on advocacy
CAN-ACN Annual Advocacy report – January 2020
Presented to SfN’s Government and Public Affairs committee by Jaideep Bains, CAN past president and GPA member.
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience has developed an active and efficient advocacy program over the last years thanks to the important support provided by the Society for Neuroscience. CAN will continue to build on the advocacy experience we have built, and, thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding with SfN which has taken effect in July 2019, will expand its efforts in the coming years.
Our main objective in the coming months is to engage directly with elected officials, senators and parliament hill staff through the organisation of the first Canadian Parliament Hill Day, which will take place March 31st, 2020. We have hired a Public Affairs, Temple Scott Associates, with experience in organizing such events, to help with the logistic and strategic organisation of our event. (more…)
CAN Parliament Hill Day – March 31st, 2020 – Call for participants
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is planning a day on Parliament Hill to advocate for increased federal funding for scientific research, through increased investments in the three main granting councils of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience wants to bring a diverse group of neuroscientists to Parliament Hill to share their stories with Members of Parliament, Senators and Parliament Hill staff members. (more…)
Science was not an Election 2019 issue – but it should be a priority for the next Government
During Election 2019, the issue of poorly funded scientific research in Canada was not addressed by the major Parties and their leaders. Now, scientists across the country are concerned that they will not have the needed Federal support to make groundbreaking discoveries that move Canada and the world forward.
Investing in scientific research isn’t just important for scientists, it impacts the daily lives of all Canadians. From innovative treatments to cure diseases that affect millions of Canadians, to new technologies that can help us address the global climate crisis, scientific research is essential to confronting the issues that we face today and that our children will meet in the future. These investments are not simply expenses; they contribute significantly to the prosperity of our country, which gains from the work of highly-trained scientists, and the knowledge they generate, to drive today’s innovation-based economy. (more…)
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