COVID related costs and loss for scientific laboratories

Short summary of the results of the

CAN-ACN survey on impact of COVID-19 on researchers and laboratories in Canada (click for full results)

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%


First report of the new House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research tabled on June 6

On June 6, the new House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research tabled its first ever report, as part of its study on “Successes, Challenges and Opportunities for Science in Canada”. The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) was one of sixteen organizations that submitted a written submission as part of the consultations. The Committee held meetings over the course of three months, which CAN closely followed, hearing from science and research organizations, post-secondary institutions, companies and government departments.

CAN welcomes all 13 of the recommendations made to government, and is pleased that one of our recommendations (An initial 25% boost to the budgets of the three granting councils followed by a 10% yearly increase) was specifically referenced in the report. Additionally, we are happy to see that the Committee has recognized the tremendous setback to Canada’s research ecosystem caused by the pandemic, and the impact of the rapid mobilization of resources to conduct COVID-19 research, sometimes at the expense of research on other health issues. (more…)


Advocacy training at CAN2022

We are happy to make the slides for the CAN Advocacy training presented May 13 over lunch in Toronto available

CAN Advocacy training presentation (PDF)

CAN Advocacy – Selected resources & contact list (May 2022) 

(more…)


Recording available: Science Policy Session with Senator Stan Kutcher – April 25, 2022

Co-hosted by the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

On Monday, April 25, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience welcomed the Honourable Senator Stan Kutcher for a session on science policy and advice.

Key takeaways:

  • Scientists must engage in advocacy, it is an important part of their job
  • We need more scientists in Parliament.
  • In the absence of more scientists in Parliament, we need scientists and researchers to advocate on behalf of their communities, and highlight the important work they are doing.
  • We have to help politicians understand how science is part of everything we do, and how if we don’t invest in basic science, we don’t have the tools and products required to improve people’s health and lives.
  • Scientists and researchers need to be their own champions, and try to find other long-term science champions both in the House of Commons and in the Senate.
  • We need to highlight how government investments need to be in creating a “science enterprise”, so that young people will want to stay in Canada instead of going elsewhere, or being put off from doing scientific research all together.
  • It takes constant, repeated, and clear messaging. Fundamental science is a long-game, and communicating its impacts to politicians is a long-game.
  • Canada’s scientists need to trumpet their successes more. While mainstream media doesn’t have as many scientific journalists as it used to, science communicators need to step up to fill the void and to tell the story of science.

(more…)


CAN-ACN response to budget 2022 – “A Plan to Grow our Economy and Make Life More Affordable”

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience recognizes key investments that were made to support targeted research areas in budget 2022 but calls on the government to provide broader support to the Canadian scientific community through increased funding for fundamental research. We are specifically disappointed with the lack of increased support for non-targeted, hypothesis-driven & investigator-led research funded through Tri-Agency – Canadian Institutes of Health Research – CIHR, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council – NSERC, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council -SSHRC). (more…)


March 21 – 25, 2022 is CAN Parliament Hill Week

Canadian neuroadvocates are meeting with members of Parliament, Senators and Parliamentary staff this week for CAN Parliament Hill Week!

We are advocating for increased funding for basic research in Canada, provided through CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC. Our specific asks are:

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 predictable 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. This recommendation is in accordance with the 2017 Fundamental Science Review and will ensure Canada’s research ecosystem is healthy and resilient to face any future challenge.

Read more in our

Follow us on social media this week #CANHillWeek #NeuroAdvocate


CAN submission to the House of Commons Standing committee on Science and Research

Read CAN’s submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research, for the Study titled: SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SCIENCE IN CANADA

Increased investment in scientific research: An investment in the health and prosperity of Canadians today and tomorrow

Published on the House of Commons website on March 14, 2022


Read our submission to the pre-budget consultations

Increased investment in scientific research: An investment in the health and prosperity of Canadians today and tomorrow

We have made the following recommendations to the government in the pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2022 Federal budget:

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 predictable 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. This recommendation is in accordance with the 2017 Fundamental Science Review and will ensure Canada’s research ecosystem is healthy and resilient to face any future challenge.

You can read our full submission here

Consultations take place until February 25, 2022, here:  https://www.letstalkbudget2022.ca/let-s-talk-budget-2022


CAN advocacy award winner: Who can become a scientist?

CAN is proud to support the “Who can become a scientist?” workshop

Description of event

Who can become a scientist? is a workshop for a high school age audience. The workshop is approximately 1.5 hours and is currently in a virtual format. The program is led by a team of dedicated undergraduate and graduate volunteers, and pairs module-based education about equity diversity and inclusion issues in science along with audience-participation activities. The workshop begins with a ~25 min interactive introduction, that includes participants being asked to participate in a poll regarding their career interests and to draw or write a description of a scientist (not for sharing with the group just for their own reference). This is followed by a number of self and pair/small group reflection-type questions and then leads into 3 optional modules, titled:

  1. Getting inspired by role models: “If you can see it, you can be it!”
  2. Leveraging support from mentors
  3. Advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion

Target audience / Outreach potential

The target audience is high school age students, but could be adapted to broaden the scope. We expect to reach between 50 and 200 high school age students in this first year.

Main objective of event

To promote the awareness and importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in science.

Organizer(s)

The idea for the workshop was sparked by a discussion about equity, diversity and inclusion amongst members of the Swayne lab at the University of Victoria. Over the past year, the workshop has been developed by a collaborative group including members the Swayne lab, University of Victoria faculty members, and students at the University of Victoria together with the local chapter of Let’s Talk Science, with input and feedback from the University of Victoria Office of Equity and Human Rights.

Developers & Organizers:

Leigh Anne Swayne
Rebecca Candlish
Juan Sanchez-Arias
Emma van der Slagt
Afnan Juma
Dzifa Dordunoo
Jane Gair
Moussa Magassa
Elisa Gonçalves de Andrade
Simone St. Louis Anderson
Melissa Mills
Hannah Richards
Crystal Washington

 


New advocacy opportunities

CAN is proud to launch two new advocacy initiatives today:

  1. The CAN federal election engagement toolkit
  2. The Canadian Science Discoveries Video contest

The CAN federal election engagement toolkit

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) has several priorities this Federal Election, including:

  • A commitment to provide a one-time 25% increase in investment in the Canadian Institute 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.
  • A commitment to provide robust and predictable funding for basic discovery research to sustain and grow Canada’s scientific community. Funding to the CIHR, the NSERC and the SSHRC should be increased by at least 10% yearly.
  • A commitment to reinstate a dedicated Minister of Science, so that the unique needs of the scientific community may have a devoted seat at the Cabinet table.

As such, we have prepared an “Election Toolkit” for CAN Members looking to get engaged throughout the election which is available in the CAN Election Readiness Google Drive here: shorturl.at/dowzC . If you have any questions, or if you need further assistance, please feel free to contact Kristina Proulx from TSA at kproulx@tsa.ca.

The Canadian Science Discoveries Video contest

The goal of this contest, which is open to everyone, is to raise awareness of the importance of fundamental science by sharing Canadian science success stories

View all the details of the contest here: https://can-acn.org/canadian-science-discoveries-video-contest/


Read CAN’s submission to the pre-budget consultations of the House of Commons standing committee on Finances

Read CAN’s submission here: Increased investment in scientific research: An investment in the health and prosperity of Canadians today and tomorrow (PDF)

You can submit a brief also! The Standing Committee on Finance is accepting submission to its Pre-Budget Consultations in advance of the 2022 budget. Written submissions of no more than 2,000 words, can be submitted to the Committee until Friday, August 6, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. More information is available in the news release.

We also invite all our members to share our brief with their member of Parliament and election candidates.