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.
We look forward to seeing the government’s response to this important report.
The 13 recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research can be found below:
That the Government of Canada, in partnership with the provinces and territories where possible, consider creating a pan-Canadian health research data repository.
That the Government of Canada consider new funding models for major research facilities covering their entire life cycle.
That the Government of Canada make the Chief Science Adviser position permanent by enshrining its mandate in an Act of Parliament.
That the Government of Canada review the advisability of more closely integrating the programming of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to strengthen their cooperation and align their policies.
That the Government of Canada review and increase its investments in fundamental research through increases to the budgets of the three granting councils.
That the Government of Canada consider creating mechanisms to improve continuity of funding or to facilitate the renewal of funding provided by the three granting councils.
That the Government of Canada increase the number of scholarships and fellowships to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and increase their value by 25% and index it to the consumer price index.
That the Government of Canada index science funding, including the value of scholarships and fellowships to graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, to the consumer price index on an ongoing basis.
That the Government of Canada consider improving how the indirect costs of research are taken into account in the funding provided by granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
That the granting councils recognize a minimum of 225 technology access centres, including Quebec’s 59 college centres for technology transfer and innovative social practices, under the College and Community Innovation Program.
That the Government of Canada include part of the indirect costs of research in the research funding granted to colleges and that the granting councils reform the structure of the grants to better accommodate the research application model in Canada’s colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics.
That the Government of Canada study how the criteria used by the granting councils to evaluate excellence affect the ability of research institutions outside major cities to secure federal funding and consider new funding models to remedy any disproportionality in funding allocation between universities based on regionality.
That the Government of Canada step up its efforts in support of equity, diversity and inclusion in the research ecosystem in order to tap into all of the talent available in Canada.