The Canadian Association for Neuroscience applauds new investments in science and research announced in budget 2024

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience applauds new investments in science and research announced in budget 2024 by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finances of Canada. These announcements demonstrate that scientific research has real-world benefits to people across Canada, to Canada’s economy, and to Canada’s future prosperity. We specifically applaud the following measures:

Increased funding for graduate student scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships

We applaud the increased support for Canadian science graduate students and postdoctoral fellowsBudget 2024 will provide $825 million over five years to increase the annual value of master’s and doctoral student scholarships to $27,000 and $40,000, respectively, and post-doctoral fellowships to $70,000. The number of research scholarships and fellowships will also be increased, building to approximately 1,720 more graduate students or fellows benefiting each year.

Paying students a living wage is the base for equity, diversity and inclusion, and an essential requirement to attract and retain the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds and not only those who are independently wealthy. Diversity breeds discovery and innovation, and the best way to promote diverse ideas and solutions for Canada’s toughest problems in areas such as climate change, health, economics, neuroscience and beyond is to recruit from a diverse pool of applicants. We are thankful to the Federal government for recognizing the important contributions our students and postdoctoral fellows make to Canada.

Increased funding for 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 the benefit of all Canadians

Budget 2024 proposes to provide $1.8 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, to SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR. This is a welcome increase to the basic funding mechanism for the Canadian science ecosystem.

These investments are critical to retaining talent in Canada, fueling innovation through made-in-Canada discoveries, responding to health challenges and enhancing productivity and competitiveness. Canadian scientists work for all Canadians, and governmental investments are critical to support their work.

Renewed funding for the Brain Canada Foundation

Budget 2024 announced investments of $20M per year, starting in 2024-2025 for four years, to support Brain Canada. Understanding how the brain works is key to addressing brain and mental health issues, which are among the most complex to understand, but also the most important we face as a Nation. Brain Canada plays a key role in our research ecosystem. Brain Canada is a national convenor and enabler of the Canadian brain research community, funding high-risk, high-reward brain research programs across the country. Brain Canada’s unique partnership with the Government of Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, has been a cornerstone in advancing brain research for over a decade.

We commend the government of Canada on recognizing the important work done by Brain Canada by renewed funding for this Canadian institution.

Other measures to support Canadian science and innovation

Budget 2024 includes many other measures to support Canadian science:

  •  Over $700M for World-Leading Research Infrastructure.
  • A new capstone research funding organization, under which the granting agencies will continue to support excellence in investigator-led research, to improve coordination across the federal research funding ecosystem.
  • $30M to support Indigenous researchers and their communities, with $10 million each for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit partners.
  • The creation of a new advisory Council on Science and Innovation with leaders from across the academic, industry, and not-for-profit sectors, to help set priorities and increase impacts of these federal investments.
  • $10 million for CIHR to support an endowment to increase prize values awarded by the Gairdner Foundation for excellence in health research.

Budget 2024 is a great step in the right direction, particularly in its support of trainees. We hope Canada will continue to expand our research efforts aiming toward a world class level comparable to other countries in the G7.

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience congratulates the government on investments announced in Budget 2024, and looks forward to continued collaboration to further improve support for the Canadian economy through scientific research.