Science policy questions for the 2015 Canadian Federal elections candidates

Update – September 30 2015 

We have received answers to our questions from the Liberal Party of Canada.  Read their response:

Liberal Party of Canada’s formal response to the CAN-ACN questionnaire.

2015-09-20: Read the answers we received from the Green Party

2015-09-30: Read the response from the NDP


We have sent the following questions to the Conservative party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Green Party. We have asked for a reply by September 15th.
Let’s make science policy an election issue.
If you are interested in hearing what the candidates have to say about this important issue, please help us spread the word:
Here are a few twitter handles you could use
@CanadianGreens @ElizabethMay
@CPC_HQ @EdHolder_MP @pmharper
@kennedystewart @NDP_HQ @ThomasMulcair
@liberal_party @JustinTrudeau

Or find your local candidate on

CAN’s letter to the candidates

Dear Federal Election Candidate,

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is the largest association of neuroscientists in Canada dedicated to the promotion of all fields of neuroscience research. Our association counts approximately 1000 members, all active researchers, with a common goal to ensure that Canadian neuroscience research remains one of the strengths of this country. As support from the federal government is essential to attain this goal, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience has chosen to write to candidates of all major parties for the 2015 elections to learn more about their policies to support both basic and applied research.

Here are three questions about your party’s research policy that we would like answered:

1. Financial support from the Canadian government is essential to ensure Canadian researchers continue to innovate and make important independent discoveries. Over the last years, many research teams have seen their budgets cut because of increasing demand and therefore decreasing success rates in open funding programs. How would your government work to reverse this trend?

2. How do you see the role of government in research? Should government agencies take an active role in identifying and targeting specific research priorities or should they benefit from the wealth of knowledge and information within our scientific communities by emphasizing the value of peer-review in determining the most exciting and important scientific research questions?

3. Many recent government policies favour research with immediate applied value and potential industrial partnership. However, most great discoveries in science come from basic, curiosity-driven research, and supporting basic research is therefore an investment in the future. Canadian scientists are worried the balance is currently shifted too strongly towards applied research, at the detriment of basic research. How would your government work to balance the need for both applied and curiosity-driven basic research?

We plan on publishing the answers to these questions on our website,, around mid-September, and would therefore appreciate if you could take the time to send us a response by that time.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about our association, our members or our objectives. We wish to thank you in advance for your collaboration.

Best regards,

Douglas P. Munoz, President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience