Budget 2024 must grow Canada’s research capacity, coalition urges

The University of Toronto (U of T) has joined fellow members of the Coalition for Canadian Research who are calling on the federal government to invest in Canada’s research ecosystem in this spring’s upcoming budget.  

The Coalition is urging all Canadians to add their voice to this call for new investments in science and research funding by participating in a campaign at www.researchcoalition.ca. 

Made up of 12 national associations, the coalition represents the combined voices of post-secondary institutions, university and hospital-based researchers, faculty, early career researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and students, as well as research hospitals, health charities, and leading life sciences companies across Canada. 

The call-to-action echoes that in the Report of the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System. Also known as the Bouchard Report, the panel urged the federal government to increase funding for granting agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR, plus CFI) and graduate scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships. 

“Canada has many strengths in this new strategic race, including unparalleled access to talent, an increasingly successful commercialization pipeline from researchers to business, and a federal government focused on developing the industries of tomorrow,” notes Leah Cowen, U of T’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives.   

“At the same time, stagnating support for research at our universities threatens to undermine these institutions as foundations for competitiveness. Without reinvestment, both home-grown and global talent will look elsewhere, jeopardizing one of the country’s advantages,” adds Cowen. 

The upcoming federal Budget is an opportunity for the federal government to change course and commit to supporting science and research in 2024 and beyond.  

As the coalition explains, stagnating funding has significant and negative implications: 

This spring’s budget “is an opportunity to invest in a successful future, underpinned by a vibrant research ecosystem… Canada can be a world leader, but not without investing in our knowledge economy,” said Cowen.  

(By Catrina Kronfli)

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