Excerpts: Research ecosystem reacts to Budget 2018

Veronica Silva
March 13, 2018

The 2018 federal budget has delivered the largest investment in science, technology and innovation in history. The whole research community has expressed satisfaction that their concerted efforts to lobby behind the Naylor report recommendations -- foremost of which was an increase in granting council funding – did not fall on deaf ears.

Here are what some stakeholders are saying about the budget:

“Our community is thrilled with the new investment of $210 million over five years for the Canada Research Chairs Program to attract and retain leading early-career researchers including increasing the number of women who are nominated for Canada Research Chairs. This funding could result in 250 additional Chairs for early- career researchers by 2020–21, which will go a long way towards ensuring that Canada’s future Nobel Prize winners remain on Canadian soil.”

-- Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, president and CEO, Research Canada

"Following Research Canada’s Parliamentary Health Research Caucus Reception on Indigenous Health Research in Canada (May 2017), where Indigenous health researchers showcased their groundbreaking research to Parliamentarians, we are delighted with Budget 2018’s $1.5 billion investment in Indigenous health and the $3.8 million investment through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to develop a strategic plan that identifies new ways of undertaking research with Indigenous communities."

-- Research Canada

“We simply could not do what we do without continued investment in science and research. It is gratifying to see the government’s recognition of science in this budget, and we at the CCA look forward to our continued work with the broader science community.”

-- Dr Eric M. Meslin, FCAHS, president and CEO, Council of Canadian Academies

“Restoring investment in Canadian discovery science is critical to Canada’s future well-being and productivity. The case for science and inquiry has been recognized as a key, non-partisan, national priority that requires and deserves long-term stable funding. The current budget recognizes this and makes a substantial contribution to rectifying funding issues. History reminds us, time and again, that the economic and health benefits of innovation are dependent on the growth of the body of knowledge generated from fundamental discovery-based research.

“CSMB is committed to working closely with the Chief Science Advisor, the Ministers of Science and Health, other government officials, and all partners and stakeholders to strengthen Canada’s research environment in the years ahead. We know there is much more that we need to do to fully realize the tremendous potential of Canadian research and we will continue to generate evidence of the value and role of discovery science. Cooperation, honesty, and trust between the scientific community and government in the years ahead will restore Canada to its rightful place among the global leaders in research and development.

-- Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences (CSMB)

“It was important for the government to demonstrate to innovators, venture capitalists and angel investors that any new tax measures will not be punitive towards the innovation ecosystem. Canada has a revenue problem, and innovators believe the best way for the government to grow new revenues is by helping its most market proven technology companies to scale-up globally, so they can create more well-paying jobs here in Canada.”

-- Council of Canadian Innovators on the impact of tax changes on the innovation economy 

"The government’s Cyber Security Strategy, which was announced in Budget 2018 and will be released in more detail in the coming weeks, provides Communications Security Establishment (CSE) funding ($155M over five years and $44.5M ongoing) to develop a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and ($116M over five years and $23M ongoing) to support the creation of a National Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit. However, with the remaining $236M over five years, and $41.2M, we will need to help move the dial forward in protecting Canadian citizens and companies from cyber attacks. The ICT industry will be looking for measures and investments that will make Canada more cyber secure and that have a direct focus on developing cyber talent, innovation and the adoption of security solutions, especially amongst SMEs in all other sectors of the Canadian economy."

-- Information Technology Association of Canada

“Innovative Medicines Canada and its member companies welcome the appointment of Dr. Eric Hoskins as the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders.

"We are keen to engage in the national dialogue on how best to move forward to ensure all Canadians have fair, equitable and affordable access to the medicines they need, when they need them. We believe in closing the gaps in coverage to help those who are uninsured and underinsured."

-- Pamela Fralick, president, Innovative Medicines Canada

“The government repeatedly highlighted their commitment to evidence-based decision-making, including through increased funding for Statistics Canada, and a proposal to modernize Statistics Canada, potentially through legislation to ensure it can respond to the data needs of today.

“This success for science in Budget 2018 didn’t happen by chance, it happened because the research community pulled together and advocated in an unprecedented way over the last year. We’re thrilled that the government listened to the concerns of the research community and followed through with these significant investments that will help train the next generation of innovators and improve the daily lives of Canadians.”

-- Katie Gibbs, executive director, Evidence for Democracy

“The research investments announced in Budget 2018 are vital contributions to universities across Canada. This level of support will allow Waterloo to attract the best talent possible from around the world to develop homegrown breakthroughs in science, engineering and math that will help solve global challenges facing society today.”

-- Dr Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor, Univ of Waterloo

“The federal government’s 2018 budget takes some admirable steps toward securing Canada from cyber criminals, but is otherwise a fiscally irresponsible, red-tape happy document that will stifle, rather than encourage, growth in the country’s tech sector. In addition to failing to create a fiscally responsible budget, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have failed to create a consistent support net to support their much-vaunted “innovation superclusters,” nor have they accounted for the changing circumstances in Canada’s business relationship with the U.S.,

-- John Reid, CEO, Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)

“We are delighted to see considerable new federal investments in the granting councils, CFI and other key science initiatives, which portend a healthy research ecosystem for Canada for years to come.  Genome Canada’s work aligns closely with these programs and initiatives. We look forward to being an integral contributor to Canadian innovation through world-class research and collaboration among researchers and research funders. The government recognizes that genomics is a big user and generator of data and we look forward to working with the task group to develop the Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy. Further, Genome Canada is supportive of the government’s policy direction and concrete initiatives to increase inclusion, diversity and gender equity in Canada’s research system as well as in business innovation programs.

-- Marc LePage, president and CEO, Genome Canada

“Support for science is as important today as it has ever been and supporting research comes with tremendous commercial and societal value. Today’s investment by the Government of Canada addresses a critical need to provide post-secondary researchers with sustained support across the spectrum, from fundamental research to commercialization.”

-- Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

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