Federal spending on biotechnology S&T takes major jump in FY01-02

Guest Contributor
March 31, 2003

CIHR biggest spender

Genome Canada and increased funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) helped push federal expenditures on biotechnology R&D and related scientific activities up 28.6% in FY01-02. Federal biotech spending reached $512.9 million, up from $398.8 million the year before, strengthening the research base for a sector touted as a pillar of Canada’s emerging know-ledge-based economy. Of the total, $494 million or 96% was devoted to R&D.

CIHR is the largest single funder of biotechnology R&D at $176.4 million, up a healthy $42.7 million or 32% over FY01-02. Of that amount, $117.2 million went to higher education, $44 million went to other performers and $3.1 million went to foreign performers. In second spot and also experiencing a substantial increase is the National Research Council (NRC), which boosted expenditures 18.4% from $110.3 million in FY00-01 to $130.6 million in FY01-02

The government itself is the largest single performer of biotechnology R&D, accounting for $231.4 million or 45.1% of the FY01-02 total. The NRC outperforms the next largest department or agency by a margin of two to one.

Of the $130.6 million attributed to the NRC, $127.6 million was spent internally, with the remainder ($3 million) going to the business sector and “other performers”. The second largest intramural performer is Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at $63.9 million, all of which was spent internally.

After intramural spending, higher education represents the second largest performer of federally funded biotechnology S&T. Those institutions performed $163.8 million, down slightly from FY00-01 ($169.8 million) and FY99-00 ($169.2 million). Genome Canada and a considerable portion of CIHR spending is categorized as Other Performers, which explains the explosion in that category from $2.7 million in FY00-01 to $79.9 million in FY01-02. Federal funding of the business sector accounted for $33.5 million in FY01-02 — relatively stable compared to the previous two years — while foreign performers accounted for $4.4 million, up from less than $1 million in FY00-01.

With the rise in biotech R&D spending, there was a commensurate increase in the number of scientific, professional and technical personnel. From a base of 1,234 person years in FY99-00, the number of workers increased 5.3% to 1,300 in FY00-01 and 15.4% to 1,500 in FY01-02. Of the most recent total, 40% were scientific and professional, 41% were technical and the remaining 19% were classified as “other”.

More than half of the 1,500 personnel engaged in biotechnology S&T are employed by the NRC (825), followed by AAFC (400), Natural Resources Canada (77), CIHR (65) and Health Canada (43).


Federal Biotechnology S&T Expenditures

($ millions)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research133.6133.6176.4
National Research Council108.6110.3130.6
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada55.557.263.9
Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council44.044.648.6
Industry Canada32.930.434.7
Genome Canada0034.3
Natural Resources Canada7.57.99.1
Health Canada4.74.77.6
Fisheries & Oceans Canada2.62.23.7
Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council1.12.72.5
Environment Canada1.44.91.6
Total S&T Expenditures392.0398.8512.9
Source: Statistics Canada — Volume 27, Number 1

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