Lab Canada

Research income grows 3.6% to $6.5B for top Canadian universities

Toronto, ON – In fiscal 2010, total research income for Canada’s Top 50 Universities was $6.5 billion, an increase of 3.6% over 2009. According to Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List 2011, released by Research Infosource, research income includes all internal and external government and non-government sources. Thirty-three universities posted increases in their research income in 2010, compared with 17 universities that posted a decrease.

“The 2010 result caps a decade in which university research income rose by 134%,” said Ron Freedman, CEO, Research Infosource. “To illustrate, total research income in 2000 was $2.76 billion, which indicates how strongly the sector has grown.”

The majority of research is conducted at medical/doctoral universities. Sixteen medical/doctoral universities accounted for 81% of total research income received by the top 50. A group of 12 comprehensive institutions accounted for 14%, followed by 22 undergraduate universities accounting for 5% of the total. This year, medical/doctoral institutions gained 4.3% in total research income, compared with the 3.6% national gain. The twelve comprehensive institutions saw their income rise by only 0.02%, whereas income rose by 2.8% at 22 undergraduate institutions.

Sixteen universities, down from 17 in 2009, recorded research income of $100 million or more in 2010. Most have medical schools attracting considerable amounts of research support. Overall, 11 of the total saw their research income grow, while 5 others saw a decline.

“Research income growth actually outstripped overall economic growth in 2010, which is an encouraging sign,” added Freedman. “Clearly, Canada’s leading universities are powerful research engines that rely on a continuous stream of funding. Since government sources account for 68% of the total, indicating how closely university research income is tied to the fortunes of the public sector, unless university research is singled out for special attention it is hard to see how the sector will escape some cutbacks. The silver lining is that the substantial growth of research funding of 134% over the last decade leaves a strong legacy of research infrastructure and activity that can buffer the system, at least for a short time.”

As a new feature to this year’s list, Research Infosource highlighted the topic of research publication intensity growth, (2004-2009). Scholarly publications are a key output of university research. Publication intensity (the average number of publications per full-time faculty) is a way of comparing the publishing performance of different institutions. This year’s spotlight examined the 5-year growth in publication output. The top institutions in each category are University of Toronto (medical/doctoral), York University (comprehensive) and Ryerson University (undergraduate).

The full list is available at