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Federal budget includes fresh focus on science and research


Ottawa, ON – The federal government’s new budget, unveiled this week, includes measures to help strengthen Canada’s science and research base, particularly by investing in infrastructure at post-secondary institutions and federal laboratories.

 

A new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will provide up to $2 billion over three years to support up to 50 percent of the eligible costs of infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions and affiliated research and commercialization organizations.

 

The budget also includes a return to support of basic research in universities. Investigator-led discovery research will be supported with an additional $95 million per year on an ongoing basis being provided to granting councils, which the government says is the highest amount of new annual funding for discovery research in more than a decade. It will be broken down as follows:

– $30 million for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR);

– $30 million for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC);

– $16 million for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); and

– $19 million for the Research Support Fund to support indirect costs borne by post-secondary institutions in undertaking federally sponsored research.

 

In addition to funding of $46 million for 2016-17 that was already provided in the 2015 federal budget, the government says a total of $141 million in new annual resources will be made available to the granting councils going forward.

 

Numerous organizations that support research will also be receiving support to help them in their work of attracting and retaining top researchers and to develop and commercialize promising research, including:

– Mitacs will receive $14 million over 2 years;

– Genome Canada will receive $237.2 million in 2016-17 to support activities to the end of 2019-20;

– The Centre for Drug Research and Development will receive up to $32 million over two years, starting in 2017-18;

– The Stem Cell Network will receive up to $12 million over 2 years;

– The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics will receive $50 million over five years, beginning in 2017-18; and

– The Brain Canada Foundation will receive up to $20 million over three years.

 

The budget also provides significant support for federal laboratories, for example with $30 million over six year being provided to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to support advanced research in agricultural genomics. In addition, to ensure that federal laboratories and research centres across the country have the infrastructure and equipment necessary to conduct cutting-edge scientific research, the budget provides for $41.5 million to support the “rehabilitation and modernization” of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency research stations and labs in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

 

Funding will also be provided to ensure strong federal science capabilities in areas such as health, safety and the environment. Support of business innovation will be furthered by funding to the following organizations:

– $87.2 million for Natural Resources Canada projects that support research in forestry, mining and minerals, earth sciences and mapping, and innovation in energy technology;

– $8.7 million for Canadian Space Agency projects; and

– $18.5 million for Natural Research Council of Canada projects.

 

Collaborations are being supported with up to $800 million over four years, starting in 2017-18, to support innovation networks and clusters as part of a new federal Innovation Agenda that is still to be developed. To that end, the government says the federal minister of science will conduct a comprehensive review of all elements of federal support for fundamental science over the coming years.