Lab Canada

Research income at Canadian universities shows a strong 6% growth

Toronto, ON – Canada’s top 50 research universities posted strong 6% growth in their total sponsored research income in fiscal 2008, according to Canada Top 50 Research Universities List 2009 released last week by Research Infosource.

Total research income reached $6.1 billion in fiscal 2008, up from $5.7 billion in fiscal 2007. Thirty-four institutions increased their income in 2008 and 16 reported declines. A 7% increase in funding from federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, CFI) combined with a 10.3% jump in corporate support, a 10.5% rise in non-corporate funding and a 13.4% jump in funding from the not-for-profit/foundation sector helped offset a -22.8% decline in funding from foreign sources and a precipitous -47.3% drop in funding from endowments/investments. Provincial government funding grew by a modest 3%.

“Against the backdrop of a weakening economy, a 6% rise in research income growth came as a relief,” says Ron Freedman, CEO of Research Infosource. “With government sources accounting for about 70% of all university research income, stable support from the public sector, the federal government in particular, is vital. Contrary to some recent statements, the public sector has obviously made a decision not to cut research support in an effort to protect and stabilize the post-secondary system.”

Eight provinces posted increases in research income growth in fiscal 2008. Saskatchewan, with two universities on the Top 50 list, leads the pack with a 30.3% jump in research income. Prince Edward Island, with one institution on the list is next with a 24.9% increase. British Columbia’s four universities reported 17.9% growth in research income, while Nova Scotia’s five universities showed an 11.7% jump in research income growth. For the first time in three years, Québec institutions posted research income growth in excess of the national average with an 8.9% rise for the thirteen universities on the Top 50 list. Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario reported modest increases below the national average. With one university on the list, Manitoba showed a 4.4% rise, Alberta’s three universities posted 2.1% growth, and Ontario with 18 institutions reported a 1.2% increase. Two Atlantic provinces showed decreases in research income growth. New Brunswick’s two universities reported a -1.6% drop and Newfoundland with one university posted an -8.8% decrease in research income growth in fiscal 2008.

In fiscal 2008, Ontario universities accounted for the lion’s share of research income funding with 40% of the total, down from 42% in 2007. Québec’s institutions accounted for 25%, up from 24% in 2007.

Alberta dropped its share by 1% to 12% of the total and British Columbia gained a percentage point, going from 10% in fiscal 2007 to 11% in 2008.

More details are available on Research Infosource’s website at