2015 has been a remarkable year for the CSMB in which we continued to focus on advocating for increased funding for fundamental research. As new initiatives and events occur we will strive to update you through new posting on our Advocacy Site.
Here I want to highlight what the CSMB has done this past year and our future plans to ensure the Liberal Government delivers on increasing support for Canada’s outstanding research labs.
- Member Letter Writing Campaigns.
In 2015 we continued our letter writing campaigns suggesting that recently funded scientists thank the government, thereby underlining the importance of funding for research. Post-election we have asked our members to tell our new government how the decline in funding for fundamental research is impacting their studies and the training of the next generation of students, but to also provide them with suggestions to improve science funding. Letters/emails to Members of Parliaments (MPs) remain an incredibly powerful tool to bring issues to the forefront for our parliamentarians, especially if received in large numbers. I encourage you to keep writing and talking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Health Jane Philpott, Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, and Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Singh Bainsand your local MP. Let them know about how decreases in success rates and changes to CIHR and NSERC are impacting your research. It is essential that they hear from you!
- CSMB Outreach to Parliamentarians.
The CSMB continues to take every opportunity to educate our government on the value of fundamental research for Canada. We continue to officially respond to the Federal Budget and make submissions for Pre-Budget Consultations to the House of Commons. We continue to advocate for budget increases for NSERC and CIHR to be directed to non-targeted open operating grant competitions and for continued investment in research infrastructure. In 2015 CSMB Past-President Christian Baron and I met with both NDP and Liberal Science Critics to discuss the major challenges of our members. Further working with our lobbying partner Research Canada we participate in events on Parliament Hill to get our message directly to MPs. Moving forward we will take every opportunity to meet with our new government to keep pressure on them to indeed strengthen support for fundamental research.
To help ensure that Science was part of the pre- and post-election discussions, the CSMB launched a petition to increase support of basic discovery research in Canada. With over 4000 signatures, this campaign was noticed by mainstream media, the public and politicians. Further CSMB ran an ad in the Hill Times to ask Prime Minister Trudeau to work with us to get researchers back into their labs. Stay tuned for future initiatives.
- Working with other Societies.
The CSMB is just one of many volunteer based science societies in Canada that are concerned about the sustainability of discovery research in Canada. Going forward it is essential that we work together to ensure we are all staying on message, coordinating our efforts, and helping each other out. For example this year Evidence for Democracyasked us to help increase survey participants from the biomedical sciences. Your response overwhelmed them and has had impact. This year we also joined the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE) to add our voice to their agenda and we will be coordinating a “Bacon and Eggheads” on Parliament Hill at which scientists present their work to and meet with MPs.