First report of the House of Commons Science and Research Committee

On June 6, the new House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research tabled its first ever report, as part of its study on “Successes, Challenges and Opportunities for Science in Canada”. The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences (CSMB) was one of sixteen organizations that submitted a written submission as part of the consultations. The Committee held meetings over the course of three months, which CSMB closely followed, hearing from science and research organizations, post-secondary institutions, companies and government departments.

CSMB welcomes all 13 of the recommendations made to government, and is pleased that two of our recommendations were specifically referenced in the report:

  • That the government increase investment in science and discovery research by 25%; and
  • That the government increase its investment in the Research Support Fund, over four years, to an additional $478 million.

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Recording available: Science Policy Session with Senator Stan Kutcher – April 25, 2022

Science Policy Session with Senator Stan Kutcher
Co-hosted by the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

On Monday, April 25, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience welcomed the Honourable Senator Stan Kutcher for a session on science policy and advice.

Watch the recording here:

Key takeaways:

  • Scientists must engage in advocacy, it is an important part of their job
  • We need more scientists in Parliament.
  • In the absence of more scientists in Parliament, we need scientists and researchers to advocate on behalf of their communities, and highlight the important work they are doing.
  • We have to help politicians understand how science is part of everything we do, and how if we don’t invest in basic science, we don’t have the tools and products required to improve people’s health and lives.
  • Scientists and researchers need to be their own champions, and try to find other long-term science champions both in the House of Commons and in the Senate.
  • We need to highlight how government investments need to be in creating a “science enterprise”, so that young people will want to stay in Canada instead of going elsewhere, or being put off from doing scientific research all together.
  • It takes constant, repeated, and clear messaging. Fundamental science is a long-game, and communicating its impacts to politicians is a long-game.
  • Canada’s scientists need to trumpet their successes more. While mainstream media doesn’t have as many scientific journalists as it used to, science communicators need to step up to fill the void and to tell the story of science.

How you can get involved:

If you are interesting in trying to meet with your local Member of Parliament to speak about the important work you are doing and the support

Federal Budget 2022 fails to support Canadian scientists and researchers

The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences echoes the disappointment being expressed by others in the scientific community in response to Federal Budget 2022. Funding for basic discovery research in the sciences has not received the financial support needed for the creation of new knowledge from Canada’s scientists, despite the pandemic clearly showing the necessity of ongoing investments to support fundamental research. We need to look only as far as the pandemic to realize the impact basic science has had on global health. Specifically, we would not have mRNA vaccines had there not been significant and sustained basic funding to basic scientists decades ago. Nor would we have artificial intelligence or machine learning without basic research, funded by the federal government, to researchers working on, at the time, novel ideas that had no obvious application. + + +

Advocacy update from Research Canada

Research Canada has submitted a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research – read it here

The Science and Research Committee is still accepting formal submissions to this study (Successes, Challenges and Opportunities for Science in Canada), and we encourage our Members to submit as soon as possible if you have not already done so.

The Committee has also agreed to launch a study on Top Talent, Research and Innovation. While the first meeting is yet to be scheduled, the Committee is now accepting briefs under this study.
Submit briefs to the Clerk of the Committee:
Mr. Leif-Erik Aune
Tel.: 613-943-9388
Email: SRSR@parl.gc.ca
Website: ourcommons.ca/SRSR-e

Senator Stan Kutcher: A Champion for Science in Parliament

Earlier this week, Senator Stan Kutcher (Nova Scotia) co-authored an article with Dr. Abraham Fuks (McGill University) in Policy Options titled Canada needs to grow basic science capacity.” This article is a great read that echoes our communities’ long-standing calls for increased and sustained investments in fundamental science as a critical driver of health security and economic prosperity. Since his nomination to the Senate in 2018, Dr. Kutcher has attended many Parliamentary Health Research Caucus events, and we are thrilled to see him continue to champion science and health research with his parliamentary colleagues and the Canadian public.

Our thanks and congratulations go to both the Senator and Dr. Fuks for working together on this great article!
Click here to read: Canada needs to grow basic science capacity