CSMB launches effort to encourage business leaders across Canada to voice their support to the federal government for increased funding of fundamental research through the tri-councils as recommended in the Naylor Report.
The CSMB Board has launched a campaign to encourage business leaders to submit letters of support for the Naylor Report funding recommendations to the Finance Committee through a new pre-budget consultation process that opened in November 2018 (#YourBudget2018) and that can be found here.
The approach is through face-to-face meetings with local business/biotech leaders across Canada to educate regarding the Naylor Report content, and in that context, to communicate that we are in a crisis situation; tri-council open operating funding envelopes must be increased as recommended by Naylor to get back to 2007 level (operating dollars/investigator such that mid and junior rank scientists are able to get funding and sustain their programs).
Industry depends not only on the research output of fundamental science, but is critically dependent on highly trained personnel in their workforce. When made aware of the funding decline (35% per researcher for investigator-initiated research since 2007), and the international comparisons (%GDP budgeted to Rand D relative to other countries), support of the Naylor Report to government seems highly justified from the industry standpoint.
As the Fundamental Science Review Panel report shows, Canada is falling behind. Government funding for research has been steadily declining over the past 15 years and Canada is no longer in the top 30 nations for research spending (relative to GDP). In constant dollars, granting council funding per researcher has been in steady decline since 2008 (down by 35%). This means that Canadian researchers are unable to fund the operations of their laboratories (salaries and supplies) due to lack of available federal funds and the extremely low success rates at the grant panels. As a result, Canada is stalling relative to international peers.
It is critical that Canada re-invest in investigator-initiated fundamental research through the tri-councils (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC), at the levels recommended in the Naylor Report.
Fundamental research is the key to all major scientific innovations, and absolutely critical to the national research ecosystem. Federal support of research-based science training, at internationally competitive levels, is vital in establishing the talents, skills, and ambitions of the next generation of innovators and the Canadian workforce at large. Industry relies not only on foundational discoveries, but also absolutely on the pool of university science graduates to provide a skilled workforce in our companies.
A template letter was put together (in collaboration with Evidence for Democracy) to assist business leaders in composing a support letter, and in submitting it easily through the appropriate channels.
Some background material in making the case to industry can be found here: