President Biden’s visit a chance to reflect on Canada’s support for research and science
OTTAWA—United States President Joe Biden made his first visit to Canada this week to discuss shared opportunities and strengthen links between our countries. His visit throws into sharp contrast the United States’ strong commitment to supporting research and innovation, and Canada’s failure to keep up.
The health of Canada’s research ecosystem is central to fostering innovation and developing talent—two critical elements Canada needs to ensure its long-term prosperity. Recognizing the increasing importance of research and innovation in our increasingly competitive world, President Biden’s administration recently made significant new commitments for research through the CHIPS and Sciences Act, which amount to over $200 billion USD for fundamental research.
Canada must follow suit to remain competitive. The Report of the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System—otherwise known as the ‘Bouchard Report’—released its findings Monday. The report noted that federal funding for research in Canada is insufficient and recommends significant increases to Canada’s granting councils and research scholarships.
“In the United States and around the world, Canada’s peers are increasing research funding because they see the economic opportunities of providing long-term and stable funding for science. The visit of President Biden must be a reality check for the Canadian government that without similar ambition, we will miss out on these opportunities,” said Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada.
The new opportunities for researchers presented by President Biden’s historic investments in research will also make it increasingly difficult for Canada to attract top talent and keep those we already have here. Across the country, Canada’s universities develop exceptionally talented researchers and innovators who will be needed to address the long-term labour needs in the highly skilled sectors of the future economy. Losing talent because of stagnant federal scholarships or declining research support could cause long-term damage to Canada’s future prosperity.
The upcoming federal budget, therefore, is a crucial moment to learn from the ambitious strategy of President Biden by renewing federal support for research. Universities Canada is proposing renewed investments in research funding through the federal granting agencies, the creation of an additional 1,000 Canada Research Chairs and enhancements to the Canada Graduate Scholarships to restore their value to historic levels.
Collectively, these measures can help Canada be an engaged partner with the United States in the pioneering research which will benefit both our countries and the world.
Tagged: Research and innovation
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Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.
Assistant Director, Communications