Budget 2018: Scientific research, grant funding see significant boost
Liberals eye reorganization of granting councils, National Research Council while boosting funding for scientific research.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
OTTAWA—The federal Liberals have proposed a significant boost in grants for science, health and humanities research over the next five years, promising to “modernize” Ottawa’s approach to supporting researchers.
The 2018 budget commits $925 million over the next five years for the three main research granting councils, representing a 25-per-cent increase in “fundamental research” over existing levels by 2021.
In addition, the budget proposed $275 million over the same period for “interdisciplinary . . . and higher-risk” research, to be administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
It’s the biggest ticket item in the Liberals’ new push for science and technology development, one of the main themes in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third budget. Like most other sections of the budget, it also touched on themes of gender equality and diversity.
“Budget 2018 represents the single largest investment in investigator-led fundamental research in Canadian history,” Morneau’s prepared remarks read.
“We’ll make sure that the new money for research supports the next generation of researchers so that we can build a science community that looks more like Canada: more diverse, and with a greater number of women.”
The funding will be administered by three arm’s-length granting councils —the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research — and the SSHRC.
The budget also commits $763 million over five years to improve research facilities and labs through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and $572.5 million over the same period to give researchers more access to advanced computing and big-data resources.
The Liberal budget plan also cuts down on the number of programs giving grants to the private sector, from 92 to roughly 35. That includes bringing regional economic agencies, such as the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, under one umbrella.