Science Policy Report

Kris Poduska, Director of Science Policy

Canadian science is on the precipice of big changes, and you can help make it happen.

The state of fundamental science in Canada was recently evaluated in a remarkably detailed document (the Naylor report), at the request of the federal government. The full report is available online (http://www.sciencereview.ca/eic/site/059.nsf/eng/home). Among its many recommendations, the report emphasizes the need for: 1) substantial increases to fundamental science funding, 2) major changes to the way government assesses and supports scientific priorities, and 3) better support to universities for indirect research costs related to administration and research facility operations. These recommendations are in line with comments submitted by the CAP, including explicit mention of increases to investigator-led NSERC Discovery grants. In the words of the panel’s chair, Dr. C. David Naylor, “This report sets out a multi-year agenda that, if implemented, could transform Canadian research capacity and have enormous long-term impacts across the nation.”

Although the rhetoric in the Naylor report is very exciting, the government is under no obligation to follow through on the report’s recommendations. The document is not a road map for implementing all of the recommendations, but it does outline some reasonable strategies for meeting the $1.3 billion dollars annual funding boost, and also offers suggestions for how to reshuffle funding governance. It is clear that implementing the Naylor report will take a considerable amount of financial and political capital.

The CAP has recommended adoption of the recommendations contained in the Naylor Report in its pre-budget submission (https://www.cap.ca/publications/cap-news/) to the Federal Finance Committee responsible for the 2018 federal budget. We also need advocacy from the physics community to make clear to politicians why fundamental science in Canada needs this expensive reworking. It is important for each of us to keep communicating the value of our work to everyday Canadians. If we can help the general public to appreciate and value Canada’s science advancements, we make a strong case to MPs and Ministers that implementing the Naylor report will help Canada.

To lend your support, visit https://www.cap.ca/about-us/committees/science-policy-committee/the-naylor-report/ or contact our Director of Science Policy, Kris Poduska (kris@mun.ca).