Health Research Organizations Response to Naylor Report on Fundamental Science

Posted: 06-21-2017

The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P

Minister of Finance

90 Elgin Street

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5

Bill.Morneau@canada.ca

June 21, 2017

RE: R7 Research Partners Give Full Support to the Naylor Report on Fundamental Science

Dear Minister:

The research group comprised of 7 independent organizations from the public and private sectors (Research 7 or “R7”) commends the federal government for mandating the Fundamental Science Review. The resulting Naylor Report is a compelling diagnostic of the current state of affairs in Canada and an exemplary plan identifying the central position of fundamental science within the larger system of innovation.

The R7 is dedicated to advancing fundamental science which fuels the research and innovation engine, critical to Canada’s competitiveness in the global knowledge economy. Capacity, breadth and excellence in fundamental science are pivotal to Canada’s knowledge leadership. Sustained and renewed investment in fundamental science is crucial for Canada to realize its fullcommercialization potential and impactincluding its ability to: generate and exploit intellectual property; attract industry partners and investors; and, develop flourishing life, engineering, natural and social sciences sectors to support the creation of high-quality jobs. Fundamental science in Canada drives the discoveries that fuel an innovative economy. Countries that invest robustly in fundamental science create the conditions for innovative, resilient companies that thrive and for recruiting top talent for sustainability and worldwide competitiveness.

Canada is on the cusp of forsaking an entire generation of talent. Reinvestment in fundamental science is critical to building a diverse, robust, knowledge-based workforce. Foreign companies are looking to invest in these knowledge leaders making the investment in fundamental science integral to our long-term economic stability and vigor.

The R7 supports the Naylor Report broadly and calls on the Federal Government to implement the detailed plan for multi-year investments for renewal of fundamental science in Canada.If Canada expects to be a nexus of scientific excellence and a leader in the knowledge economy, we must immediately address our acute research funding deficit. Current programs fail to ensure the necessary long-term sustainability of the research enterprise they foster. As a result, we run a real risk of weakening the vibrant community of scholarship in Canada.

The following investments are urgently needed given the recent erosion in annual research funding: increased investment of $485M over four years for funding investigator-led research as recommended by the Naylor Report; stable funding at $300M per year for the CFI; enhanced support for Doctoral Students, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Research Chairs; and new support for small capital grants as well as for the costs associated with federally-funded research. These investments are all essential to re-invigorate Canada’s research environment and bring Canada back to the forefront of discovery and innovation. Moreover, Canada needs to diversify opportunities for science-based graduate students, helping them to explore, embrace and compete for non-academic careers in order to capitalize fully on the talent and energy of our trainees. This can only be achieved via new academic programs created through formal partnerships among universities, colleges, academic health science centres, health charities and Canadian industries to increase the opportunities for trainees to participate in cooperative and internship programs.

The R7 is firmly of the view that increased investment in fundamental research cannot wait a full fiscal cycle and, accordingly, that immediate action is absolutely necessary. We recommend that the government strongly consider the benefit of addressing this matter immediately, withinitial investments in the Fall 2017 Economic Update.

 The R7 looks forward to working with the Federal Government in implementing the recommendations included in the Naylor Report that ensure Canada’s scientific and knowledge leadership.

Originally signed by:

Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

BIOTECanada

Canada’s Medical Technology Companies (MEDEC)

HealthCareCan

Health Charities Coalition of Canada

Innovative Medicines Canada

Research Canada

 

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