Upcoming Federal Budget Expected To Provide New Funding For Scientific Research

Ottawa is expected to allocate a significant amount of new money to fund scientific research in the next federal budget that is expected by the end of February.

Budget 2018 is expected to be tabled in Parliament by the Liberal Government in the coming weeks and contain a major financial injection for basic scientific research across Canada— one that is aimed at addressing the concerns laid out last year in a national review of the state of fundamental science.

That review, which was led by former University of Toronto President David Naylor, recommended that Ottawa end a long stretch of underfunding science with phased-in investments over four years — until there’s $1.3 billion more to fund researchers, scholarships and scientific centres and facilities nationwide.

The “Naylor Report” calls for a steady increase in funding for scientific endeavours — with a particular focus on federal Granting Councils, which oversee the distribution of federal grants to researchers. The report also calls for the government to gradually add $485 million a year to its annual funding allotment for Granting Councils.

Government sources suggest the budget is unlikely to include a point-by-point endorsement of the Naylor Report, but it is expected to contain a major increase for Granting Councils as well as significant investments in science in general.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said that a “key element” in his upcoming budget will focus on science and how it can play a role in building a solid economic foundation over the long-term. In December, Minister Morneau held a roundtable with leading researchers and met with members of the review panel, including Mr. Naylor himself.