Fundamental Science Review Report
Dr. David Naylor, Chair of the Advisory Panel for the Review of Federal Support for Fundamental Science, was in Winnipeg at the Ft. Garry Hotel on Dec. 6, 2017 to deliver a public presentation on the Fundamental Science Review and its recommendations.
The Advisory Panel was initiated by the federal government and has recommended $1.3B of increased funding over the next four years for research across disciplines, from basic science through the humanities.
Canadian universities conduct a larger proportion of Canadian R&D than is the case in most other countries. This money has come, in part, from increases to tuition fees and larger undergraduate class sizes. However, this has had adverse impacts on the student experience at universities. In Naylor’s opinion, it has created “an environment that undermines excellence in both research and education,” so that “Institutions of higher learning are absorbing these F&A costs by using tuition dollars and provincial grants that should be dedicated to their teaching and learning mission.”
The implementation of the Advisory Panel’s recommendations could significantly improve research capacity and competitiveness at Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions, leading to important discovery, economic growth, and job creation in our province.
The event was co-sponsored by the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) and the University of Manitoba. Approximately 200 professors, librarians, administrators, students, and members of the community attended the presentation and the Q & A that followed.
Leading up to the event, MOFA and the University of Manitoba had the following to say in a statement published in the Winnipeg Free Press:
"It is the public sector that is often responsible for the largest gains in Research and Development (R&D)," explains Dr. Robert Chernomas, professor of economics at the University of Manitoba and president of the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations.
"Much of this funding has been channelled through research departments in universities. Limited private sector R&D in Canada makes the government role especially important. It is Canadian public sector funding that led to the discoveries of world changing innovations such as stem cells, insulin, the cell battery, the Canadarm and canola."
"The Fundamental Science Review describes an invigorated Canadian research environment and a direction for moving forward," says Dr. Barnard. "Whether we are thinking about Canada’s future economic growth, our ability to positively impact health outcomes, to cultivate future generations of thought leaders, or to generate improvements in quality of life both at home and around the world, we need to encourage a national commitment to investment like that envisaged by the advisory panel.”
MOFA will continue to mobilize political support to encourage the federal government to commit to funding the recommendations of the Naylor Panel.