Government to inject half a billion dollars into fundamental research through discovery grants, scholarships and fellowships

The Canadian government is pumping C$515 million (£320 million) into basic science. The investment will be made through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) discovery grants, as well as scholarships and fellowships from graduate to postdoctoral level.

‘The Government of Canada is committed to investing in fundamental research and engineering that will improve and enrich our country’s knowledge economy,’ said Canada’s Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan. ‘We believe in encouraging scientists’ cutting-edge ideas that will lead Canada to greater social and economic growth.’

The lion’s share of the new funds, C$376 million, will go to universities via NSERC’s flagship Discovery Grants Program. Another C$86 million will support scholarships and fellowships to jumpstart the careers of young scientists and engineers.

Another C$36 million will finance grants to purchase new cutting-edge equipment, and C$15 million will go to selected researchers for resources needed to enhance the impact of their research.

A report released in June by the Global Young Academy, an international society of young scientists, warned that Canada has seen a ‘steady shift’ in funding from basic science towards more applied research in recent years. The report noted sharp declines in funding success rates for fundamental research grants from several government funding bodies.