Research Canada encourages federal budget investments in health research to create jobs and economic growth

Research Canada encourages federal budget investments in health research to create jobs and economic growth
OTTAWA, March 4, 2013 – From discovery to commercialization, federal research investments offer to boost future economic growth, says Research Canada. As the Government of Canada finalizes Budget 2013, Research Canada reiterates that balanced investments in research — and health research in particular — are key drivers of job creation and quality of life for all Canadians.
“We applaud the Government of Canada’s priority of paying down the federal deficit and making prudent investments in research and development,” said Ms. Maureen Adamson, Chair of Research Canada, and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “We view Federal Budget 2013 as an opportunity to capitalize on the initiatives of Economic Action Plan 2012.”
The strength of Canada’s discovery research enterprise has and will continue to attract the private sector, say members of the Research Canada alliance. They underscores the need for the Government of Canada to support the entire cycle of R&D in Budget 2013, from basic research, through to product development and commercialization, and then to the market place and into health-care settings.
“Especially critical in times of fiscal constraint, Canada needs to be ever vigilant that investments are made in a balanced fashion across the continuum of these activities. If we jeopardize the discovery engine, the innovation system is at risk,” said Dr. Michael Julius, Research Canada’s Science Advisor and Vice President of Research at Sunnbrook Health Sciences Centre.
Research Canada asked the Government of Canada to consider the following recommendations, that:
  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) receive an increase to its baseline budget in support of its operating grants program which funds discovery research and its Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR);
  • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) receive an increase to their baseline budgets in support of discovery research funded through their respective operating grants programs;
  • In planning for the future, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) receive a commitment for an additional increase to its budget in support of cutting-edge research equipment and research facilities; and
  • Genome Canada receive a multi-year commitment of additional funds that enables it to leverage investments in support of large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects.
In addition to these recommendations, Research Canada underscores that governmnet must work in partnership with industry on improving the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, a vital program for many of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses. As well, our national IP regime, which is at the root of ensuring repatriation of private sector involvement in Canada, should be harmonized and made competitive with those of our international competitors.
“In the next decade, while working harder to compete on the global stage in this  time of austerity, we’ll face rising health costs to care for our aging population. Research to improve health and build prosperity has never been more important for Canada,” said Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, Research Canada’s President and CEO. “And Canadians have told us in recent national polling, that they see the social and economic  potential of health research.”
The CanadaSpeaks! 2012 national poll showed that a majority of Canadians (78%) held the view that health and medical research makes an important contribution to the Canadian economy; and 84% believe health and medical research creates more jobs.”
Research Canada is a multi-stakeholder alliance of private, academic and voluntary sector organizations dedicated to advancing health research and translating research into innovative products and services that deliver social and economic benefits to all Canadians.  Please see these links to the pre-budget consultation submission and the letter to the Minister of Finance.