Western president welcomes report calling for re-investment in science research

Dr. Amit Chakma, president of Western University

An advisory panel that has put forward a new blueprint for university-led research offers Canada a renewed opportunity to be a world-changer in the sciences, Western University president Amit Chakma said Monday.

“The report rightly concludes that Canada’s research competitiveness has eroded significantly in recent years, and it offers a wide-ranging list of recommendations that aim to reposition our country as one seriously committed to global leadership in science and scholarly inquiry,” Chakma said.

Key emphases at Western have included innovation, internationalism and collaboration – which also are at the core of this new report to Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan.

The report of the Advisory Panel for Federal Support for Fundamental Science calls for a new vision of sustained excellence across post-secondary disciplines. Led by Dr. David Naylor, the panel recommends enhanced support for early-career researchers, strategic and coordinated collaboration for international and interdisciplinary research; improved gender equity in science; and increased funding for discovery research.

The panel was commissioned by Duncan in June, 2016. The report found that support for scientific research has eroded in recent years. Funding from federal government sources represents just 25 per cent of total research-and-development research that takes place in higher education.

“I applaud the report’s authors for calling not only for major and urgent re-investment, but also for the creation of an independent national advisory council comprised of distinguished scientists and scholars to provide oversight of the federal research and innovation ecosystem,” Chakma said Monday.

 “Canada’s universities welcome this multi-year roadmap for supporting top talent and our next generation of researchers, which comes at a significant global moment for Canada,” said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “In a global context of closing borders and closing minds, the panel sees an urgent need for Canada to re-invest in discovery research, scale up our ability to attract top minds from around the world, and better support our future research and innovation leaders.”

Other recommendations include greater coordination and collaboration among the four federal research agencies, enhanced support for the institutional costs of research and sustained and predictable funding for research infrastructure.


MEDIA CONTACT: Debora Van Brenk, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85165, or on mobile at 519-318-0657 and deb.vanbrenk@uwo.ca

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