On Monday afternoon, the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Kirsty Duncan spoke with Canadian Science Policy Conference’s founder and CEO, Mehrdad Hariri, to discuss support for science in budget 2018. Below is an excerpt of what Minister Duncan had to share:
How do you feel about this budget and in particular the section on science?
“I am so proud of our government’s strong support for science and support of the people who work so hard to make Canada a leader in research and innovation.
“This historic investment in science and research is about people – the next generation of researchers and scholars who will strengthen science, evidence-based decision-making and nurture a culture of curiosity in Canada. We went big, so that researchers can go even bigger.”
What do you think are some of the key support for science in this budget?
“Budget 2018 is making a record-setting $6.6 billion in new support for science, so that Canadians can make the world-changing discoveries we can’t even yet imagine. This new money for science and research will help some 21,000 researchers across Canada. Of this new funding $1.8 billion is for the granting councils and the next generations of researchers and scholars. This is the largest investment in fundamental research in the history of our country.
“More than $760 million will go to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for labs, tools, and equipment to help researchers excel in their jobs. We have also committed $2.8 billion to renewing federal laboratories to ensure Federal scientists have the infrastructure they need to inform evidence-based decisions.”
What are you doing to promote equity and diversity within Canada’s research community?
“Equity and diversity continues to be top of mind of our government and this includes investing $25 million to ensure our research community includes more women, Indigenous people, and more people from other under-represented groups. It will also go towards developing a strategic plan to identify new ways of doing research with Indigenous communities to advance understanding of reconciliation. “
Can you elaborate on the new funding for the Digital Research Initiative?
“To ensure that researchers have access to tools to analyze, store, and share big data, we are investing $573 million towards implementing a digital research infrastructure strategy. Digital research infrastructure is essential for world-class research and innovation. It provides high-speed networking and computing power that will allow our researchers to analyze, store, and share big-data across the country. It also provides the infrastructure pipeline across the country so the big data can be used by researchers outside government to produce tangible benefits for Canadians - whether that's in genomics, climate change, or artificial intelligence.”