Research funding at Canadian universities hit $6.6 billion in 2011, a paltry 2.2 per cent rise from the $6.48 billion raised for R&D in 2010 – and the smallest gain in the past decade.
The latest figures from the Toronto firm Research Infosource indicatethat investment in Canadian university research has basically flatlinedin the past year. By comparison, research funding levels from 2000 to2010 saw annual increases of between three and 23 per cent.
“The fiscal 2011 result signals retrenchment of research funding at ourtop universities. Gone are the heady days of double-digit increases infunding,” Research Infosource CEO Ron Freedman said in a news release.
About two-thirds or more of all university research money in Canadacomes from government sources, so “with governments at all levelscutting back, it’s not surprising to see total research supportslipping,” Freedman added.
In 2011, 34 Canadian universities saw an increase in research fundingwhile 16 schools suffered declines. The biggest draw for funding ismedical research, with schools that grant medical degrees attracting 81per cent of the total research money given to the top 50 universitieson the list. Of the 18 universities that raised $100 million or moreeach for research purposes, 16 have medical schools.
Research Infosource also ranked Canada’s top 50 research universitiesbased on funding for research plus the quality and output of researchactivities. The University of Toronto ranked first in themedical/doctoral category (schools that grant medical degrees), theUniversity of Waterloo topped the comprehensive category, and theUniversity of Lethbridge won the undergraduate category.
A recent Conference Board of Canada reportargued that a lack ofinnovation is the single biggest factor to blame for Canada’s fallingglobal competitiveness ranking.
For more details on rankings, categories and the methods used in the Research Infosource report check the full study here.