Science & Policy Exchange Pre-Budget Consultation 2019

By: The Science & Policy Exchange Team

August 06, 2018

SPE has submitted a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance’s 2019 Pre-Budget Consultation. This year’s committee sought briefs focused on Economic Growth: Ensuring Canada’s Competitiveness and SPE believes that strong support of trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and early career researchers aligns with these topics.

Updated Aug 9 2018: we received feedback from our network letting us know that the number of Vanier CGS recipients at NSERC and SSHRC were not accurate in our budget tables! We have fixed this, and we have strengthened the language around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) to more appropriately reflect the importance of this aspect of the brief.

Click below to read the full submission.

Read the Executive Summary:

This brief outlines the importance of funding research and enhancing capacity building programs to support trainees for all career paths. While we are pleased that the recommendations from the Fundamental Science Review was taken into serious consideration in the previous budget, there are key areas where trainees lack critical support for their career development. The future of trainees is heavily tied to funding allocated to research and skill development. This funding will support the next-generation of leaders in Canada.

As emerging scientists and skilled professionals, we believe the following recommendations are essential for training a workforce that will contribute to economic growth and ensure Canada’s international competitiveness.

1. Increase direct funding support for trainees

        - Increase value of awards and harmonize across disciplines

        - Increase number of individual awards

        - Replace elite Vanier and Banting awards with “Impact” awards

        - Follow EDI criteria in the evaluation and allocation of awards

2. Modernize funding criteria of post-doctoral fellows

        - Extend eligibility for tax-funded benefits to all post-doctoral fellows

        - Support career development by removing eligibility time limit and allowing post-doctoral fellows to independently apply or co-apply for grants

3. Increase support for development of critical skills, especially through trainee-driven public-facing projects

        - Expand and increase project-based funding opportunities through grants that trainees can directly apply for

        - Support tracking of long-term career outcomes

4. Promote mobility of Canadians and support international trainees

        - Make all scholarships internationally portable

        - Increase access to funding for international trainees and provide supplements to help defray relocation costs