Canada 150 Research Chairs Program faces criticism

By: Margot Karlikow

August 03, 2017

The tri-agency initiative, Canada 150 Research Chair Program, that aims at increasing Canada’s reputation as a global centre for research excellence and innovation, is facing criticisms. The $117 million allocated to this program over eight years is only available to Canadian expatriates and non-Canadian international applicants. Among the critics, Professor Raymond Blake from the University of Regina wrote in the Leader-Post: “Trudeau is telling our young graduates that they are not good enough to be considered among the brightest in the world” adding: “Duncan might actually be weakening the quality of our universities”

Science minister Kirsty Duncan has been clear in her response to the critiques, writing: “that amount represents a small fraction of federal funds available each year to researchers working at Canadian universities…. [the program] is designed to help universities attract top-tier international researchers, including Canadians”.

The Naylor Report recommends increasing and restructuring funding for international students and talent, citing the benefits of an international environment for Canadian innovation. However, this would ideally be accompanied by an overall increase of research funding across the board.