The federal government of Canada is releasing its annual budget Tuesday. Rumour has it that this budget will have a significant focus on science, and on women. Both of these issues are of interest to us. We are scientists, and because we are early in our careers as professors and research scientists, we have a higher proportion of women than more senior cohorts.
About ACECHR. Our purpose has been and continues to be to advocate for a healthy, equitable, sustainable health research enterprise. We have been engaging actively with federal science funding policy since we formed in 2016 in response to changes in health research funding. We have worked with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and with officials from the federal government to address projected inequities in health research funding for early career and mid-career investigators and for investigators who are women. Results from grant funding competitions with and without the policies we advocated show that without these policies, gaps in funding would be even worse than they are. We have also advocated for evidence-based investment in research through social media campaigns and--together with organizations like Evidence for Democracy, Science & Policy Exchange, and large groups of researchers across fields--supported researchers meeting with elected representatives to discuss evidence-based science policy.
About the Naylor report. Our group formed around concerns with changes at CIHR. Many of our members were invited to several different meetings with the Fundamental Science Review, most notably the panels focusing on early career researchers and on equity. Like many in the scientific community, we were concerned when the members of the Fundamental Science Review were announced and were almost entirely former administrators, not active scientists. However, we were pleased to read their measured, evidence-based report, grounded in a solid understanding of how science and research function. We looked forward (and continue to look forward) to the federal government acting on the advice they had requested.
About our report card. We will be assessing the budget on how well this government does on six items:
Overall grade on evidence-based science policy. Our overall impression of this government’s commitment to implementing the evidence-based report they commissioned and investing in the future of Canadian science.