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ACCRU Responds to the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science’s Report

The Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities Responds to the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science’s Report

For immediate release

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece from Dr. J. Kevin Vessey, Chair of the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities (ACCRU)

As chair of the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities (ACCRU), I want to congratulate the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science on the release of its comprehensive report, Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research.

We are very pleased with the report and we support the majority of the recommendations made by the panel.  In particular, we are very supportive of the panel’s primary recommendation that annual Federal spending across its main four funding agencies increase from approximately $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion.  We are also very pleased that many of the panel’s recommendation speak to better coordination of efforts, processes and programming across the major Federal funding agencies.

With that in mind, there are still areas where we wish that the panel’s report could have better articulated that research excellence is found in universities of all sizes across Canada.  We feel strongly that the support for fundamental science in Canada must be a level playing field across the country for awarding funding to universities regardless of their size.  We were very pleased with the panel’s conclusion that “the recent erosion of Canada’s research competitiveness . . . has been exacerbated by a policy shift in favour of new programs that focus resources on a limited number of individuals and institutions.”  This is something that we have long argued is an issue for the research ecosystem in Canada.

Additionally, there are some recommendations in the panel’s report that ACCRU member universities are extremely well placed to help deliver.  For example, the panel recommends that “The three granting councils should collaborate in developing a comprehensive strategic plan to promote and provide long-term support for Indigenous research.”  Many of the ACCRU member universities are located in rural settings and have excellent relationships and on-going research with indigenous and First Nations peoples, makes these universities especially well-suited to help realize the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations on research.

Overall we are very pleased with the findings of the advisory panel. Our member universities look forward to working with the Government of Canada as it acts upon recommendations from the report to improve the fundamental research enterprise in universities of all sizes and in all corners of Canada.

About the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities

  • Established in 2011, the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities (ACCRU) brings together vice-presidents research from over 30 small- and medium-sized universities across all 10 provinces in Canada.
  • ACCRU acts as a voice for communications on research and scholarly activity issues important to its members with research funding agencies, policy makers, and the public at large.
  • For a list of ACCRU member universities, please see:


Media Contact:

Dr. J. Kevin Vessey
Chair, ACCRU
Associate Vice President Research
Saint Mary’s University
Halifax, NS
Tel:  902-491-6478

Dr. Robert Luke appointed to Expert Panel on the State of S&T and IR&D in Canada

Dr. Robert Luke, Vice-President Research and Innovation, and OCAD University’s representative to ACCRU, has been appointed to the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) Expert Panel to assess the current state of science and technology (S&T), and industrial research and development (IR&D) in Canada.

Initiated at the request of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), this assessment will be the third edition in the State of S&T and Industrial R&D assessment series.  Additional information on this panel is available on CCA’s website.

ACCRU congratulates Robert and wishes him well as he undertakes this important work.


ACCRU welcomes the opportunity to participate in defining the future of Canada’s research agenda

Upholding a large and diverse research portfolio in all of Canada’s universities is in the higher interest of Canada and all Canadians. It not only contributes to building Canada, it maintains Canada’s universities’ ability, from coast to coast and in all sectors and in all of Canada’s regions, to react promptly and adequately to diversity full range of economic, social, demographic, natural and/or technological challenges which continue to face our country both in short and the long run. Maintaining a diverse research portfolio is congruent with what Canadians expect from a strong scientific ecosystem. Only by maintaining and strengthening the research capacity of all of Canada’s universities will a strong ecosystem exist which serves Canada’s higher interests, both by exploring ideas arising from the insight and inquisitiveness of researchers but also by addressing the needs and challenges of its different organizations and communities at the local, regional, national and international level.

Click here to read ACCRU’s response.

Analysis reveals smaller universities being shortchanged in NSERC competitions

Researchers from ACCRU member universities at Lakehead University, University of Regina, and Universite de Moncton recently published an analysis of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grant decisions.  Their analysis “consistently reveal the probablilty of success and the mean monetary value of awards in Discovery Grant competitions are higher for large universities than for small- and medium-sized universities.”  To learn more, visit University Affairs or read their research article in the journal PLOS ONE.