State of the Nation 2014

Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation System: Canada's Innovation Challenges and Opportunities

Annex 3: High-quality knowledge

Canadian Sources of R&D Funding

Figure 3A: Canadian Sources of R&D Funding by Funding Sector, 1990–2014

Bar chart of Canadian sources of R&D funding by funding sector, 1990–2014 (the long description is located below the image)

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 358-0001 (accessed October 20, 2014).

Description of figure 3A

Breaking down Canada's gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD) funding, as reported in Chapter 3, identifies the trend over time in the contributions of various sectors to research and development (R&D) funding. While the federal government is the second-largest funder of R&D in Canada, it funds less than half the amount that the first-place business sector funds. Both sectors have reduced their R&D funding over the past few years. While business funding first declined then rose over the course of the financial recession, peaking at $15.2 billion in 2011, it declined in 2012 and 2013 and is expected to continue trending downwards to $14.1 billion in 2014. Similarly, federal government funding has trended downwards from its peak of $6.5 billion in 2010 and is expected to decline to $5.8 billion by 2014.

All other sectors in Canada are expected to increase their funding of R&D activities in 2014. The higher education sector is expected to hit a record $5.5 billion in R&D funding in 2014, almost reaching the federal government's contribution. Provincial governments continue to gradually increase their R&D funding, and they are expected to contribute an all-time high of $2.1 billion in 2014. R&D funding from the private non-profit and foreign sectors is expected to be $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively, relatively unchanged from 2013.

Higher Education Expenditures on R&D

Figure 3B: Funding for R&D Performed in the Higher Education Sector, 1990–2014

Bar chart of funding for R&D performed in the higher education sector, 1990–2014 (the long description is located below the image)

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 358-0001 (accessed October 20, 2014).

Description of figure 3B

As noted in Chapter 3, the level of funding for R&D performed in Canada's higher education sector continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace between 2011 and 2014 than between 1998 and 2008. From 1998 to 2008, higher education expenditures on research and development (HERD) more than doubled, from $4.4 billion to $10.9 billion. Since 2009, HERD has increased from $10.8 billion to an all-time high of $12.4 billion (projected) in 2014.

Government of Canada Priority Research Areas

To guide its science, technology and innovation (ST&I) investments, the Government of Canada outlined four broad research priority areas in its 2007 Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage. To provide further focus, in September 2008, the Minister of Industry announced 13 research sub-priorities, as recommended by the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC). The table below breaks down granting council funding by priority (and corresponding sub-priority) area, as discussed in Chapter 3.46

Table 3A: Estimates of Granting Council Funding of the 2007 Priorities and 2008 Sub-Priorities: Fiscal Years 2011–12 and 2013–14
ST&I Priorities and Sub-Priorities CIHR ($ 000) NSERC ($ 000) SSHRC ($ 000)
2011–2012 2013–2014 2011–2012 2013–2014 2011–2012 2013–2014
Environment 16,495.5 20,939.7 161,203.1 169,465.6 21,390.7 24,306.3
Water, health 16,495.5 20,939.7 19,568.5 29,438.0 678.7 548.4
Water, security no data no data 409.8 133.7
Water, energy no data no data no data no data no data no data
Cleaner methods of extracting, processing and utilizing hydrocarbon fuels, including reduced consumption of these fuels no data no data 10,740.6 8,254.6 no data no data
Natural Resources and Energy 3,544.0 4,454.4 162,219.0 158,912.4 2,364.2 1,386.7
Energy production in the oil sands no data no data 14,449.2 11,305.2 287.0 24.0
Arctic, resource production no data no data 2,181.7 2,165.5 no data no data
Arctic, climate change adaptation 3,544.0 4,454.4 24,589.3 24,241.1 no data no data
Arctic, monitoring no data no data no data no data no data
Biofuels, fuel cells and nuclear energy no data no data 30,809.5 26,374.4 no data no data
Health and Life Sciences  930,690.5 918,561.1 165,319.1 170,403.6 14,264.6 10,583.5
Regenerative medicine 75,365.8 72,411.8 5,939.8 5,177.0 46.5 20.0
Neuroscience 128,691.5 129,346.2 33,392.9 35,646.4 no data 23.8
Health in an aging population 111,357.3 110,894.5 no data no data 217.2 200.0
Biomedical engineering and medical technologies 20,233.7 17,125.2 49,339.3 50,246.8 2,864.1 2,815.6
Information and Communications Technologies no data no data 177,889.7 159,389.0 25,158.2 23,746.3
New media, animation and games no data no data 8,255.5 8,508.4 4,564.2 3,735.7
Wireless networks and services no data 34,674.7 30,425.1 1,731.7 78.3
Broadband networks 171.0 255.4
Telecom equipment no data no data 21,092.7 15,225.2 no data no data
Total Extramural Funding to Sub-Priority Areas 355,687.8 355,171.9 255,033.8 247,007.9 10,976.1 7,835.0
Total Extramural Funding to Priority Areas 950,730.0 943,955.3 666,631.0 658,170.6 63,177.7 60,022.8
Total Granting Council Funding 950,730.0 943,955.3 1,036,166.0 1,018,905.0 339,324.6 338,735.3

In 2014, the Government of Canada launched Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014. This renewal of the 2007 strategy identified updated priorities and sub-priorities (now called "focus areas") based, in part, on advice from STIC. The most notable amendments to the 2007 list are the addition of advanced manufacturing as a new priority area and the inclusion of agriculture within the existing environment priority area.

Table 3B: Updated Priorities and Focus Areas Identified in the 2014 Federal ST&I Strategy
Priorities Focus Areas
Environment and Agriculture
  • Water: health, energy, security
  • Biotechnology
  • Aquaculture
  • Sustainable methods of accessing energy and mineral resources from unconventional sources
  • Food and food systems
  • Climate change research and technology
  • Disaster mitigation
Health and Life Sciences
  • Neuroscience and mental health
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Health in an aging population
  • Biomedical engineering and medical technologies
Natural Resources and Energy
  • Arctic: Responsible development and monitoring
  • Bioenergy, fuel cells and nuclear energy
  • Bio-products
  • Pipeline safety
Information and Communications Technologies
  • New media, animation and games
  • Communications networks and services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Advanced data management and analysis
  • Machine-to-machine systems
  • Quantum computing
Advanced Manufacturing
  • Automation (including robotics)
  • Lightweight materials and technologies
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Quantum materials
  • Nanotechnology
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive

46 There are more than 13 sub-priority areas listed in the table because the sub-priorities of water and the Arctic have been subdivided further. Return to text