At the Canadian Consortium for Research meeting today w/ @MitacsCanada #CSPF and @NSERC_CRSNG colleagues, where @VB_Lisa opens by discussing #SupportTheReport efforts, asking how can we foster next steps for fundamental research and the #NextGenCanSci in Canada?

#scipol #thread
James Compton, prev prez @CAUT_ACPPU shows that there was a massive increase in student population, but this has slowed over the last 3 years. It would have slowed more, were it not for international students. Yet, #PSE funding from fed has been flat, has decreased at prov level
... Tuition has also increased over time. Faculty wages are not the culprit though, the % #PSE expenditures on wages has diminished over time. There is also more reliance on contract staff ➡️ and academic staff are not being renewed
. @CAUT_ACPPU did first ever survey of contract profs, the vast majority want tenure track. This is not a side hustle, it's the main gig. Women and other #edi groups are disproportionately affected here as well ➡️ if you want to boost diversity, hire contract staff, #HireWomen!
Keynote speaker @cdavidnaylor discusses progress and prospects following Canada's Fundamental Science Review

#scipol #scicomm #cdnsci #cdnpoli
. @cdavidnaylor gives full credit to @KirstyDuncanMP @ScienceMin for bringing together this panel, it's support staff. This was a team effort, and the report that followed reflects the breadth of submissions from across #cdnsci
. @cdavidnaylor takes a minute to give kudos to students and trainees for driving the messaging on social media and in letters towards stakeholders in #cdnpoli and for #Budget2018 🙌🙌 #Students4theReport @DSP_SPE
The recommendations of the #FSR were focused on fundamental research support in a broad sense - support for discovery research (not just innovation directed), support for grads and postdocs, support for indirect (infr
... Need to keep making the case that we need science and evidence in our lives. There is a spread of ignorance and misinformation, and support for science is key to countering this and ensuring the future. And it's about people, not patents. Talent, not tools.
Canada has slipped in OECD for GERD, we are not even in the top 30 countries for "research intensity".

We need to put our money where out mouth is.

BERD is low as well, and businesses can't expect to have undergrads trained and job ready without having a full stake in the game
Canada relies on universities to pay for a large portion of research,unlike most other countries. @cdavidnaylor points out the baby blue bar in the graph below is absent in all other countries shown ⬇️📊
Canada has the highest HERD among the G7, but the federal share is only 23%. This is much lower than other countries.

Contribution from business is incredibly low, and foreign investment even lower.
In terms of performance, we are above average for citations, but low in number of prizes won. Different fields had ups and downs, as shown by latest @Scienceadvice report
. @cdavidnaylor - if we want to foster our R&D capacity, we need to train the next generation accordingly and need the demand side to be active (e.g. businesses hiring PhDs)
... The value of the PhD is not only creating topic experts! It's also about generating creative and critical minds. Graduates are equipped for a lifetime of high quality contributions in any field.

A PhD is the greatest work integrated learning program there is

#HQP #talent
Interprov collaboration is also quite low among scientists. More researchers will collaborate internationally (44%) than interprov (10%)
The creation of more #scienceadvice mechanisms w/ @ChiefSciCan is a great success of #FSR, and other coordinating bodies have shown success so far
At very low success rates, grant competitions are
- reducing measurement of excellence to nearly a random selection
- driving young people crazy by making them write so many grants that fail, which is detrimental early in their careers
CRCC has almost all the mandate #FSR asked for, except one. There is no external member (established researcher or #ECR) to bring constant reality checks to the table

@cdavidnaylor gives kudos to Ted Hewitt @SSHRC_CRSH for driving this, and is very impressed with the work done
. @cdavidnaylor adds that there are likely to be bumpy roads with new programs, at new bodies like CRCC. Some growing pains with #NFRF but ongoing work is promising.

Also, #FSR did not ask to cut #NCE, they asked to amend the terms to open them to more collaboration
New Council for Science & Innovation is promising, not exactly as asked in #FSR but a good start, but there is worry for a changing government.

Lots of space for bias in such a body, esp if they will oversee the new Strategic Science fund

Be optimistic, but watch the watchmen
There is a contract with Germany. The states work with the federal govt, and they've struck a deal for a decade of budget increased for science.

Fed/prov coordination in 🇨🇦 is less coordinated. New science advisors can drive collaboration, if their offices are maintained.
And what about talent? Relatively few will get CRC out of their postdocs, might need more chairs for earlier #ECR (Tier 2.5 ?)

Also➡️ a lot of those folks are male, stale, and pale. More #EDI necessary (new chairs announced were more diverse, thankfully)
A major issue flagged by #FSR @cdavidnaylor is variation in support to #nextgeneration via scholarships and fellowships. They called for a review of this, for which the work has not yet been released
Big shout out to @DSP_SPE for driving #Students4theReport and in their work driving change via their recent survey on scholarships and fellowships (incl oped in @globeandmail)

Thankfully #Budget2019 invested in grad students, work still remains to support postdocs

Funding towards granting agencies falls below the #FSR recommendations, and at the moment it's hard to know what to expect in the long term. #Budget2018 was progress but not a full solution

@cdavidnaylor says it's also good to see SSHRC imbalance has been recognized.
So where are we now? For #cdnsci, the glass is half full, lots to be happy about.

Need to make sure the research community speaks in one voice however, supporting broad improvements where all boats rise. Limit priorities and redistribution, no one wins a zero sum game.
... find narratives, and highlight potential. What can be done with new money?

The next generation is a trove of talent (#ECR, grad students, postdocs) and they are still at risk, no matter their career path.
Does #cdnpoli still #supportthereport? It's complicated... we should not assume that unity among the research community is what they want. If there is division, they can pick winners that align with that they prefer.
Next steps to advocate for funding ⬇️

- talk to all parties, with once voice
- the world is changing fast, be agile and provide evidence wherever possible
- use both facts and compelling stories, post positive impacts and negatives / shortfalls
Keep in mind that although the US would seem to be diminishing support for science, their investments trump ours. @NSF and @NIH have fared very well
Through all this, @cdavidnaylor hasn't changed his mind, from the last sentence of the #FSR ⬇️
The townhall starts, with burning questions for @cdavidnaylor

Q1 - how do we better support part-time researchers?

@cdavidnaylor - it's not an easy sell, but creating the opportunity should be on the radar for funders.
Q2 - most #ECR don't know the evidence on how to make decisions that foster students' careers! How can we better train the mentors?

@cdavidnaylor - absolutely need to do this, but also need to prepare grads for the broader workforce, broad competencies over narrow skills
... All institutions need to think about how they train PhDs. We need to do this.
Q3 is a comment - about people with good science training in govt... It seems more about good administration background than topic knowledge these days. Talent jumps around so quickly, that impact may be limited. These changes can also be politically motivated
Q4 about research support fund, which is often very indirect of research.

@cdavidnaylor says the total indirect costs are rarely below 40%, even in humanities. If RSF contribution is low, then not everything can be covered. Admin is still necessary, so is infrastructure support
Q5 - where should we move the needle on independence vs accountability of researchers? RSF shouldn't buy yachts, but having to justify 7$ on nuts and bolts is overkill

@cdavidnaylor says moving RSF up to 40% (currently 16-20%) would probably reduce nonsensical micromanagement
Q6 from @caps_acsp rep ➡️ postdoc contracts w/ industrial partner can limit trainee creativity, and project ownership can be confusing.

@cdavidnaylor - industry collaboration is a plus & interchange should be vibrant but also mutually advantageous. Need good negotiation by univ
... Need clarification in what is independent research. Good fences make good neighbours ➡️ need buckets where each player can play to their strengths, but also sandboxes where rules are clear
Q7 from @NRC_CNRC rep ➡️ how can we develop a messaging strategy, to let govt know when they are setting misguided priorities?

@cdavidnaylor - agreed, more work necessary at the intersection of policy and good advice.
Q8 from @katiegibbs @E4Dca ➡️ we had an unprecedented mobilization, a great #FSR, but pushing for science funding is still like pulling teeth. How do we change the culture in the long term, to alleviate the struggle?

@cdavidnaylor - great Q, many elements...
... this is a young country. Places like the UK have great science as a part of their legacy, and this is true of the US also. It will take time before science is baked into society in Canada, as part of our shared history...
... Scientists also need to be in constant campaign mode. There is a pandemic of ignorance on key topics (anti-vaxx, flat earthers), we have to keep doing #scicomm and fighting the good fight.

Also can't expect any govt to fill in a gaping hole in #cdnsci funding all at once.
Good times, bad times, always #TellYourStories. #KeepBarking
Q9 from Alana Westwood #CSPF ➡️ how can the #FSR experience be translated to provinces? Can campaigns by research community incl @E4Dca and @DSP_SPE work there as well?

@cdavidnaylor - Québec has its act together, but broadly provinces need to be more active on science
... and engaging the provincial governments to advocate for funding and support for research is always a good idea.
Q10 - publishing costs money, and excellence is based on publication record. This creates a futile cycle... Labs with less money face greater barriers for future funding. Can we alleviate this?

@cdavidnaylor says we need partners and collab with publishers to make progress
... joining in coalition and initiatives to foster open access publications and accessibility is also key, especially if initiatives are international
Q11 - how do different countries and universities deal with teaching vs research stream faculty?

@cdavidnaylor - can't speak to other counties, but @UofT certainly doesn't have a second-class stream, teaching faculty are supported and this doesn't and shouldn't undercut research
... A blend works very well, esp with funding pressures faced by the universities. Research intensive universities can support multiple streams in a sustainable way.
Final Q12 by @sallyalbert @CAGS_OTTAWA - how do we make a case for continued support, not just for research but also for research trainees? Esp since most PhDs don't get university jobs?

@cdavidnaylor - we are at the low end (26th) of OECD in terms of PhD output...
... and PhD training can contribute tremendously to non-academic careers, since it provides tons of critical transferable skills. That includes humanities and social scientists! They are incredibly skilled and their talents should be in more demand
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