What is the role of social scientists and humanists within the broader context of research, development and innovation? The Federation outlined the centrality of these disciplines in the recent submission to the Expert Panel for the Review of Federal Support to Research and Development. The panel, tasked with examining federal support to business R&D, put out a call for submissions in early January. Shortly thereafter, the Federation created a Blue Ribbon Panel of distinguished scholars from across Canada. The Federation's panel answered the questions posed by the federal expert panel, setting out the importance of research that explores the ways we learn about innovation, change and the application of new knowledge. Going beyond the latest technological advances and scientific discoveries, R&D must include forays into human systems and the impact of new technologies on citizens, communities and society at large. The Federation's submission outlined four recommendations central to cultivating a people-centred view of research and development, while also encouraging greater partnerships between business and social sciences and humanities. The recommendations include:
- Expand the current definition of “research and development” used in setting policies, priorities and funding opportunities to recognize its broad reality.
- Significantly increase the funding for the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program or similar programs to further support industry links with leading social science and humanities research.
- Enhance opportunities for the next generation of research talent to connect with industry, to apply research knowledge and to gain workplace skills.
- Sponsor independent research about the “public good” effectiveness of the current expenditure mix between tax credits and programs.