Statistics Canada: New numbers on federal S&T spending

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Karen Diepeveen
Fédération des science humaines

New numbers released from Statistics Canada reveal that federal spending for science and technology is expected to decline in the 2013/14 fiscal year. According to their survey, total spending is anticipated to decline 3.3% from 2012/14 to $10.5 billion.

The figures relevant to academic research are Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) expenditures. HERD expenditures have been static since 2009/10 and in 2013/14 are expected to be $3.25 billion.  Of this, $2.534 billion are expected to be spent in the Natural Sciences and $715million in the social sciences and humanities.  Interestingly, funding for research into ‘social structures and relationships’ saw an increase in the latest year available.

These latest Statistics Canada numbers report expenditures, but a common measure used to track international competitiveness of research funding is the measure of HERD/GDP (Gross Domestic Product).   Overall, Canada's relative investment in academic research as a proportion of GDP (HERD/GDP) is falling, from 3rd in the OECD in 2006 to 9th in 2011 according to the Science Technology and Innovation Council.