Spending on research and development are down in Canadian universities, and it is the science and engineering the hardest hit. The exception is Quebec, where budgets are rising.
This is what emerges from the latest Statistics Canada figures on spending on research and development (R & D) in higher education, which cover 2013-2014.
“We are pleased to see that the numbers are increasing in Quebec. But do not kid ourselves with this increase, because there is still a lot of work to do to translate this research into innovation and marketing, “comments Pascal Monette, director general of the Association for the Development of Research and innovation Quebec (ADRIQ).
The figures released yesterday concerning spending in Québec universities, but also in hospitals and research centers affiliated to them. In Canada, these expenses decreased 1.8% from 2012-2013 to 2013-2014. Quebec, meanwhile, has seen its costs rise by 2.6%, the only increase in the country with that of Manitoba.
A closer analysis shows that it is the provincial government that saves the furniture in Quebec. While the federal government reduced its funding of R & D from 3.15% in Québec universities, the provincial government has increased by 5.9%. In Ontario, in comparison, federal expenditures have increased, but the provincial slashed his 32%.
Across Canada, spending on R & D in science and engineering in particular pay the price, with a decrease of 2.8%. These expenses are up very slightly in Quebec.
Pascal Monette of ADRIQ laments to see that companies fund only 7.7% of university research in Quebec.
“We have to be careful with comparisons because the numbers are not always calculated the same way, but still, the proportion reached 14% in Germany and 11% in South Korea,” he said. According to him, we must encourage networking between universities and businesses to support the commercialization of applied research and generate economic benefits.
Quebec has set there are the target year of 3% of its GDP to research, but this proportion, far from increasing, is plummeting. In 2012, the last year for which figures are available, the proportion was 2.27%, far behind Israel (4.25%), South Korea (4.03%), Finland (3.43%) and Japan (3.35%).
Lower spending on R & D in higher education in Canada
Increased spending on R & D in higher education in Quebec
Total expenditure on R & D in higher education in Canada
Decline in spending by provincial governments on R & D in higher education in Canada