Support the Report Campaign - Everything You Need to Know
WHAT iS THE REPORT?
In June 2016, an Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science was created. Its mandate was to study how research funding gets allocated in Canada, and whether the current system is working. In the 11 months that followed, the panel received 1,275 written submissions from individuals, associations, and organizations, and spoke to some 230 researchers at various stages in their careers to get a sense of how research funding works, and how it could work better. In April 2017 the panel released their report, commonly known as the Naylor Report. It had a lot to say (280 pages of things to say, to be exact).
They found that “Canada’s federal research ecosystem, despite many strengths, is weakly coordinated and inconsistently evaluated, and has not had consistent oversight.” The report highlights how policy shifts have led to the government focusing resources on a limited number of individuals in ways that constrain the growth and maintenance of our cohort of highly skilled researchers. They also found that unconscious bias and systemic issues are leading to funding being channeled in ways that shut out important voices in our society.
Whether you are a student, a researcher, a policy maker, or from any other walk of life, the degradation of our research funding system, and the resulting decrease in the quantity and quality of our research, will have a very real impact on your life. Everything from the policies that govern our country, to the healthcare we receive when we are sick, to the technologies that power our devices, is founded on research done at institutions across our country.
Issues in our research funding system impact us all, and it up to all of us to make sure they get properly addressed.
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
Fortunately, the lovely folks who wrote the Naylor report did a lot of this thinking for us. They propose a bold vision for the future of science in Canada with 35 recommendations to improve the state of federal funding of research in Canada. Some of our favorites are:
- Create the National Advisory Council of Research and Innovation (or NACRI) to oversee and coordinate research and funding between the four major funding agencies (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, and CFI)
- Increase total federal research funding by $1.3 billion (and actually fulfill the funding commitments they make to funding councils)
- Address the significant gender inequality that exists at nearly all stages of research
- Increase diversity and opportunity by implementing systemic changes to address bias and injustice when allocating funding
- Increase support for early career researchers (that’s you, undergraduate and graduate students!)
- Develop a comprehensive strategic plan to fund research that is led and informed by Indigenous communities
The report and its recommendations have been widely acclaimed by scientists across the country. However, making these changes won’t be easy.
There is a very real risk that without adequate pressure to support this report, federal politicians will put it on the shelf and forget about it. To prevent this, scientists from all backgrounds, and at all stages in their careers, are calling on the government to #SUPPORTtheREPORT. We ask you to add your voice to theirs.
OKAY, I’M IN… HOW DO I #SUPPORTtheREPORT?
As students we have a powerful voice with which to advocate for the Naylor Report since its recommendations have a direct impact on our future careers. We need to use that voice to tell federal politicians that we care about the Naylor report and want to see it fully implemented.
There are three great ways to get involved with this campaign. You can pick your favorite, or do all three!
1. Write to your Member of Parliament (the person who sits in Ottawa and tells the government what people who live in your area care about).
Writing a letter or email to your MP about the Naylor Report will flag the issue as an important one, and will help them see that real people are affected by this policy. That is why we are running a letter writing campaign as part of this movement. From November 14th – 24th we will have tables set up at various location on campus with supplies and information for writing letters to your MP. Make sure you follow us on Facebook where we will post our tabling location each day, so you can come find us and write a letter.
This is also something you can do independently. Can direct your letters to Andy Fillmore (Halifax's MP) or to any of the other MPs we highligh in our how-to guide (here). Evidence for Democracy also has a bunch of great resources (here), and a form email you could send (here). Feel free to stop by a table to pick up writing materials. We have a bunch of pre-made write-your-MP packages with all the information you might need and pre-addressed envelopes which you can grab on the go.
2. Use the #SUPPORTtheREPORT tag in Social Media Posts.
If you’re a connoisseur of social media, using the #SUPPORTtheREPORT hashtag is a great way to raise awareness and show your support for this issue. Sharing a personal story, a photo of yourself in the lab or doing school work, or even just sharing our campaign materials is a great way to spread the word about this issue and show how it impacts real people everyday. You can also use your posts to call out government officials by tagging them (here is a list of MPs with twitter handles). Andy Fillmore is also on Instagram with the handle @andyfillmorehfx, so you can tag him in your photos there too.
3. Attend Our Panel
As part of this campaign we are hosting a student moderated panel that will feature multidisciplinary researchers and university administrators who can speak to the issue of funding fundamental research, and really give context to how federal funding changes affect research here at Dal. The Panel will be held on November 16th and will include an introduction period and some structured questions, and then a space for students to ask any questions you may have. There will also be time for mingling and eating #snacks. You can find the Facebook event here.