On January 20, 2014, the Government of Ontario announced $190 million in new research funding. The funding, which will be distributed through the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs, will be invested over six years.
OCUFA welcomes this new investment as an important first step in bringing Ontario’s research spending in line with the rest of Canada. In our 2014 budget submission, we note that Ontario research spending as a percentage of GDP lags the Canadian average, and is significantly behind Quebec, Alberta, and Newfoundland.
It is also important that new research investment be directed to basic research. Commercialization of research – or a focus on research that aims to bring new products or services to market – has been a key feature of Ontario’s research spending in recent years. While this type of research is important, basic or curiousity-driven research is the foundation of a successful research and development strategy, producing new discoveries that expand knowledge, improve our quality of life, and lay the groundwork for commercial innovation.