Over four years ago, 15 of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities established a Directorate to help The U15 speak with one voice. Since then, we have been working to advance the sound public policy that ensures our country succeeds in this globally competitive environment.
We know investing in research and science pays dividends for all Canadians. It spurs innovation and fosters the curiosity and creativity that our best and brightest minds direct towards solving society’s greatest challenges. It also enables us to ensure we are developing the best and brightest talent for the workforce of tomorrow, and are able to conduct research in world-class facilities that can drive growth of innovative companies. We also realize it is important to let Canadians know why these investments matter, and how research-intensive universities successfully deliver these societal dividends.
Today, we can report that The U15 is making progress. Alongside our partners, we advocated for more research and development guided by excellence, transparency and accountability. In 2014 the federal government created the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) to support Canada’s global research strengths and partnerships. Once the Fund is implemented fully, it will inspire ground-breaking discoveries, leverage exciting global partnerships, and help us to attract and retain the best talent in the world.
In 2016, The U15 led the advocacy effort to ensure universities and knowledge infrastructure were key components of the federal government’s overall infrastructure program. In response, the government announced the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The Fund provides $2 billion in federal dollars for up to 50 percent of the costs of infrastructure linked to research and innovation. This significant infusion of resources will help to ensure Canada’s universities reach their potential in driving sustainable, long-term economic growth for all Canadians.
The U15 Directorate works to advance our collective’s perspectives on matters of importance and relevance to the research enterprise in Canada. This year we will focus our efforts on the government’s Fundamental Science Review and Innovation Agenda consultations, advocating for the importance of globally competitive levels of research funding in Canada, and ensuring that the critical role research-intensive universities play is both well-articulated and well-understood. We will continue to engage in the federal public policy environment to heighten the government’s understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities for research-intensive universities. On these issues and more, The U15 makes certain the federal government not only hears the voice of research-intensive universities, but acts upon their recommendations.
The U15 continues to expand our global engagement as a member of the Global Network of Research Intensive Universities and by exploring further partnerships with organizations and networks that share our values and goals.
We look forward to continuing to work together to create an exciting and enriching research enterprise that draws students, researchers and discoverers to our campuses and our country.
Executive Director, U15