Top scientist calls for streamlining of Canadian funding mechanisms

September 30, 2014

Research funding competitions have become more aggressive since the economic downturn of 2009, with funders expecting more bang for their buck in smaller time frames than ever before. As a result, many researchers are finding grant applications to be an increasingly time-consuming—and stress-inducing—part of their job. “Right now, it’s a lottery. We have a lot of brilliant young investigators but I worry they won’t get a chance,” said Jim Wodgett, Scientific Director of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto. The current success rate of researchers applying for funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is just 15%. “But it’s not just about money. We need to consolidate and streamline the bureaucracy, to tear down the picket fences from around each funding organization,” said Wodgett, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Canada’s funding structures for biomedical research. Wodgett calls for less paperwork, more emphasis on interdisciplinary research, and greater investment in science. He also advocates for better communication between researchers and the public. Globe and Mail