The Canadian Research Landscape
In the last years Canada made huge R&D investments in universities, research institutes and the industry. The equipment of the research institutes is very good, new institutes are being build and have been built. The participation in priority themes of the funding organizations has extremely risen. This builds the foundation for the potential for cooperation. The R&D share of the GDP in Canada is 1.74%. This comparably low number relies on the low share of the private R&D-expenditures. On the other hand, Canada is a favorable partner in certain areas such as Artic Research. Canada has a high standard of education, a well-developed research infrastructure and a remarkable (not only fiscal) stability. This makes Canada an important and reliable partner for cooperation.
Canada is a federal state. The federal level and the 13 Provinces and Territories share the responsibility for research and science. The Canadian government finances about one fifth of all the investments. Canada does not have a federal ministry for research and education, research topics are located at the line ministries (Science-Based Departments and Agencies). Important are here the following ministries of whom all have their own research institutes:
- Environment Canada - EC,
- Natural Resources Canada - NRCAN,
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - AGR,
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada - DFO,
- Health Canada – HC-SC.
Industry Canada (IC) plays an important role as two of the three federal granting councils, namely the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); important strategical programmes (e.g. Genome Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)); and the National Research Council (NRC) as well as the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) belong to their responsibilities.
EU-Canada Cooperation in Research and Innovation
Europe and Canada are already each other’s second leading S&T- partners among industrialized countries. It is a powerful and complex relationship, built through cultural affinity, mutual interest and the engagement of government agencies, research institutions and private companies at multiple levels on both sides of the Atlantic. Canada’s agreement with the European Commission was signed in June 1995 and came into force in 1996 in the spirit of mutual benefit and reciprocity. Since its coming into force, the EU-Canada agreement on S&T cooperation has permitted significant numbers of Canadian researchers to join, on a self-funded project-by-project basis, European-led consortia competing in the European Commission’s Framework Programmes (FP) on Research and Technological Development. Conversely, the agreement also permits European researchers to link with Canadian S&T programmes. Areas of cooperation that have been agreed upon from both sides, the EU and Canada, are Marine and Arctic Research, Health Research, Information and Communication Technologies and Aeronautics.
Horizon 2020 (2014 – 2020), the European Union’s framework program on research and innovation, offers many opportunities for cooperation with Canadian researchers, particularly in the collaborative projects but also in the ERC Grants and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. With Canada as an industrialised country, the main reasons for pursuing joint projects is to increase the competitiveness, to tackle global societal challenges though common innovation solution and to develop enabling technologies.
Canadian partners can take part in many parts of Horizon 2020, however, in general with own financial contribution. They are eligible for funding if
- there is specific provision in the call text
- provided for under a bilateral scientific and technological agreement or any other arrangement
- the participation is deemed essential for carrying out the action (case by case assessment regarding outstanding competence/expertise, access to research infrastructure, etc.).
These general rules have not changed for Canadian participants in comparison to FP7 (2007 – 2013) in which 328 Canadians have participated 284 research projects. Canadian researchers have been particularly successful in Marie Curie Actions and the thematic areas Health; Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology; and Transport (including Aeronautics).
ERA-Can+ is the successor of the BILAT-project ERA CAN II and aims to raise awareness of the growing partnership opportunities for Canadian and European researchers and innovators as well as enriching the policy dialogue in science, technology and innovation. The project promotes cooperation between the EU and Canada across the science, technology and innovation chain to support and encourage their mutual prosperity, address common societal issues and meet global challenges in the most effective and efficient way possible: together. It focuses on the joint priority theme areas of arctic and marine, health, information and communication technology as well as aeronautics. The 36-month project is largely funded by the European Commission. For more information please visit: ERA-Can+