Welcome to Quebec City. I agree. It is a beautiful city. Thank you for being here and for meeting with us here in our city.
My name is Lynn Lapostolle.
“Lynn” is maybe easier, so use “Lynn”. It's fine with me.
I represent the Association pour la recherche au collégial.
We could say “association for college research” in Quebec.
Our association thanks you for giving us the opportunity to come and speak about the purpose of the brief we submitted.
The mission of our organization is to promote all college research, that is basic, applied research in natural sciences and engineering, in the humanities and social sciences, and in health, whether it be in CEGEPs, subsidized private colleges or government schools. We have all of those here in Quebec.
We are interested in all of the research conducted by college researchers, whether it is in French or in English. That is what we promote and that is what we would like to draw your attention to this morning.
We are counting on the support that the Government of Canada can provide to these institutions and to college professors, researchers and students who are interested in research, because all of these people often work in partnership with Canadian businesses. That is really what we want to talk about this morning.
Our first recommendation relates to the need for strong government support for the direct costs of research in the upcoming budget. Research is a hallmark of higher education, and colleges are post-secondary institutions. That is the first very important thing to remember. The difference is that, at the college level, research is a voluntary activity. That means that the people who have been doing research in Quebec's colleges for the past 50 years care passionately about it. That is the second very important thing to remember, and we will talk more about it later. Any support provided must take into account that reality or characteristic of college research.
There are colleges and affiliated research, transfer and technology access centres located all across Quebec. There are approximately 80 institutions, not counting the research, transfer and technology access centres. These institutions are closely connected and share a relationship of trust with industry, which is made up of many small and medium-sized businesses both in Quebec and Canada. These colleges have been conducting an increasing amount of research in recent years. This increased research has helped to improve modern production techniques, and thus the competitiveness of businesses. It has also helped to solve social problems that impact the growth of the GDP, the deficit and Canada's economic development.
Of course, social science and humanities research has to be considered in a somewhat different light. We included references to that in the documentation we provided. We can talk about it more later. We are very appreciative to the Government of Canada for creating a social innovation fund for community research. This fund could use more resources, and colleges are prepared to help support that measure.
Funding has not increased in proportion with the rise in research activities. That is the first thing I wanted to point out. How can we obtain support for the direct costs of research in order to relieve researchers of some of their mandatory duties?
As I was saying, the work these researchers do is on a purely voluntary basis and is not part of their mandatory duties. We must therefore free professors from some of their duties so that they can conduct research. How can college researchers obtain direct funding to help them deal with the growing demands? Some of these demands are related to sustainable development, research data and the advancement of women with careers in higher education and research.
Monday, I participated in a workshop on a made-in-Canada Athena SWAN initiative. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, or NSERC, is holding consultations about that right now. This is a new demand that may soon need to be met. We therefore need more support for those costs.