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More funding for 'open' grant competitions needed to realize bold discoveries: U of T researcher

Mark Lautens is a University Professor in the University of Toronto's department of chemistry (photo courtesy of Mark Lautens)

Further boosting grant funding of basic scientific research, as recommended by Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, would allow younger scientists to take bigger risks in pursuit of bolder discoveries, University of Toronto researcher Mark Lautens tells the Hill Times.

Lautens, a University Professor in U of T’s department of chemistry, told the Ottawa-based publication that “wide open” funding competitions are desirable because they allow researchers' applications to be evaluated based purely on scientific merit as opposed to government priorities.

“When you have a wide-open competition, there’s not somebody in the background saying, ‘this is what we want you to find,’” Lautens told the bi-weekly newspaper.

Lautens’ remarks appeared in a story in which researchers lauded the 2018 federal budget's investment in science and looked at potential next steps when it comes to fulfilling the recommendations put forward last year by the blue-ribbon panel chaired by U of T President Emeritus Dr. David Naylor.  

The panel, which analyzed the way research is funded in Canada, found per capita investment in fundamental science slumped in recent decades and recommended a comprehensive blueprint for making Canada a global research powerhouse.

Read the full Hill Times article