Release date: August 13, 2020 (Previous notice)
- How we reached out and whom we heard from
- Summary of what we heard
- Next steps
Accountability and transparency—which are of the utmost importance for research funding organizations—are becoming increasingly critical for demonstrating how funds are deployed. Research stakeholders, the government and the public are seeking information about which areas of research are receiving support and the levels of investment in each of these areas. Furthermore, since research efforts are global, the ability to combine and compare information about funded research with other organizations is necessary to improve collaboration, improve support for research and development (R&D), and benchmark investments and performance both nationally and internationally.
Since December 2017, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and Statistics CanadaFootnote 1 have been jointly developing the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC). This new classification has been designed to include all research sectors and represent the current research landscape in Canada while also contributing to greater alignment with international standards. It is also comprehensive enough to support a wide range of needs within the R&D ecosystem. Furthermore, it has been developed to facilitate the peer review process and the reporting of investments by federal research funding agencies and the Government of Canada. The CRDC will help ensure the consistent compatibility and comparability of statistics across research funding agencies both in Canada and internationally while balancing the needs of different users and highlighting specific areas of Canadian research strength. The CRDC is the product of months of reviews, consultations, analysis and negotiations among the sponsors and the Canadian research community in an effort to make research classification consistent in Canada.
The CRDC is a set of three interrelated classifications:
- Type of activity (TOA): This is categorization by type of research being undertaken, e.g., fundamental, applied, experimental development.
- Field of research (FOR): This is categorization by field of research; it is the methodology used in R&D that is being considered. The categories within this classification include major fields of research based on knowledge source, subject of interest, and methods and techniques used.
- There are four hierarchical levels: divisions are the broadest level, and groups, classes and subclasses represent increasingly detailed dissections of these categories. This resulted in a comprehensive list of fields of research—nearly 1,800 in total—to help reflect Canada's current research landscape.
- Socioeconomic objectives (SEO): This is categorization by R&D purpose or outcome.
- There are two hierarchical levels: divisions are the broadest level, followed by groups. There are approximately 85 groups.
While Statistics Canada will use the CRDC to report on Canada's R&D activities at the national and international levels, the federal research granting agencies have been involved from the beginning of the project, as they see great benefits in having a common research classification. Adopting a common approach for classifying research and expertise across the federal research granting agencies aims to
- provide a common language for discussing research in the higher education sector, in the public sector and within government, enabling better evidence-based decision making within the research ecosystem
- make it possible to identify expertise and research areas in a truly multidisciplinary classification
- improve the identification of emerging research fields
- help identify potential collaboration opportunities to optimize research efforts and improve outcomes
- improve the identification of research funding gaps and opportunities
- provide the research community with harmonized and integrated R&D classification
- improve reporting on the agencies' combined contributions to research and science in Canada
- help the agencies streamline their operational processes for peer review, recruitment and reviewer selection.
How we reached out and whom we heard from
- Over 100 research funding agency employees
- Over 300 subject-matter experts across all sectors
- 18 webinars hosted by project sponsors
- Over 860 responses from the online consultations
- Over 1,700 notices of interest about the CRDC received through the pilot program
- Over 1,000 suggestions proposed by subject-matter experts and the research community as a whole
The project sponsors sought to engage and consult as wide of an audience as possible to collect evidence-based recommendations to help develop the CRDC. The consultation process started in February 2018 and ended in September 2019. Those consulted include
- the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Australian Research Council, as they have been using a similar model for 10 years and could share their expertise and experience
- internal staff at each Canadian federal research granting agency to ensure that the CRDC supports the full range of uses of a research classification for program delivery, monitoring and reporting
- subject-matter experts in the research community to inform and validate the terminology used in and the scope of specific fields of research
- targeted stakeholders, such as federal science-based departments and agencies, provincial funding agencies, and provincial statistical agencies, to obtain feedback on the general structure and principles of the classification.
An open online consultation process ran from February 11 to March 22, 2019, to give a wider audience the chance to provide feedback on the proposed categories and terminology. The New Frontiers in Research Fund at SSHRC used a pilot version of the classification.
Summary of what we heard
In the open online consultation, participants and subject-matter experts were asked to review proposed categories and suggest any changes to specific categories—including adding, removing, combining, splitting and renaming—to represent the current Canadian research landscape, and to ensure that the classification would meet the needs of different stakeholders across the Canadian research ecosystem. The objective of the consultation process was to obtain feedback on fields of research and socioeconomic objectives, not on type of activity.
CRDC open online consultation
- 817 responses received
- 313 responses with comments on field of research
- 5% of respondents identified their field of research as "other"
|Field of research||Most frequent comments and suggestions provided for consideration|
|Category specific (examples)||
|Socioeconomic objectives||Comments and suggestions for consideration|
|Category specific (examples)||
|Overall||Comments and suggestions for consideration|
The consultations provided insights to help improve the proposed CRDC and its categories to better reflect the current Canadian research landscape. Participants and subject-matter experts identified many areas and categories for improvement. Based on the consultation results, the CRDC was revised, and the suggested fields of research, socioeconomic objectives and other proposed changes were taken into account. Opportunities to minimize the burden of identifying and selecting fields of research and socioeconomic objectives are being studied to improve usability and findability.
- Pre-consultation period
- March to December 2017
- February 2018 to September 2019
- Release of the What We Heard report
- August 2020
- Release of the new Canadian Research and Development Classification
- Fall 2020
- Implementation within each federal research granting agency