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Research and development personnel

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The Daily

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
1995 to 2004

Researchers comprised nearly two-thirds of all personnel involved in research and development (R&D) in 2004, and the overwhelming majority of them were natural science researchers.

Researchers also formed the largest category of R&D personnel in business enterprises, higher education institutions and federal and provincial governments.

Just over 199,000 full-time equivalent personnel were engaged in R&D activities in 2004, up 5.0% from 189,520 in 2003. These included researchers, technicians and other support staff.

This level represented an increase of more than one-third between 1995 and 2004. Much of this growth was the result of a gradual increase in R&D spending by business enterprises after a slump in 2002.

About 63%, or 125,330 of the R&D personnel were researchers, a 5.4% increase from 2003. This gain accounted for two-thirds (68%) of the total increase in R&D personnel.

About 64% of R&D personnel were employed in business enterprises in 2004, compared with 28% in universities, and 7% in the federal government sector.

The higher education sector employed about 54,730 R&D personnel, up 5.5% from 2003. Since 2002, the number of R&D personnel in higher education institutions in Canada has grown slightly faster than in many Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

Ontario accounted for 45% of all R&D personnel in the country, followed by Quebec, with 31% of the total. British Columbia was a distant third with 10%, and Alberta fourth with 7%. This reflects the pattern of spending on R&D in Canada.

About 64% of R&D personnel in Newfoundland and Labrador were employed in the higher education and private non-profit sectors, as were 51% in Nova Scotia and 50% in New Brunswick. This is related to the dominant role universities in these provinces play in R&D.

On the other hand, the vast majority of R&D personnel in other provinces were employed in the business sector, for example, 70% in Quebec, 67% in Ontario and 62% in British Columbia.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 4201, 4204, 4208, 4209, 4210, 4212 and 5109.

The article "Research and development personnel" is now available in the service bulletin Science Statistics, Vol. 31, no. 1 (88-001-XWE, free) from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, or to enquire about the methods, concepts or data quality of this release, contact Gisèle Bellefeuille, (613) 951-7113, ( or Louise Earl, (613) 951-2880 (, Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division.