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Spending on research and development in the higher education sector

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2008/2009 (Previous release)

The higher education sector comprised of institutions such as universities and affiliated research hospitals, experimental stations and clinics, spent $10.9 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2008/2009, up 7.3% from 2007/2008.

When adjusted for inflation, spending reached $9.0 billion in 2002 constant dollars in 2008/2009, up 3.2% from the previous year.

Higher education institutions continued as the leading source of funding for their R&D performance, providing $5.1 billion, or 46% of total funding in 2008/2009. The federal government remained the second largest contributor at $2.8 billion, or 26% of total funding.

Spending on higher education R&D in the natural sciences and engineering (including health sciences) was $8.7 billion, up 7.3% from 2007/2008. In the social sciences and humanities, R&D spending increased 7.4% to $2.2 billion.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of R&D spending in the higher education sector took place in Ontario and Quebec, the two provinces with the highest concentration of universities and research hospitals.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 5109.

The service bulletin Science Statistics, Vol. 34, no. 5 (88-001-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

For more information, or to enquire about methods, concepts or data quality of this release, contact Cindy Carter (613-951-1856; or Louise Earl (613-951-2880;, Business Special Surveys and Technology Statistics Division.

Table 1

Research and development expenditures in the higher education sector by funding sector, 2008/2009 
  Social sciences and humanities Health sciences Other natural sciences and engineering Total
  $ millions
Funding sector        
Federal government 469.1 1,071.1 1,271.3 2,811.5
Provincial governments 221.0 331.5 552.6 1,105.1
Business enterprises 36.5 384.6 471.3 892.4
Higher education 1,314.6 1,948.4 1,796.8 5,059.8
Private non-profit organisations 174.2 598.1 176.4 948.7
Foreign 0.0 45.7 68.6 114.4
Total 2,215.5 4,379.4 4,337.0 10,931.9
Figures may not add up to totals as a result of rounding. The foreign sector comprises all foreign governments, foreign companies (including foreign subsidiaries of Canadian firms), international organizations, non-resident foreign nationals and Canadians studying or teaching abroad.