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Study: Research and development of Canadian non-profit organizations, 2013 (intentions)

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Released: 2013-10-15

Private non-profit organizations in Canada anticipate spending $144 million to perform research and development (R&D) in 2013, up 15.2% from the $125 million forecast to be spent in 2012.

In 2013, private non-profit organizations intend to perform almost all of their R&D activities, 97% or $139 million, in natural sciences and engineering, with the remaining $5 million in social sciences and humanities. Medical sciences R&D is the largest component of natural sciences and engineering R&D expenditures, accounting for $122 million, or 85%, of the total R&D to be performed by private non-profit organizations in 2013.

In 2011, the most recent year for which source-of-funds data are available, private non-profit organizations obtained the largest amount of their R&D funding from provincial governments ($57 million) and the federal government ($30 million). The R&D performing private non-profit organizations, Canadian business enterprises, other private non-profits, other Canadian sources and foreign sources accounted for the remaining $40 million in funding.

R&D performing private non-profit organizations provided employment to 1,241 full-time equivalents in 2011, down from 1,303 in 2010. The number of R&D personnel in private non-profit organizations has declined significantly from its peak of 2,250 in 2006.

R&D personnel are classified into three occupational categories: scientists and engineers; technicians and technologists; and other personnel. In 2011, 515 full-time equivalent scientists and engineers and 504 full-time equivalent technicians and technologists combined to represent 82% of the total R&D personnel in private non-profit organizations. Since a peak of 791 full-time equivalents in 2008, the number of other R&D personnel in private non-profit organizations has declined to 222 in 2011.

Private non-profit organizations with R&D activities can finance other organizations to perform R&D on their behalf. In 2011, private non-profit organizations provided $286 million in funding to other organizations for R&D activities. The majority of the private non-profit payments for R&D continued to go to activities in natural sciences and engineering ($265 million), with R&D in the social sciences and humanities receiving $21 million.

  Note to readers

Private non-profit organizations do not generate income, profit or other financial gain. For purposes of measuring R&D performance, private non-profit organizations include voluntary health organization, private philanthropic foundations and private research institutes. Private non-profit organizations that are controlled and financed by government (at least 50%) or affiliated to higher education institutions are excluded from the survey population. R&D expenditures for these excluded private non-profit organizations are included in the R&D expenditures for the government and higher education sectors.

These data are not available for provinces or regions.

The private non-profit estimates as a funding sector in the gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) indicators do not equal payments by private non-profit organizations for R&D performed by other organizations. The GERD source of funds data are identified by the sectors performing R&D. In some instances, organizations in the R&D performing sectors will include funds received from government-controlled private non-profit institutes and higher education affiliated private non-profit organizations and attribute it to private non-profit source of funds data. Other reasons for differences in these estimates can include different reference periods for when the R&D was performed and funded, survey coverage and R&D performing organizations not indicating accurately their sources of funds by funding sector.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Alain Mbassegue (613-951-2011;, Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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