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Research and development of Canadian private non-profit organizations, 2016 (final)

Released: 2018-03-15

Private non-profit in-house research and development

$137 million


0.7% increase

(annual change)

In-house research and development spending intentions, 2017 and 2018

Private non-profit organizations' in-house research and development (R&D) spending intentions of $137 million for 2018 are almost unchanged from the $136 million revised intentions for 2017.

Current in-house R&D expenditures, mostly dedicated to wages and salaries, are planned to be $128 million for 2018.

These private non-profit organizations are expected to almost double their in-house capital R&D expenditures, from their revised intentions of $5 million for 2017, to planned spending of $9 million for 2018.

R&D activities in 2016

Contracted or granted out R&D spending increased in 2016

Private non-profit organizations increased their contracting and granting out of R&D by 29.6%, from $398 million in 2015 to $516 million in 2016. Outsourced R&D spending is planned to be $517 million in 2017 and $484 million in 2018.

The majority of the 2016 outsourced R&D spending went to organizations operating in Canada. Private non-profit organizations funded $437 million of R&D to higher education and related institutions such as universities and hospitals. Hospitals received most of this sector's funding at $266 million in 2016, up from $163 million in 2015, furthering these Canadian private non-profit organizations' support for R&D in the fields of medical and health sciences.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total outsourced research and development expenditures by private non-profit organizations
Total outsourced research and development expenditures by private non-profit organizations

In-house R&D spending unchanged in 2016 with shift towards professional R&D personnel

Private non-profit organizations' current in-house R&D spending declined modestly from $152 million in 2015 to $149 million in 2016. Almost $6 out of every $10 of current in-house R&D spending was directed towards wages and salaries, at $85 million in 2016.

While in-house R&D spending on wages and salaries remained unchanged, there was a decrease in the number of R&D personnel overall as these private non-profit organizations concentrated on the skills of scientists and engineers over those of technical and support staff. The total number of R&D personnel declined from 1,457 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2015 to 970 FTEs in 2016. R&D technicians and support staff decreased more than 60%, from 624 FTEs in 2015 to 240 FTEs in 2016. On the other hand, scientists, social scientists, engineers and researchers increased from 457 FTEs in 2015 to 481 FTEs in 2016.

Services to support R&D, including spending on on-site personnel hired to perform specialized project-based R&D work under supervision and direction of the contracting organizations decreased from $15 million in 2015 to $13 million in 2016. The decline corresponded to a drop in the number of on-site contractors working for these organizations, down from 65 FTEs in 2015 to 41 FTEs in 2016.

In-house R&D spending continues to be focused on applied research

In-house R&D spending on applied research such as original investigation, undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge and directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective, increased 14.9% to $85 million in 2016 accounting for over half of in-house R&D spending. Basic research accounted for 27.6% of the total in-house R&D expenditures in 2016 and experimental development accounted for 17.9%.

Medical and health sciences the most important field of R&D

Maintaining the human health-oriented focus of private non-profit organizations R&D activities, these organizations performed $100 million of in-house R&D in medical and health sciences in 2016.

The next two most important fields of R&D for private non-profit organizations were natural and formal sciences, and social science and humanities.

R&D activities concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia

In-house R&D spending of private non-profit organizations was concentrated in Ontario ($100 million) and British Columbia ($23 million), followed by New Brunswick ($10 million) and Alberta ($8 million).

Government remains largest source of funding for R&D activities

In 2016, Canadian universities and individuals funded $39 million of private non-profit organizations' in-house R&D, with governments funding $69 million.

R&D spending results in new or significantly improved services

Almost two-thirds of private non-profit organizations indicated that their total in-house and outsourced R&D expenditures over the three-year period from 2014 to 2016 resulted in new or significantly improved services.

  Note to readers

Research and development non-profit organizations

Private non-profit organizations provide individual or collective services to households either without charge or at prices that are not economically significant. For purposes of measuring research and development (R&D) performance, private non-profit organizations include voluntary health organizations, private philanthropic foundations and private research institutes. The private non-profit sector is residual in nature. Private non-profit organizations that are controlled and financed by government (at least 50%) or affiliated with higher education institutions are excluded from the survey population. R&D expenditures for excluded private non-profit organizations are included in the R&D expenditures for the government and higher education sectors. A change to a private non-profit organization's mandate or funding structure may result in the addition of a new unit to, or the removal of an existing unit from, the survey population. This may also cause variability within the statistical data.

In-house research and development expenditures

In-house research and development (R&D) expenditures are a measure of R&D performance. For each private non-profit organization, in-house R&D measures the amount spent on R&D performed by in-house R&D personnel, including on-site R&D consultants and contractors.

Contact information

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