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Science Statistics

March 2007 edition


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Estimates of total spending on research and development (R&D) in the health field in Canada, 1989 to 2006

Expenditure on R&D in the health field in 2006 is projected to reach $6.6 billion in 2006, up by $422 million (6.8%) over the figures for the previous year (table 1-1 ).

Indicative of the increasing importance of health R&D, the ratio of expenditure on health R&D to the gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) was recorded at 23.3% in 2006 (up from 22.7% in 2005) (table 1-1 ).

Health expenditure R&D per capita also increased from $191 in 2005 to $202 in 2006 (table 1-1 ).

Importantly, after a slight decline of 0.7% in 2003 (from $4.7 billion to $4.6 billion), health R&D expenditure in 1997 constant dollars bounced back in 2004 and recorded an impressive growth of 10.1% (to reach $5.1 billion). However, in 2005, the increase in health R&D expenditure (in 1997 constant dollars) experienced a rather sluggish growth of only 1.5% (table 1-1 ).

The higher education sector continues to perform the largest share of health R&D in Canada, spending slightly over $4.1 billion in 2006 (or 63% of total health R&D expenditure). This represents an increase of $377 million (10%) over the amount spent in 2005 ($3.8 billion) on health R&D. Business enterprises came in a distant second, accounting for slightly above $2.1 billion (or 32% of total health R&D expenditure) in 2006 (table 1-2 ).

Universities and teaching hospitals also emerged as the largest funder of health R&D in 2006, spending $1.8 billion dollars (or 28%) of total funding for health R&D. Business enterprises and the federal government placed second and third with funding outlays of $1.7 billion and $1.2 billion respectively (table 1-2 ).

Importantly, funding of health R&D by private non-profit firms has more than doubled from $242 million in 1999 to $533 million in 2006 (table 1-2 ).

In a pattern that closely mimics the overall pattern of R&D performance in Canada, educational institutions in Ontario and Quebec performed 73% ($2.6 billion) of health R&D in Canada in 2004 (the year that the latest information on regional health R&D data is available). On the other hand, higher education institutions in the Atlantic provinces collectively accounted for a meager 4.3% ($155 million) of total health R&D expenditure in the same year (table 1-3 ).

Chart 1 Gross domestic expenditures on research and development in the health field
Chart 2 Gross domestic expenditures on R&D in the health field, by performer, 2006