York research funding among fastest-growing in Canada



York researchers are climbing the list of Canada’s top innovators, according to the latest rankings released today by one of Canada’s leading research analysis firms, Research Infosource Inc.

York saw a dramatic 51.5-per cent increase to lead all medical/doctoral and comprehensive institutions in funding growth, in a year when both of Toronto’s other universities experienced an overall drop in sponsored research funding. The average increase in sponsored funding across Canada was 12 per cent, down by about half over previous years.

“Clearly, York’s focused, strategic approach to advancing our position as a dynamic research institution is working and achieving measurable results,” said Stan Shapson (right), York’s VP research & innovation.

“These results are particularly gratifying for the recognition they provide to all of our exceptional and hard-working researchers and reflect York’s leadership in groundbreaking interdisciplinary and collaborative research.”

York’s improved standing in the survey is also a reflection of changes in the indicators used to gauge research excellence. In addition to gross research income, which Research Infosource Inc. acknowledges is a “crude measure”, the rankings also take into account research intensity – the amount of research income per faculty and graduate student – and output measures of research.

“Importantly, the study now also measures research output by tracking articles published in 5,000 of the world’s leading scientific journals,” said Shapson. York and others have been voicing their support for the inclusion of criteria that better reflect the qualitative value of research and the impact it has on everyday life.

“This improved scoring method helps bring York’s approach to research and innovation into sharper focus by recognizing the quality of the work, not just the dollars it attracts,” said Shapson.

In previous studies, large universities with medical faculties dominated the rankings by the sheer size of projects. While universities with medical faculties still attracted the largest proportion of funding, other universities’ share grew by 2 per cent. That growth is due in part to the success York and other universities have had in increasing their emphasis on research, said the study’s authors.

“York University and its many dedicated faculty members and graduate students are pursuing new discoveries, addressing real-world challenges and redefining university research in Canada,” Shapson said.

The rankings, published annually, are included in a special supplement to the National Post today and are available online