The CFI has implemented the new Canadian standard for classifying research

October 26, 2020

Today, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has finished implementing the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC), a system that provides a common approach to classifying research across institutions and governments.

The CRDC is a collaborative effort by the CFI, the three federal research granting agencies — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) — and Statistics Canada. It was published by Statistics Canada on October 5.

Now, researchers and research administrators will use the CRDC in the CFI Awards Management System to classify their proposed research projects when competing for funding, and to indicate their field of research expertise in their CV.

Having one standard in Canada for researchers, research institutions and funding organizations will make it easier to gauge the country’s contribution to any:

  • Field of research, like artificial intelligence or political science;
  • Type of research, meaning basic, applied or experimental; or,
  • Socioeconomic challenge, such as renewable energy.

The CRDC includes all current areas of research in Canada and supports a range of needs within the research and development ecosystem.  “This classification is a signal achievement and will be an invaluable reference tool,” says Roseann O’Reilly Runte, the CFI’s President and CEO. “As new fields develop and research becomes increasingly interdisciplinary, international and collaborative across the public, private and academic sectors, the ability to identify, locate and apply the knowledge created is of
great importance.”

Canada’s federal research granting agencies and the CFI worked closely with Statistics Canada to ensure the CRDC is based on sound, established and internationally recognized best practices in standards development. This will improve the quality of statistics on Canadian research, which in turn will help decision-makers evaluate the state of Canadian research investments in an international context, and develop policies and programs that enhance Canada’s global position in research.  

The CRDC was developed in consultation with the Office of the Chief Science Advisor, and benefited from input from Canada’s research community, which ensured it would accurately represent the breadth of areas of inquiry currently covered in research in Canada.

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC plan to further incorporate it into their grant and award administration systems in the future. Other organizations, such as postsecondary institutions, research and development institutes, or provincial and territorial granting agencies can also adopt the CRDC.

The CRDC is expected to continually evolve to represent the most current research trends.