Research and Development Personnel

Detailed information for 2021





Record number:


Research and Development (R&D) personnel data are essential to assure the availability of pertinent statistical information to monitor science and technology (S&T) related activities in Canada and to support the development of science and technology policy.

Data release - March 12, 2024


Data on R&D personnel are aggregated from surveys conducted by Statistics Canada as well as estimates based on various data sources from the following sectors: business enterprise, government, higher education and private non-profit. Statistics Canada follows international standards and guidelines for the measurement of R&D personnel, enabling international data comparability by policy analysts and researchers. The Frascati Manual (2015) distinguishes three occupational levels: researchers, technicians and equivalent staff, and other support staff.

Reference period: Fiscal year

Collection period: November to December


  • Human resources in science and technology
  • Research and development
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Target population

R&D personnel are drawn from a wide variety of occupations. In order to assist analysis on needs and supplies of highly qualified S&T personnel, R&D personnel are classified into three categories. The Frascati Manual (2015) distinguishes three occupational levels: researchers, technicians and equivalent staff, and other support staff.

- Researchers (scientists and engineers) are engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems. This level also includes managers and administrators engaged in the planning and management of the scientific and technical aspects of a researcher's work. They are usually equal in rank to the researchers and are often former or part-time researchers themselves. Post-graduate students, in particular those performing significant amounts of R&D, are included in this category.

- Technicians and equivalent staff are persons whose main tasks require technical knowledge and experience in one or more fields of natural sciences and engineering. They participate in R&D by performing scientific and technical tasks involving the application of concepts and operational methods, normally under the supervision of researchers. Equivalent staff performs the corresponding R&D tasks under the supervision of researchers in the social sciences and humanities.

- Support staff includes skilled and unskilled craftsmen, secretarial and clerical staff participating in R&D projects or directly associated with such projects. Also included are all managers and administrators dealing mainly with financial and personnel matters and general administration given that their activities are directly supporting R&D. Those providing an indirect service, such as canteen and cleaning staff, should be excluded.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Data are aggregated from Statistics Canada R&D products in the following sectors: business enterprise, government, higher education, private non-profit.

Error detection

Data are checked against previous years. Data are edited to ensure internal and historical logic and consistency and analyzed for trends and validity. However, if editing occurs it is done at the individual sector level, since this product is an aggregate of other statistical data sources.


This methodology does not apply.


Data are received in aggregate form from different sources. As a result, estimation is required in certain instances. For example, not all sectors provide a provincial distribution between technicians and support staff. Therefore the data are estimated proportionally according to national totals.

For the higher education sector, R&D personnel are estimated specifically for this product by aggregating university data to determine the percentage of FTE time spent on R&D activities through an established methodology incorporating the three occupations, two science types and three institutional sizes.

Quality evaluation

Data are categorized, checked, compiled, analyzed and compared with historical data and other sources of economic information. Estimates are reconciled with these various data sources. Since Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) calculations are based on estimations, the R&D personnel data go through a statistical convergence process. The counts for FTE R&D personnel are recorded to the nearest tenth with a process conducted separately by sector, science type and geography. As a result, the sum of components does not always add to the total.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

This methodology does not apply.

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