Canada Budget Reax
January 28, 2009
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A collection of reactions to yesterday’s budget
First, here’s what was picked up in the U.S. by AAAS Blog Science Insider under the headline “Canada Cuts Research Funding”
Under the proposed budget, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will see their budgets collectively reduced by an aggregate $113 million over the next 3 years. A breakdown of the blow each council must individually absorb in each year was not made available. Currently, the councils’ respective base budgets are $597 million, $577 million, and $202 million.
Harper’s budget contains some initiatives that would cushion the blow to researchers, but they come with strings attached. It promises $488.5 million for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to hold a research infrastructure competition by 2011, with the priority areas to be set by the federal industry minister. Similarly, it proposes to spend $71.2 million over 3 years for 500 new doctoral, and 1000 new master’s, scholarships under the Canada Graduate Scholarships program. But an unspecified chunk of those will be set aside for “business-related degrees.”
Here’s some collected reaction reported on CBC’s Science and Technology page:
Of the 7 organizations that were part of the Joint Brief last week, only two have released statements, both qualified endorsements:
- Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations(ACAHO)
The Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO), congratulates the federal government on its series of infrastructure investments through Canada Health Infoway ($500 million) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI – $750 million)…
That said, separate from the temporary expansion of the Canada Graduate Scholarship Program, there are concerns about the lack of additional base funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Genome Canada and funding to cover the indirect costs of research.
- Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC)
Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) is pleased with several measures contained in the 2009 Federal Budget. The commitments to spend $2 Billion on infrastructure for our national post-secondary educational institutions, $500 Million through Canada Health Infoway to encourage Canada’s much-needed transition to electronic health records, and $750 Million to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to improve Canada’s research infrastructure are all positive steps. AFMC was also reassured to see long overdue investments made in this budget to improve the health status of Indigenous populations in Canada.
AFMC is concerned, however, that the budget does not do enough to ensure that Canada emerges from our current fiscal challenges in a global leadership position in science and technology, and research and development – the engine of the economy of tomorrow.
BIOTECanada, Rx&D, HCCC, MEDEC and Research Canada do not appear to have publicly released statements at this time.