On preliminary examination of the 2008 Federal Budget, the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR) has identified several positive initiatives. In light of Canada’s slower economic outlook, the CCR acknowledges the importance of this budget’s support for post-secondary education and research.
- The CCR acknowledges, with appreciation, an $80M increase to the granting councils: NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC. We note that all three granting councils’ increases are targeted to specific government determined priorities. Although the identified priorities are important, we are concerned by the gradual erosion of the non-directed base. The CCR believes strongly that basic research is critical to maintaining Canada’s competitive edge. There is no inflationary increase to the non-targeted, base budget of the three granting councils.
- The CCR welcomes the creation of the Vanier Scholarships, within the Canadian Graduate Scholarship program, which are designed to attract and retain in Canada the very best Canadian or international doctoral students. The $25 million over two years is expected to support up to 500 students and will be worth up to $50,000 per year for three years for top doctoral students.
- The CCR similarly welcomes, in principle, the creation of the new Canada Global Excellence Research Chairs. However, we are interested in seeing how these 20 chairs will be awarded.
- The CCR notes the budget’s $3.2B allotment to post-secondary education (PSE) as part of the Canada Social Transfer. The CCR continues to call for accountability mechanisms that will ensure the provinces spend these funds in the university and college sectors.
- Although the budget is positive for research, the CCR believes that the Government must also reinvest in its own research infrastructure—research that underpins and supports regulatory decisions and is at the forefront of the science policy interface. The CCR anticipates further renewal initiatives of government based S&T activity based on its on-going review. This reinvestment appears to be missing in this budget.
The CCR has consistently advocated three priorities: a dedicated transfer for post-secondary education; sustained financial support for the granting councils and related agencies; and reinvesting in government science.
The CCR, established in 1976, is a coalition of 22 national organizations representing over 670,000 individuals on the front lines of knowledge creation and dissemination in Canada. Our members are from the academic, industry, and government sectors and engage in basic and applied research, study, and practice in the humanities and the natural, health and social sciences and engineering. The mission of the CCR is to communicate the importance to Canada of basic research and post secondary education.
For more information:
Roland Andersson, Chair
Canadian Consortium for Research