Canada Pledges $1.5-Billion for Research That Fosters Competitiveness

As part of a new federal budget, the Canadian government has created the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, which will provide 1.5 billion Canadian dollars (about $1.4-billion) over 10 years to support university research that contributes to the country’s long-term economic competitiveness. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada hailed the move as well as modest increases in other research funding, praising “the government’s recognition of university research as a significant driver of prosperity.”

However, other parts of Canadian academe were less sanguine. The Canadian Association of University Teachers said that the government was merely “dressing up a modest budget” in higher education and that, with a 10-year timeline, the money for the new fund would largely come out of the budgets of future governments.

“While the money for this year and next is modest, the government clearly feels a need to appear to be committed to science,” said James L. Turk, the association’s executive director. “This is a tribute to public pressure over the past year that has stressed the importance of science and research.” Mr. Turk’s group last year started a public effort to urge change in science policy, including the government’s push for more applied research.

In addition to the new research spending, the budget emphasizes job training, including expanding the country’s government student-loan program to support apprenticeships, reports CTV News. The Association of Canadian Community Colleges applauded the new measures.

Return to Top