Thursday, January 29, 2009

Genome Canada cut from the budget?

So at a time where our southern neighbors are investing heavily in science and putting science back into decision-making we have an unpopular prime-minister (at least out east), who is crippling science and rendering us completely uncompetitive. The latest casualty is Genome Canada, our only large-project funding agency, completely left out of the budget. I hear a lot of grumbling, and it's only a matter of time before we experience major brain-drain. Such a reversal in a short amount of time. From the Globe and Mail:

The only agency that regularly finances large-scale science in Canada was shut out of Tuesday's federal budget, putting at risk thousands of jobs and some of the most promising medical research, and forcing the country to pull out of key international projects.

For the first time in nine years, Genome Canada, a non-profit non-governmental funding organization, was not mentioned in the federal budget and saw its annual cash injection from Ottawa - $140-million last year - disappear.

"We got nothing, nothing, and we don't know why," said a stunned Martin Godbout, Genome Canada president and CEO. "We're devastated."

The news spread like a virus through the research community yesterday as the country's top scientists wondered whether the oversight was a mistake. Genome Canada supports 33 major research projects in areas such as genomics, agriculture and cancer stem cells with operating grants of $10-million a year. The projects employ more than 2,000 people. By comparison, medical research grants from the federally funded Canadian Institutes of Health Research run in the $100,000-a-year range.


Bayman said...

"We got nothing, nothing, and we don't know why,"

Really??? Genomics??? How's that going to help us get oil out of the tar sands faster?

Getting young, engaged, and highly educated voters to flee the country by the boatload, on the other hand, a great measure to make sure the oil keeps flowing.

Pretty obvious why it got cut if you ask me.