Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Science and the 2009 Canadian Budget

Looks like the granting agencies took a hit with the Canadian Conservative Governments new budget.
From the Globe:
The headline numbers offered yesterday drew praise from university leaders. There is $2-billion for colleges and universities to fix their aging buildings, $87.5-million for new graduate scholarships and $750-million for the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which funds research infrastructure.

But more than 250 pages back in the budget are figures that point to cuts to the three federal granting councils, the bodies that hand out the money to support continuing research. Over three years, the base budgets of the three agencies will be reduced by $87.2-million; the government says this money will be directed to other spending programs in higher education.

At a time when U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to "restore science to its rightful place" with billions in new investments, leaders in the Canadian research community were left scratching their heads over Stephen Harper's response to what many fear will become a widening funding gap.

Also it sounds as if environmental investments are exclusively carbon capture and storage. Also the money given to the auto sector had less green strings attached than what was done in the US.

Yet, the budget was mostly silent on the science sector, other than for infrastructure investment in universities and colleges, while its commitment to the energy sector, particularly when it comes to green projects, seems limited to carbon sequestration efforts to which it has already committed, and a green infrastructure fund to transmit power from renewable energy projects. Research and development in this area got scant attention.

Overall doesn't sound very competitive with what the US has decided to do to take on this 'financial crisis'. I was optimistic that the Conservatives might have done something smart, because I have no doubt they have some smart people, especially since they have to please the opposition. Lost opportunity.

"catching fish and chopping wood, the revolution, slow time coming" Buck 65


Anonymous Coward said...

That is incredibly short-sighted. I can't believe that just when we need investment into the sciences the most, Harper proposes cuts?
Well that doesn't bode well for all the new graduates they are trying to train in shinny new university buildings...

Bayman said...

Get a PhD in construction work instead. Only then will you be properly prepared to get a good job in said university and research buildings. Serves you right for being a lazy-ass scholastic ivory tower bumble-fugger instead of rolling up your sleeves and getting down to work like a real manly-man man.

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