University of Calgary

Federal budget commits to research funding

UToday HomeMarch 22, 2013

Jim Flaherty, Canada’s minister of finance, delivered his government’s 2013 budget on Thursday. Photo courtesy Department of Finance CanadaJim Flaherty, Canada’s minister of finance, delivered his government’s 2013 budget on Thursday. Photo courtesy Department of Finance CanadaThursday in Ottawa, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled a federal budget investing in university research, skills, and talent to help make Canada more innovative and competitive globally.

Post-secondary groups were quick to respond. The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities stated that the 2013 budget demonstrates the federal government’s continued commitment to funding research and development and the critical role that Canada’s universities play in generating world-class ideas and innovation.

“The federal government continues to recognize the importance of research investments,” University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon said. “These investments provide Canadian research universities with a significant advantage. They grow talent, create jobs, and make the Canadian economy more competitive internationally.”

The budget provided $37 million in new funding to the three granting councils. This reinvests the savings from the granting councils’ efficiencies identified in last year’s budget.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) also weighed in, stating that these investments provide a competitive advantage for Canada by helping students graduating from Canada’s universities be more competitive in the global knowledge economy.

Yesterday’s budget saw enhanced funding for Mitacs’ Globalink Program, which brings top undergraduate students from around the world to Canadian universities to undertake research projects, and also enables Canadian students to go abroad for research experiences.

“These opportunities allow Canada’s universities to enhance their profile and attract the brightest international students to our campuses,” says Cannon. “This aligns closely with our university’s international strategy, a key priority in achieving our Eyes High goals.”

A new scholarship program designed to improve access and achievement for Aboriginal post-secondary students was also a welcome announcement. The budget provides funding to be matched by the private sector for new scholarships for Aboriginal students through an initiative called Indspire, in collaboration with Canadian universities.

Highlights of the budget related to post-secondary funding include:

  • $37 million in new research funding for the granting councils: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
  • $225 million for the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s next Leading Edge/New Initiatives competition.
  • $121 million in new funding for the National Research Council, along with $20 million to support IRAP, the Industrial Research Assistance Program.
  • $165 million in new funding over two years for genomics research through Genome Canada.
  • $70 million over three years for post-secondary internships.
  • $10 million over two years for Canada’s International Education Marketing Strategy aimed at making Canadian universities an international destination of choice.
  • $10 million over two years to Indspire, providing post-secondary scholarships and bursaries for First Nations and Inuit students.
  • $13 million over two years to support Mitacs’ Globalink Program.

“Given the challenging fiscal climate, we are pleased by the support shown for research universities and we look forward to working with the federal government in building Canada’s research and development capacity, and international competitiveness,” said Cannon.

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