New Funding Furthers Privatization Agenda for University Research

TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Graduate students are disappointed with a decision by the Liberal government to spend $8.4 million to fund private-sector internships through the Mitacs Accelerate program. The funding announced today will go to a program that funds applied research almost exclusively in the private, for-profit sector to address 'business research challenges.'

"This announcement is just the latest example of government policy that shifts research funding away from being a public function of our universities and into the hands of private, for-profit companies," said Brendan Lehman, Chairperson of the Ontario Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. "This move further encourages close ties between our public universities and private companies, which compromises the integrity of research conducted by graduate students."

In January 2012, the Liberal government eliminated the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), which provided $42 million in research grants, including grants for graduate students and academics doing research in social sciences, arts and humanities. Graduate students are also ineligible for the Ontario Tuition Grant that was launched last year.

"Unfortunately, this program does not undo the damage of previous Liberal decisions that have left Ontario graduate students paying the highest tuition fees in the country with few financial supports," said Sarah Jayne King, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "This money would be better served to address the high cost of graduate studies and to create more research opportunities within our public universities."

The Ontario Graduate Caucus, a caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, unites more than 50,000 graduate students at 17 universities in Ontario and works to promote the interests of graduate students to the provincial government and other external authorities whose jurisdiction affects graduate student affairs.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information:

Kaley Kennedy, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator: 647-302-3891 (mobile) or communications@cfsontario.ca