Federal Budget Continues Failed Innovation Strategy

OTTAWA, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Today's federal budget stakes Canada's future economic success on the failed policy of commercialising university research.

"The budget continues to follow the misguided science and technology policy that has left Canada ranked near the bottom of industrialised countries in innovation," said Andrea Balon, spokesperson for the National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Public funding should support basic research that enriches our knowledge, not serve as a substitute for private sector research and development."

Graduate students working in university labs carry-out a significant portion of research undertaken in Canada. Budget 2009 cut $148 million dollars over three years from the federal research granting councils. The modest increase of $32 million contained in the 2010 budget still leaves the granting councils millions of dollars behind where they were last year. Despite a majority of graduate students being enrolled in the humanities and social sciences, this budget allocated a mere $3 million to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), compared to $16 million for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and $13-million to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council.

"Innovation is at the heart of Canada's future economic success," added Balon. "To meet its own goals the government needs to invest in the basic and curiosity-driven research that fuels the innovation engine."

In this budget, the government ignored recommendations made by researchers, professors and students. In the National Graduate Caucus's budget submission, it called for doubling the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships, returning the $148 million cut from the granting councils in the 2009 budget, increasing funding for basic research with greater funds asymmetrically allocated to SSHRC, and increasing core funding for post-secondary education.

The National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students represents over 60,000 graduate students across the country.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: For further information: Andrea Balon, National Graduate Caucus, (613) 232-7394; Graham Cox, Canadian Federation of Students Researcher, (613) 232-7394


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