MONTREAL, Sept. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Conference of Rectors and
Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) is calling on the leaders of the
federal political parties to make concrete commitments to increase investment
in higher education as part of their current election campaign promises.
The cost of research
Quebec universities are particularly concerned with the issue of the
institutional cost of university research (also termed indirect costs). The
federal government currently finances these indirect costs at a level that
represents 24% of the direct costs, a proportion that is significantly less
than the actual cost and lower than the international standard. The federal
envelope should be raised to at least a 40% research cost recovery rate for
every university on the federal research funds they receive.
Two kinds of costs are involved in university research:
- Direct costs involve salaries for researchers and their teams,
equipment and materials, travel and publication costs. These direct
costs are subsidized federally by the three research councils and
by targeted programs such as Genome Canada;
- Institutional costs typically involve laboratory maintenance,
libraries, information technology, administration, grant
management, intellectual property management and knowledge transfer
as well as the costs involved in managing security and overseeing
sound ethical practices.
"Under funding institutional research costs hamstrings university
research productivity," says CREPUQ president Heather Munroe-Blum, principal
and vice chancellor of McGill University.
"Insufficient funding of indirect research costs not only hinders
research, but it also makes research and teaching compete for funding, when
the two functions are complementary and mutually supportive. It is crucial
that our federal government finance the real institutional costs of university
research if Quebec universities are to maintain their current levels of
research excellence," Munroe-Blum says.
Increased budgets for the subsidizing councils
Successive federal governments have made considerable research investment
in the last decade, and the successes speak for themselves. Quebec
universities are asking the federal parties to increase the budgets of
subsidizing agencies and provide continued financing of research across the
full range of disciplines.
Increased transfer payments for post secondary education
A study by the Association of Colleges and Universities of Canada (AUCC)
shows that in 2006-2007 publicly-funded US universities and colleges received
$8,000 Cdn per student more than their Canadian counterparts. As the AUCC
pointed out: "That advantage contributes to their ability to enhance the
quality of the learning environment, in turn contributing to a more productive
workforce. The UK and Australia have begun to close per-student funding gaps
with their American counterparts by increasing their investments in higher
education and creating more sustainable funding mechanisms. Canadian
governments will similarly need to take action over time to address the
per-student funding gap with the US in order to create the kind of workforce
Canada will require to drive economic growth and prosperity into the future."
Quebec universities are in a precarious financial position, and the
federal government must increase transfer payments for post secondary
education in order to restore funding to previous levels and to provide for
new needs of the universities. At stake is maintaining teaching and research
quality and allowing our universities to compete with the best in the world.
CREPUQ calls on the federal political parties to take a stance on these
three important issues and their impact on the future of Quebec universities.
For further information:
For further information: Daniel Zizian, Director general, (514) 288-8524