2010 federal budget drives innovation for future growth

TORONTO, March 4 /CNW/ - Today's federal budget investments in research were welcomed by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) as drivers of innovation, talent and growth and are particularly appreciated in this time of fiscal and economic challenges.

"We appreciate the federal government's new investments in the granting councils, the indirect costs of research program and post-doctoral scholarships," said Sheldon Levy, Chair of COU and President of Ryerson University. "Collectively, they will help to foster continued innovation from our universities and to attract and retain the highly qualified individuals that are so critical to our country's prosperity."

Budget 2010 provided a total of $32 million for the three major granting councils and an additional $8 million per year toward the indirect costs of research, which recognizes the importance of supporting research infrastructure. As well, the budget provided $45 million over five years to the granting councils to establish a new post-doctoral fellowships program to help attract and retain talented PhD graduates in Canada.

"These are difficult times and tough decisions are being made, but the federal government understands that now more that ever we need to grow the country's competitive advantage by investing in research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, creates new products and services, and shapes the policies of our society," said Bonnie Patterson, President of COU.

Ontario universities play a major role in Canada's innovation system, receiving close to 40 percent of federal research funding.

Other examples of research investments that will have an impact on universities in Ontario and across the country include:

    -   An additional $75 million in 2009-2010 for Genome Canada
    -   $35 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to support
        research and development of new technologies for the production of
    -   An additional $10 million over two years for a clinical trials
        network to help move research isotopes and imaging into clinical
    -   $8 million over two years to extend the International Science and
        Technology Partnerships Program

The budget's affirmed commitment to the roll out of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program is also welcomed by Ontario universities. "The program, together with the provincial government's investments, has provided jobs and additional revenue for supply companies to many communities around the province. The funding will also enhance the modern technology and infrastructure that universities need to teach students and conduct cutting-edge research." said Patterson.

SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information: For further information: Bonnie Patterson, (416) 616-7231, bpatterson@cou.on.ca

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