Graduate Students Call for Minister Goodyear to Resign

    OTTAWA, June 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Graduate Caucus (NGC) of the
Canadian Federation of Students has joined the call for Minister of State for
Science and Technology Gary Goodyear to resign over political interference
with internal peer-review processes at an independent granting council.
    In an unprecedented move, Goodyear asked the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to reconsider its financial support of a
conference scheduled for York University later this month. SSHRC's decision to
award funding was based on a long-recognised peer review process conducted by
independent scholars across a number of disciplines.
    "The independence of research granting agencies is a major pillar of our
academic system," said Megan Nicholson, Chairperson of the National Graduate
Caucus. "For the Minister to involve himself in the awarding of this funding
not only constitutes a dangerous precedent of political interference in the
Canadian research community, but it also undermines Canada's academic
reputation abroad.
    This latest move by the Minister continues a dangerous trend by the
Harper Government of directing research funding to score political points with
little regard for academic merit. In the 2009 Federal Budget new funding for
graduate students in SSHRC programmes was exclusively assigned for "business
related" research-representing less than 10% of all SSHRC programmes-and
continued the government's policies of preferentially funding
commercially-oriented research and development over curiosity-based research.
    "Researchers know best when it comes to funding and directing academic
inquiry," said Nicholson. "Graduate students are starting to wonder whether it
is academic merit or the political position of government that determines
their access to research funding."

    The National Graduate Caucus (NGC) of the Canadian Federation of Students
is the national voice of graduate students in Canada, uniting more than 50,000
graduate students from campuses in every province.

For further information:

For further information: Megan Nicholson, National Graduate Caucus
Chairperson, (647) 938-9314 (cell); Gaétan Beaulière, National Graduate Caucus
Deputy Chairperson, (819) 208-4642 (cell)

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