Universities applaud postsecondary education and research increases

    OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's universities welcome the federal
government's move to earmark more long-term and stable funding for
postsecondary education through the Canada Social Transfer in today's federal
budget, as well as a series of key investments in university research and
graduate students.
    "We're pleased that the government recognized the vital importance of a
high-quality postsecondary education system for Canada's future," said Claire
M. Morris, president of the 91-member Association of Universities and Colleges
of Canada. "Canada's universities now look forward to working with federal and
provincial governments to help identify priority areas for investment and ways
to ensure greater transparency and accountability to Canadians."
    In addition to an increase in the transfer to the provinces in support of
postsecondary education, the budget contained a series of investments in
university research and knowledge transfer. "These investments once again
recognize the value of university research in helping to make Canada a more
prosperous country and better place to live," noted AUCC's board chair, Bonnie
Patterson, who is president of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.
    The budget also pledged to release soon a new and comprehensive science
and technology strategy that will provide the government with a "multi-year
framework for action" on research and innovation.
    "Today's federal budget takes important steps to invest in research
excellence at Canadian universities," said Prof. Patterson. "We await the
release of the S&T strategy with great anticipation."
    In particular, the association will look to the S&T strategy for
long-term commitments in several key areas. Especially important are the
indirect costs of university research, which cover such vital aspects as
operating and maintaining facilities, laboratories and libraries and
supporting knowledge transfer. "Today's budget invested a further $15 million
in the program, but we still have a long way to go until we appropriately
recognize the institutions' costs of doing research," Ms. Morris said.
    Universities will also look to the S&T strategy for a recognition of the
importance of a broad base of research strength funded through the granting
councils in addition to the targeted investments that were announced in
today's budget. The development of a flagship program to attract talented
international graduate students to our country will also be important.
    Overall, AUCC President Ms. Morris says universities are pleased with
today's research investments, which will help Canada to take its university
research efforts to the next level. These include investments in cutting-edge
research infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, in
talented young Canadians through more scholarships for graduate students and
in a new program to provide hands-on research skills through private sector
internships for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. "This kind of
support for the next generation of Canadian researchers will help launch
exciting new ideas and innovation across the country," said Ms. Morris.
"Programs like these help to nurture our research strength and improve
knowledge transfer between universities and the private sector."
    Finally, the association says that the budget announcement of $2 million
over two years for an international education marketing campaign to help
attract bright foreign students to enrol at Canadian universities is "a step
in the right direction". AUCC has long called for enhanced education marketing
and high-profile international scholarships so that Canadian universities can
compete for talent with universities in other countries and to help ensure
that Canadian students benefit from new ideas and a global outlook that
international students bring to Canadian campuses.

    AUCC is the voice of Canada's universities. It represents 91 Canadian
public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level

For further information:

For further information: on this release and AUCC, please contact: Jeff
Pappone, Media relations officer, Association of Universities and Colleges of
Canada, (613) 563-3961, ext. 330, jpappone@aucc.ca

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