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2011 Federal Budget Highlights for Research Funding

March 22, 2011

Here are the relevant research bits from today’s budget. Analysis to follow.

  • $80M over three years for IRAP
  • $60M over three years to promote more students in digital economy disciplines
  • $37M/y for three federal research granting councils ($15M CIHR, $15M NSERC, $7M SSHRC)
  • $10M/y for Indirect Costs Program
  • $53.5M over five years for 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs
  • $100M for a Canada Brain Research Fund
  • $65M for Genome Canada for a new human health research competition
  • $4M for a cyclotron at Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute to make medical isotopes
  • $35M over five years to NSERC to support excellence in climate and atmospheric research “at Canadian post-secondary institutions” (so nothing for CFCAS and PEARL?)
  • $50M over five years for Perimeter Institute
  • $5M/y for 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at colleges
  • $12M over five years through Idea to Innovation program
  • $40M over two years to Sustainable Development Technology Canada for clean tech projects
  • $45M over five years for operations of National Optics Institute
  • $12M over five years for creation of a Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2011 14:48

    Based on our earlier conversation, do I understand correctly that SSHRC funding flat and others up, or does pulling out that Indirect Costs mean SSHRC’s budget is actually increasing? Not that it makes any difference if the gov’t falls.

    • Rob Annan permalink*
      March 23, 2011 07:44

      My sense is that the SSHRC funding and Indirect Costs funding are totally separate. But there are scant details. And as you say, it all appears to be moot at this point.

    • Jim permalink
      March 23, 2011 08:26

      SSHRC funding increases have been 50% of CIHR and NSERC for a few years. The indirects are based on tricouncil funding totals and apply indiscriminately to each program (i.e. a SSHRC dollar is equivalent to an NSERC dollar in terms of accruing indirects). The extra $10 million in indirects is proportionate to the increase in the tricouncil base (direct) budgets (approx. 25% of total). It’s a little like an HST on grants… but helps institutions to pay for the cost of supporting research (heat, light, intellectual property, etc). NIH indirects are substantially higher, in the range of 50+%.

  2. Jim permalink
    March 23, 2011 05:31

    Might want tot start with the Brain Research Fund which is not being channelled through CIHR (which received $15 million for all health research). Brain Canada was formerly called Neuroscience Canada and has admirable goals. However, this sets another precedent for funding of health research through specific interest groups (previous one-offs included the Terry Fox Foundation). Is this the best use of public money for research? What drove the governments specific interest in this area?

    More may be gleaned from http://braincanada.ca/

  3. April 4, 2011 12:22

    Robust peer review is the process by which research investment becomes strategic.

    Breakthrough discoveries in science (like the discovery of electricity, invention of the transistor, creation of vaccines) are stifled when the distribution system of research funding is thought to be unfair. When it is effective, the peer review process applies the expertise of the scientific community, the national brain trust, in setting strategy for national investment in science. Scientific peer review is a robust system that encourages and seriously considers high risk and long term research strategies within the constraints of fairness and accountability in the distribution of funds. Canadians should insist on a distribution system for research and development funding which empowers those citizens most prepared to assess the quality, impact and risk of proposed research to set the strategy.

    Scientific research investments selected by scientists through effective peer review are strategically superior and less risky than research investments made by politicians motivated by short-term outcomes.

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