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Rouleau: Research community have a problem with how that money is spent

May 6, 2009

ELIZABETH CHURCH: The (STICC) report comes at a time when many leading scientists in the country are questioning the commitment of the federal government to that goal. Cuts to granting councils in the January budget and the departures of leading scientists such as AIDS researcher Rafick-Pierre Sékaly have many fearing Canada will lose ground in the coming years, especially with the Obama administration’s pledges to increase science funding.

The report is silent on that subject, although it does at times stress the urgency of taking action. Council member Guy Rouleau, a professor of medicine at the Université de Montréal and director of the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, said although the report does not enter into the current discussion, it does put some facts on the table.

It shows, for instance, that federal government funding for research and development ranks high among G8 countries as a percentage of gross domestic product, but he said the current debate shows that many in the research community have a problem with how that money is spent.

Alec Castonguay (Le Devoir): Aucun des quatre membres du comité présents hier à la conférence de presse n’a souhaité commenter le débat sur les investissements du fédéral. Le rapport n’en fait d’ailleurs pas mention. «On ne peut pas se permettre de politiser le débat», a dit Heather Munroe Blum, la principale de l’Université McGill, qui a préféré parler des conditions favorables à la recherche à long terme.

John Steckley writes: I have just e-mailed this article to Gary Goodyear, the Minister of Science and Technology. I recommend that others do likewise. The money that the Conservative government says they are putting into research is mostly just infrastructure (temporary construction jobs), not paying researchers to make Canada an innovation-friendly country.

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