Canadian budget pushes applied research

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With six months to go before the next Canadian election, the reigning Conservative party has introduced a budget that emphasizes applied research and scientific collaboration with industry.

The 518-page proposal, released on 21 April, will take effect in coming weeks. It spells out how Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government plans to balance its budget this year — at the same time pledging plenty of new spending in years ahead.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation would receive Can$1.33 billion (US$1.09 billion) in new money for university and hospital research facilities, to be doled out over six years beginning in 2017. The budget also includes a modest 2% hike for the country’s research funding councils, much of it targeted for areas “that will fuel economic growth.” Continue reading . . .


When federal cuts kill thousands of living things; Across Canada, scientists are aghast at cuts

Ottawa Citizen Mon May 14 2012

By Margaret Munro 

Federal cuts are a life-and-death issue for Lynne Sigler.

As curator of one of Canada’s largest collections of fungi, Sigler has 11,500 strains of living organisms under her care, from the fungi killing North American bats with white nose syndrome to soil microbes that help rare orchids thrive.

The microfungus collection and herbarium at the University of Alberta has been nurturing fungi for more than 50 years. And since 1990 it has been considered a “unique” national resource worthy of federal money.

No more. Funding for the collection, and dozens of other “major” and “unique” science facilities and resources across Canada, has been hit by federal cuts in what is being described as a “disaster” for Canadian science.

“It’s very dismaying,” Sigler says of a moratorium the federal government has slapped on the program that pays for the technician and supplies that help keep the fungus collection alive. Continue reading