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UBC Applauds Significant Federal Research Funding Commitment in Budget 2014

The University of British Columbia celebrates the significant increase in federal government support for research, in particular the creation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

by University of British Columbia
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The University of British Columbia states it's happy with the creation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, however others are critical of the Canadian goverment's overall plans for research and innovation in the country.Image credit: Tweenk, Wikimedia CommonsAnnounced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as part of the budget tabled today in Parliament, the $1.5 billion, ten-year commitment to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund marks the beginning of a concerted national effort to propel top performing institutions onto the world stage.

“I applaud the federal government’s decision to spur greater Canadian leadership in global research and innovation,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope. “This investment will ultimately benefit all Canadians because research so often is the needed catalyst in the creation of industry, jobs and economic growth.”

The federal budget also included $46 million additional annual funding for Canada’s research institutions, through increased allocations to the core federal research granting agencies and for the Indirect Costs Program.

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These granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—provide core funding for much of Canada’s research and innovation.

“Federal funding has always been critical,” said Prof. Toope. “But in this budget, I see a recognition that our national capacity to discover and innovate is fundamental to Canada’s social and cultural dynamism, as well as giving us a competitive advantage in the global economy.”

The budget also earmarked $222 million over five years for UBC-based TRIUMF physics laboratory to support international partnerships.

In addition, a number of measures benefit UBC students directly, including providing over $40 million for internships for graduates, $8 million in new funding for postdoctoral fellowships through Mitacs, and removing student-owned vehicles from the Student Loan Assessment.

However, others have a different view of the Canadian government's overall plans for basic research and innovation in the country.