Budget 2018: A hopeful vision for Canada

April 12, 2018
News
Franco Vaccarino, president of the University of Guelph

This op-ed was published in the Etobicoke Guardian on April 12, 2018

by Franco J. Vaccarino, president and vice-chancellor, University of Guelph and board member, Universities Canada 

Canadians have reason to be optimistic about some important investments announced in the recent federal budget. With almost $4 billion for science and research, Budget 2018 made an unprecedented investment in discovery that drives Canadian technology, innovation and prosperity.

This year’s federal budget embraces a long-term vision for Canada, one that rightly places its faith in the talents and potential of the country’s young minds. By investing in research and in the careers of young scientists, we lay the groundwork for discoveries that can revolutionize the way we live, work and succeed as a country.

Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan is to be applauded for being a champion of Canadian science. The budget’s funding provisions for science and technology stem from the Fundamental Science Review Panel she commissioned, led by David Naylor, former University of Toronto president.

The panel’s report stated that ambitious investment would establish Canada as a leader in science and innovation, and it proposed more funding and opportunities for women, minorities and other under-represented groups.

Also promised in this year’s federal budget is $210 million over five years for the Canada Research Chairs program, with $50 million per year thereafter. It will enhance support for early-career researchers and to ensure greater diversity among recipients.

Overall, the budget also provided $925 million over five years for the federal research granting councils – namely, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

That federal funding has supported groundbreaking research across Canada. In the process, these kinds of projects also provide invaluable opportunities for students to gain hands-on research experience. For example, at the University of Guelph-Humber, undergraduates work as research assistants on faculty-led projects. Ultimately, such opportunities help students to begin forging their own careers in research and discovery.

The Fundamental Science Review Panel laid a blueprint for a future of that will help our country and our citizens succeed. Budget 2018 is a strong step toward that.  My colleagues across Canada and I look forward to continuing working with government and other partners to build Canada’s research ecosystem.

Through training the next generation of scientists and researchers, developing innovative ideas and products, all Canadians benefit from continued federal investment in science and research.

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Tagged:  Research and innovation

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