Lab Canada

Canada’s graduate students issue call to step up funding to basic research

Ottawa, ON – Canada’s graduate students today issued a statement outlining their expectations from the federal government. According to the National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students, direct funding for graduate students, increased non-targeted support of the granting councils, and balanced copyright laws are essential to making Canada’s graduate students global leaders in research.

“Graduate students are tomorrow’s professional researchers and a major component of a high-skill workforce,” said Graham Cox, chairperson of the National Graduate Caucus. “Graduate students are looking for a party that replaces rhetoric with a plan to support knowledge development.”

The National Graduate Caucus (NGC) is requesting increases to the federal granting agencies to fund basic research in the public interest. The body has also called for increases to Canada Graduate Scholarships to better help graduate students who struggle financially. Of the 125,000 graduate students studying, researching, and teaching at Canadian universities, only 5,000 receive direct federal funding.

Graduate students also have a strong interest in ensuring that Canada’s Copyright Act makes generous allowances for “fair dealing”, a concept they say was almost entirely overlooked by the bill introduced earlier in 2008 by industry minister Jim Prentice.

“Graduate students are the workhorses of university research labs,” said Cox. “It is a wise economic strategy to give us the tools to conduct world-class, innovative research.”