Lab Canada

Research funding receives boost in new federal budget

Ottawa, ON — February 19, 2003 — Research funding in Canada received welcome support in the federal government’s new budget, released yesterday, and research-related organizations have joined in praise for the government’s funding initiatives.

A total of C$1.7 billion in 2002-03 and over the next two years was earmarked in order to strengthen research and innovation in the country. Included in this is:

– an increase of $125 million per year for funding of Canada’s three federal research-granting councils;
– the creation of a new Canada Graduate Scholarships program designed to support 2,000 Master’s and 2,000 PhD students;
– $225 million a year, beginning in 2003-04, to help fund the indirect costs associated with federally supported research at universities, colleges and research hospitals;
– an additional $500 million invested in the Canada Foundation for Innovation for state-of-the-art research facilities, and $75 million in Genome Canada for health genomics; and
– an additional $70 million over two years for the National Research Council of Canada, to strengthen the Industrial Research Assistance Program, support astronomy and establish new regional innovation centres.

The budget also provides for a $500 million funding increase for research hospitals, and $1.5 billion for diagnostic/medical equipment, both over a three- year period.

The budget was met with praise from numerous research-related organizations. Rx&D, an industry association representing Canada’s research-based pharmaceutical companies praised the new budget as recognizing that research into new medicines is vital to the health of Canadians and to the future of our health care system.

Through investments in research facilities across Canada, it says the government recognizes that health research leads to improved pharmaceutical therapies, which leads to a healthier population. “Not only does this budget enhance Canada’s research capacity, but it also encourages an environment where Canadians can benefit from the fruits of this research,” says Murray J Elston, president of Rx&D.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was equally positive about the increased funding for research in the budget. To date, it says, the federal government has entrusted the CFI with $3.15 billion to strengthen the capability of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and other not-for-profit institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development. Yesterday’s announcement brings that total investment to $3.65 billion.

“This government’s unwavering commitment to university research will benefit all Canadians,” says Dr David Strangway, president and CEO of the CFI. “Today’s investments will stay the course in making our country an international leader for carrying out world-class research that will improve the quality of life for all of us.”

“Successful knowledge economy clusters around the world are centred around research institutions that feed talent, ideas, knowledge, and discoveries into surrounding industries,” says Dr John Evans, chair of the CFI Board of Directors. “The funding announced in the 2003 budget brings Canada one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming one of the most innovative countries in the world.”