Thanks are due to the Globe and Mail (one of Canada’s national newspapers) for continuing to report on the lack of new support for Canadian science in the new budget by the Conservative government. In a time when the US is injecting major new funds into science and technology, when Canada is now in a leadership position in many major initiatives following a reversal of the “brain drain”, and when the future of the economy after the current challenges will clearly be based in large part on biotechnology, the Conservatives have decided to cut off the development of new research and to exert increased control on the science that does receive funding. This administration is a disaster for Canadian science, and for all elements of society affected by science, from the economy to citizens’ health.
- Budget erases funding for key science agency
- Nation’s credibility on the line, scientists warn
- Nobel scientist criticizes Tories over funding
- As U.S. emerges from dark age, Canada’s scientific edge fades
- Medical journal blasts budget’s vision for science
Here is what’s going on, folks. The Conservative government is investing in infrastructure but is cutting off support for new initiatives by not supporting the equally important investment in people and operating costs. They are requiring the three federal granting councils to cut $87 million from their already disproportionately small budgets (hint: I received considerably more from NSERC as a postdoc than as a primary investigator). They are focusing support for students into a smaller number of insanely large scholarships ($50K/year, twice the average starting grant!). They are imposing their own priority areas on funding programs, including mostly applied issues (e.g., forestry, automotive, fisheries) and destroying support for basic research. And they have dissolved the national science advisor’s office.
If you’re not upset about this, fellow Canadians, you will be when we lose our best and brightest and rapidly fall behind other countries in the new biotech economy.