What’s driving cuts to basic science?

As you no doubt are aware from reading this blog and others (CanadaResearchFunding.org and Don’t Leave Canada Behind), NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC are having their budgets cut by around $148 million over the next three years. They also cut $30 million from the National Research Council.

Surely unrelated, Minister Clement Acts to Advance Automotive Research in Canada. At the bottom of the story, we find:

Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) is a five-year (2009–2014), $145-million initiative to support significant, collaborative, industry-driven research and development (R&D) that benefits the Canadian automotive industry.

APC involves funding from the following agencies:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC): $85 million;
  • National Research Council Canada (NRC): $30 million;
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI): $15 million;
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC): $5 million; and
  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs program (CERC): $10 million.

Proposals funded under this initiative will be led and submitted by university or government (NRC) researchers, but they must be clearly driven by industry needs.