Queen’s applauds federal budget
Queen’s applauds the Government of Canada for delivering a budget that contains good news for graduate students and supports the critical role universities play in a knowledge-based economy.
Also of special interest in this week’s budget announcement, says Principal Karen Hitchcock, was a promise to unveil a forward-looking science and technology strategy outlining a multi-year framework for action.
"We are looking forward to seeing the science and technology strategy, and we are very happy with the support for centres of excellence in research and commercialisation. We look forward as well to the possibility for closer relationships of selected government laboratories to universities,” says Dr. Hitchcock.
Queen’s has indicated its strong interest in leading an institute that would help foster university collaborations with the private sector as a means of boosting confidence in the research and development potential of the region while attracting further research and development investment which would benefit our faculty and students.
Dr. Hitchcock noted as well the important measures taken in the budget to address the fiscal imbalance, specifically the per capita transfers for postsecondary education. This includes an increased transfer in 2008-09 of $800 million that will be earmarked for postsecondary education.
“We are gratified at the increased federal government transfers for post-secondary education and especially pleased to see the Government of Canada moving to adopt a more equitable formula for distributing these monies.”
One area where the budget fell short was additional funding for the indirect costs of research. Such costs include administering research grants, updating information technology services and numerous other support services. While there was some increase in funds for indirect costs of research provided in the budget, the amount in absolute terms represented some slippage for universities and was considerably less than hoped for by higher education institutions, she says.
Another welcome component of the budget, however, was the announcement of increased support for graduate students. Through the Canada Graduate Scholarships, the government is providing $15 million in 2007-08, $20 million in 2008-09, and $27 million a year thereafter to support an additional 1,000 graduate students annually.
“Although the level of allocation made to indirect costs of research is of concern,” says Hitchcock, “we are pleased to see the Government’s commitment to graduate education in the form of scholarships.”
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