Canada’s research-intensive universities, the U15, respond to 2013 federal budget

OTTAWA – The 2013 budget demonstrates the federal government’s continued commitment to research and development and to the critical role that Canada’s universities play in generating the world-class ideas, innovation and applications that drive our economic growth, says the U15 group of research-intensive universities. 

“In a time of financial constraint, this government has prudently chosen to maintain funding to the crucial innovation sectors that will help generate solutions to our pressing social and economic challenges,” says U15 President Amit Chakma, who is also the president of the University of Western Ontario. 

The U15 is pleased that the federal government increased by $37 million its investment in the granting councils: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We are also happy to see an additional $165 million for Genome Canada, continued support for The Canada Foundation for Innovation and the $141 million in new money to the National Research Council.

U15 particularly applauds the budget’s support for the International Education Strategy, which includes $23 million over two years to attract more international students to Canada and provide Canadian students with more opportunities to study abroad. 

“The budget demonstrates the federal government’s recognition that attracting more international students to our universities deepens the experience of Canadian students and helps strengthen our international relationships and partnerships,” Chakma added. 

For the first time, Canadian universities that support advanced research and teaching will be able to participate in the Building Canada Fund, under the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component. U15 members look forward to competing for this necessary funding. 

The budget also signalled the federal government’s plans to examine the Indirect Costs Program to support the indirect costs associated with federally sponsored research. U15 looks forward to participating in these discussions, along with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. 

Increasing the federal investments in research and innovation was not easy, given the economic and fiscal challenges Canada faces. Going forward, it will be critical that Canada keeps pace with the R&D investments emerging economies and our major OECD competitors make. We will continue to make this case as Canada’s fiscal position improves.

Meantime, we are encouraged by the strong support for the research community and for our faculty, students, staff and institutions that this budget expresses. We look forward to working with the federal government to build Canada’s research and development capacity and international competitiveness, in the months and years to come.


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