One of the most tumultuous years in recent memory for Canadian S&T is nearly over. What began as a year of great promise and the prospect of a new, coordinated S&T strategy ended in near disarray, as forces both within and beyond the control of government, industry and academia wreaked havoc on even the best laid plans.
Federal Budget Coverage
Security concerns and a lagging economy put the squeeze on science and technology in the latest federal Budget, as ambitious spending plans related to the Liberal government’s emerging innovation agenda were significantly scaled back or deferred.
SSHRC president questions disparity
A pre-Budget meeting to determine the minimum funding increase that the granting councils were willing to accept had little impact on the levels actually delivered, according to the president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
The National Research Council (NRC) has received a ringing endorsement of its cluster and regional innovation strategy with $110 million over three years and the likelihood of much more to come. The new funding allows the NRC to kick-start previously announced technology clusters in photonics (Ottawa) and aluminum (Quebec), while boosting existing institutes in fuel cells (Vancouver), biodiagnostics (Winnipeg), biotechnology (Saskatoon) and the recently announced nanotechnology initiative (R$, September 5/01).
The Budget has unveiled a $200-million fund using year-end money to help defray the indirect costs of conducting university research. But its level of support is estimated at slightly more than half of the 40-45% target recommended in a report by the Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACST).
CA*net 4 concept approved
CANARIE Inc has received long-awaited funding to develop a radically new optical high-speed research network with the awarding of $110 million to build and operate CA*net 4.
Ottawa’s focus on university research is the driving force behind a healthy 9.4% increase in projected federal R&D expenditures this year. Statistics Canada’s latest data show R&D expenditures of $4.