Canadian government reaffirms support for science and discovery
SirIsn't it strange that basic science researchers are upset about the fact that funding to the major granting councils has been cut for the next three years?
You report researchers' concerns about the Canadian government's support for science in two recent News stories (Nature 457, 646; 2009 and Nature 458, 393; 2009). As Minister of State for Science and Technology, I can say that, despite the global economic situation, the government of Canada remains committed to innovation and discovery. We have increased funding to researchers, both in universities and in the private sector.
In the past three years, for example, we have significantly increased the budgets of federal granting councils, increased scholarships through the Canada Graduate Scholarships Program, and increased the Industrial Research Assistance Program for small and medium-sized businesses. The Budget 2009 announcements include Can$750 million (US$590 million) for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to attract and retain world-leading researchers, and a Can$2-billion infrastructure programme. The government has also put in place two five-year funding agreements with Genome Canada that are worth Can$240 million, to support large-scale, world-class research.
Your readers should therefore rest assured that the government of Canada will continue to fund research for the benefit of all scientists and Canadians.
Either the researchers are correct, and Canadian basic research is in trouble, or Gary Goodyear is correct and the Conservatives are doing a fine job.
I know who is telling the truth.