Ottawa (March 19, 2019)
“The 114 million over 5 years of new funding to create 500 new master’s level scholarships and 167 new PhD level scholarships fills a key missing piece from the 2018 budget”, said Dr. Kimberly Girling, Director of Research and Policy at Evidence for Democracy. “This funding fulfills an important outstanding recommendation from the Fundamental Science Review Panel and will enable the next generation of scientists to make discoveries that will strengthen our health, environment and economy.”
Budget 2019 also provides several new investments and opportunities to make post-secondary education more accessible to all Canadians. This includes several new investments in Indigenous post-secondary education, adjustments to the Canada Student Loans program to make financial aid more accessible, and $37.4 million over five years ($8.6M/year ongoing), to the granting councils, to expand parental leave for graduate students receiving federal funding.
“Investments like these are important to ensure that all Canadians, including vulnerable or marginalized groups, have access to post-secondary and graduate programs”, said Dr. Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “This will contribute to building a strong and diverse workforce of tomorrow.”
Budget 2019 invests “$84 million over five years to build knowledge of climate change impacts and to enhance the climate resiliency of northern communities by improving the design and construction of northern infrastructure”. While these investments are exciting, and there are several new commitments to addressing impacts of climate change, it is unclear whether this funding will directly support atmospheric climate science research, like the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL).
While a number of third-party research organizations received funding in Budget 2019, including $18 million for the Stem Cell Network, and $100.5 million for Genome Canada, the budget also announced future changes to how third-party research organizations are funded. Starting in 2022, there will be a new Strategic Science Fund that will use a principle-based framework to allocate federal funding in a competitive process. This positive change should increases the transparency and accountability for how these research funding decisions are made.