29 January 2009

Budget 2009 notes

With the federal budget released this week we are seeing that the government plans to invest in post-secondary education infrastructure, though perhaps not as much in the human resources needed to staff these spaces. The Tri-Council has received "an additional $87.5 million over three years," but Genome Canada was omitted from mention altogether, to great consternation. The new Clean Energy Fund should be promising for anyone working in this area. This fund represents a good way for all R&D players to work together on innovations in this sector. The Canada Foundation for Innovation received additional funds, as did the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program.

While pundits are split on the relative merits of the budget, it does continue much of what was initiated in the Science and Technology Strategy. With the current economic situation, it is incumbent on all of us who are working in R&D in Canada to use this as an opportunity to work together to increase social and economic productivity. A radical thought, this collaborate to compete model, but distributed or virtual research clusters with complementary centres of expertise/excellence has worked in other jurisdictions (c.f. the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme; see in particular their Regions of Knowledge concept).

The economic crisis is Canada's call to action. Let's answer the call together.

No comments: