In the September 2009 issue of BioScience, Adrienne Froelich Sponberg reports on Canada’s science research funding policies and the recent round of budget cuts that may impact them. An excerpt from the article follows, but the complete article (along with prior Washington Watch columns) may be viewed for free at

Two years ago, the Canadian government launched a new strategy to improve the country’s scientific competitiveness by, among other things, promoting partnerships with industry and improving scientific infrastructure. In June, the government trumpeted its success in Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage: Progress Report 2009. But however pleased the government may be with its progress, researchers are becoming increasingly vocal in their dissent, arguing that the government’s policy is missing the mark and threatening the future of the country’s scientific enterprise.

The progress report touts the country’s largest-ever investment in science and technology, including $4.5 billion for infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). So why are researchers upset? A primary concern is that the greater support for infrastructure displaces funds for the researchers who use the equipment. In Canada’s Budget 2009, funding was cut by 5 percent for the country’s three granting agencies: the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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