Posts tagged ‘life science funding’
The Harper Government recently announced 166 new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients and 70 new Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients, a moved that is aimed at developing, attracting and retaining the best young researchers in Canada and from around the world.
The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, were at the University of Toronto to announce over $34 million in awards. These prestigious awards will support world-class doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows carrying out leading-edge research in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities at universities in Canada or Canadians carrying out research at institutions around the world.
The University of Toronto is host to 26 new Vanier Scholars and 8 new Banting Fellows, including:
- Vanier Scholar Miles Montgomery whose research in engineering sciences focuses on the development of tissues in a lab that, when transplanted, can help fix damaged human organs.
- Vanier Scholar Catia Perciani whose study of varicella-zoster virus (VZV), or chickenpox virus, could help in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
- Banting Fellow Santiago Rincón-Gallardo whose work explores how innovative teaching methods can be incorporated into educational systems on a large scale.
- Banting Fellow Elizabeth Willis whose research may explain how a molecule called PSA can coat the surface of cancer cells and allow them to move freely in the human body, providing new targets for chemotherapy.
- The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program, which was created by the Government of Canada in 2008, is designed to attract and retain world-class doctoral students. Scholarship recipients receive $50,000 a year for up to three years of research.
- The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program, which was developed by the Government of Canada in 2010, represents a concerted effort to attract and retain world-class post-doctoral talent. The Fellows announced today will receive $70,000 a year for up to two years of research.
- Both programs are funded through the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
The Government of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) are investing more than $13.6 million in research at McMaster University.
The funding will support 79 research programs over terms ranging from one to five years. These awards comprise the 2014 competition results for NSERC’s Discovery Grants and Discovery Accelerator Supplements (DAS).
McMaster has been funded for 73 research projects totaling $12.475M and received more than $500,000 for six researchers for equipment and tools. The Discovery Grants Program funds ongoing programs of research in every scientific and engineering discipline. The Discovery Accelerator Supplements – awarded to accelerate progress and maximize the impact of superior research programs – are valued at $120,000 over three years and provide the researcher with additional resources to compete with the best in the world.
The following life scientists have been included amongst the awardees:
- Eric Brown-understanding ribosome biogenesis
- Reuven Dukas-the use of individual and social information in insects
- Jonathan Dushoff-how ideas and behaviors spread on networks
- Michael Farquharson-development of X-Ray instrumentation for analysis of biological tissue and other material applications
- Turlough Finan-UV and visible light, fluorescence and luminesence Microtitre Plate Spectrometer
- Grant McClelland-Evolution and Plasticity of Muscle Metabolism
View the full list on the NSERC website.
For more information visit McMaster.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty recently announced the creation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund which will inject almost $1.5 Billion into Canadian research over the next decade.
It is not currently known how the funding will be divided up, however, the flow of funds isn’t expected to start until 2015 and only $45 Million has been set to be released at that time. The eventual plan is that a steady state of $182 Million will flow into research on an annual basis.
The funds will likely be shared between Canada’s fifteen research-based universities and will be accessible to researchers via peer-reviewed competitions. Furthermore, the funds will not be allocated for capital spending, which will remain the purview of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
You can read the entire text of Minister Flaherty’s speech on CTV News
In the past five years the federal government has dismissed more than 2,000 scientists, and hundreds of programs and world-renowned research facilities have lost their funding. Programs that monitored things such as smoke stack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change have been drastically cut or shut down.
The Fifth Estate recently aired a documentary entitled “Silence of the Labs” which tells of a disturbing trend that is sure to affect Canadian scientists nation-wide.
See CBC for more details
In an article published in the Ottawa Citizen this past December, journalist Tom Spears wrote about the unfortunate financial circumstances of Canadian scientists who now have to depend on alternative forms of fundraising to secure their research budgets. While in the past researchers were able to secure their funding from government agencies such as the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), public purse strings have recently tightened and it is no longer a sure bet that the majority of a scientists funding will come from traditional sources.
So what are now considered to be viable sources of scientific funding? According to those interviewed, many scientists are now taking up consulting projects or approaching industrial counterparts hat-in-hand begging for money. Less government funding and an increased level fundraising activities means less time focused on scientific discovery and less productivity for Canadian scientists.
And who is being impacted the most by these changes? While larger research institutes such as OHRI and the UHN have staff dedicated to raising research funds, scientists in smaller research centres need to spend much of their time looking for money to run their lab. As such, in Canadian science, the rich really get richer, while the poor suffer.
Are you in a small, Canadian research centre? How have your research activities been impacted by the change in funding? Have you had to become more fundraising savvy? If you would like to share your story, please let us know by leaving a comment in the comment section below and we will be glad to publish your story here on the Canadian Biotechnologist Blog.
Counting down the top 10 posts of 2010, in 6th spot is a post pondering the adequacy of the 2010 financial budget for the Canadian life sciences industry. According to Jim Flaherty’s prediction at the time, the Canadian government will invest almost $1.9B in post-secondary education infrastructure, research, technology innovation and environmental protection as part of its $19B stimulus plan for 2010. The budget drew a mixed reaction from Canadian life scientists with some in favour of the budget while others described it as largely inadequate.
For more on the story see Is the 2010 Financial Budget Adequate for the Canadian Life Science Industry?
And, now that the year is (almost) over, let us know how you think things panned out.