Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced $1.33 billion in funding to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for enhancing university research and student experience as part of Budget 2015 tabled Tuesday in Ottawa. This was welcome news to the University of Calgary as it strives towards its Eyes High goal of becoming a top-five research university in the country.
“We thank the federal government as this investment will greatly assist our institution to sustain long-term viability in many key areas of research and innovation,” says Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary. “Continuing the positive trajectory of investment in our nation’s research ecosystem is paramount to the success of Canada’s research intensive universities for attracting global talent, conducting world-leading research, and developing the next generation of researchers for universities, the private sector, government and not-for-profit organizations.”
Starting in 2017-18, the $1.33 billion over six years in new investment for the Canada Foundation for Innovation helps build Canada’s capacity to undertake world-class research and technology development. The University of Calgary also acknowledges the investment of $105 million over five years, starting in 2015-16, to CANARIE, Canada’s world-class high-speed research and education network. An additional $46 million per year in funding to the Tri-Council Agencies, including $15 million per year to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; $15 million to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; $7 million to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; and $9 million to the Research Support Fund will enhance the cornerstone programs of university research in Canada.
Other important post-secondary initiatives addressed in the federal budget include:
- $56.4 million over four years starting in 2016-17 to Mitacs in support of graduate-level industrial research and development internships;
- $12 million over three years to Indspire to provide post-secondary scholarships and bursaries for First Nations and Inuit students; and
- Improvements to the Canada Student Loans Program to improve accessibility.
Excellence in research underpins Canada’s ability to create new knowledge and improve productivity across all sectors of the economy and society. Through continued investment in the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Tri-Council Agencies, as well as enhancing support for student learning opportunities, the Government of Canada ensures Canada’s place as a global centre for research excellence.