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Canadian Universities Hit by Worst Research Funding Slump in 10 Years
Source: itbusiness.ca
Source Date: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Country: Canada
Created: Oct 22, 2012

Research funding at Canadian universities hit $6.6 billion in 2011, a paltry 2.2 per cent rise from the $6.48 billion raised for R&D in 2010 – and the smallest gain in the past decade.

The latest figures from the Toronto firm Research Infosource indicate that investment in Canadian university research has basically flatlined in the past year. By comparison, research funding levels from 2000 to 2010 saw annual increases of between three and 23 per cent.

“The fiscal 2011 result signals retrenchment of research funding at our top universities. Gone are the heady days of double-digit increases in funding,” Research Infosource CEO Ron Freedman said in a news release.

About two-thirds or more of all university research money in Canada comes from government sources, so “with governments at all levels cutting back, it's not surprising to see total research support slipping,” Freedman added.

In 2011, 34 Canadian universities saw an increase in research funding while 16 schools suffered declines. The biggest draw for funding is medical research, with schools that grant medical degrees attracting 81 per cent of the total research money given to the top 50 universities on the list. Of the 18 universities that raised $100 million or more each for research purposes, 16 have medical schools.

Research Infosource also ranked Canada's top 50 research universities based on funding for research plus the quality and output of research activities. The University of Toronto ranked first in the medical/doctoral category (schools that grant medical degrees), the University of Waterloo topped the comprehensive category, and the University of Lethbridge won the undergraduate category.

A recent Conference Board of Canada report argued that a lack of innovation is the single biggest factor to blame for Canada's falling global competitiveness ranking.

(By Christine Wong)
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