Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Response to 2017 Federal Budget


Today’s 2017 federal budget reaffirms the Government of Canada’s investment in Canadian research, innovation, and skills development. In Budget 2016, we saw $95 million increase to Canada’s granting councils, and with today’s commitment to maintain those investments, the government has demonstrated their continued commitment to the value and benefit of curiosity-driven research.

We know that investments in fundamental research are essential to a healthy innovative society and economy. From basic, discovery research, we gain the knowledge, tools, and building blocks needed for advancements in applied research and innovation. The government also recognizes this. They launched the Fundamental Science Review in June 2016 under the leadership of David Naylor, former president of University of Toronto. The Naylor Panel Report will be released later this spring, setting the stage for future investments in research in Canada.

There is good news of particular note for the University of Alberta in the budget. A pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy for research and talent will be launched with $125 million in new money. This strategy will facilitate collaboration between expertise in Montreal, Toronto-Waterloo and Edmonton. The U of A’s research group in artificial intelligence is recognized as one of the best in the world and we are proud to be part of this new initiative.

In addition to funding for research, the budget includes investments in students. There is $221 million over five years for Mitacs to create 10,000 work-integrated learning placements for Canadian students and graduates each year. As well, $90 million to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will support the financial needs of more than 4,600 Indigenous students over a two-year period.

On behalf of the University of Alberta, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for its continued support of research, innovation, and skills development in Canada. I look forward to working with them to implement the recommendations of the Naylor Panel Report.

Thank you,

David H. Turpin, CM, PhD, LLD, FRSC
President and Vice-Chancellor
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