Proposed 2011 Budget Supports Science, Especially Physics. More Remains to be Done.

The proposed Budget (if passed or eventually re-introduced after an election) provides limited but significant additional support for research. Physics and closely-related areas are particularly well supported. Attached is the release put out last night by the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR).

I am particularly pleased that the practice several years ago of directing essentially all research increases to targeted areas appears to be much more balanced in this and the previous Budget. This, and the significant support for research this year, especially given the tight fiscal situation, suggests to me that our message is getting across.

For physics and related areas, the chief measures are as follows:

  • $37M p.a. to the Granting Councils, including $15M p.a. to NSERC. Broadly, this compensates for inflation.
  • $10M p.a. to the Indirect Costs program. This continues the slow but steady progression towards our goal of reaching the international benchmark of 40% of the direct costs supported through the Granting Councils.
  • $35M over five years to NSERC for climate and atmospheric research.
  • $50M over 5 years to the Perimeter Institute (this has to be matched).
  • $45M over 5 years to the National Optics Institute in Quebec City.
  • $12M over 5 years to NSERC’s ‘Idea to Innovation’ program for joint university-college projects.
  • $53.5M over 5 years for ten new Canada Excellence Chairs.
  • $80M over 3 years to IRAP for SME-college partnerships.
  • $5M p.a. for 30 additional Industrial Research Chairs at colleges.
  • $97M over 2 years for R&D and demonstration of clean energy and energy efficiency.
  • $405M to AECL to cover commercial losses and to support operations including ensuring a secure supply of medical isotopes and maintaining safe and reliable operations at Chalk River. There is also $4M over 3 years for a medical isotope cyclotron at Thunder Bay.

There are some measures to assist students, but unfortunately not enough to significantly address the debt problems that many students and their families face.

The full budget can be found at

A copy of the reaction (press release) of the Canadian Consortium for Research to the budget can be found here.

NOTE: This was put together by a small group including Francine Ford and myself as Chair of CCR.

Paul Vincett
CAP Director of Science Policy and Chair, CCR