Friday, 4 May 2012

More on NSERC funding cuts

More on NSERC funding cuts, this is a must read! it includes excerpts from a (draft) letter "which is being signed by the leaders of various research facilities and labs. We are told that the “letter will also be sent to appropriate members of government and members of parliament.” It wouldn’t hurt if it also lands on the desks of Canada’s university presidents and VP-Rs." "We are writing to express our deep concern over the elimination of the Major Resources Support (MRS) and Research Tools and Instrument (RTI) programs of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The cutting of these programs will have drastic and potentially irreversible effects on fundamental science and engineering research across Canada.
Quoting from NSERC itself, “the objective of the MRS program is to facilitate the effective access by Canadian academic researchers to major and unique national or international (based in Canada) experimental or thematic research resources by financially assisting these resources to remain in a state of readiness for researchers to use.”
Quoting from NSERC itself, “Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering by supporting the purchase of research equipment and installations.”
These are programs so essential to research in Canada that, prior to hearing of their termination, to think they would even be considered for elimination was inconceivable. The federal government, through cuts to NSERC, has now slashed these programs. Along with NSERC’s Discovery Grant, the RTI and the MRS programs are those which support fundamental research. The loss of the RTI and MRS programs means there are now no NSERC funding streams dedicated to the purchase of scientific equipment or to operate nationally and internationally unique resources. The loss of the MRS program in particular means that millions of dollars of equipment purchased through taxpayers’ money is as the risk of sitting idle and gathering dust due to a lack of operating funds. A list of projects funded through the MRS program in 2010-2011 is provided as an appendix to this letter.
NSERC suggests that the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) may pick up the slack in these two areas. However, the reality is that CFI is a different organization with different objectives. CFI programs do not compensate for the loss of two core programs at NSERC.
Similarly, investments by the government in industrial and/or targeted research programs at NSERC do not compensate for the loss of the two core programs which enable fundamental research. Action must be taken to reinstate the core RTI and MRS programs at NSERC. The loss of these programs is nothing short of a disaster for science in Canada."

No comments:

Post a Comment