Friday, 4 January 2013

The changing research climate in Canada by Béla Joós

More on the government's research cuts: The changing research climate in Canada by Béla Joós, Physics in Canada Editor-in-Chief: "The cancellation of NSERC’s Major Resources Support (MRS) program has broader implications, jeopardizing the future of many facilities, such as the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre at Chalk River and the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) [3,4]. Ironically, we were told by NSERC at the CAP Congress that the MRS program is the victim of its own popularity: too many applications led to a bureaucratic and financial burden on NSERC. This cancellation appears as an attempt to download financial responsibility to academic institutions with already strained resources. The impact of the elimination of the MRS program extends throughout the natural sciences. In biological- and environmental-related sciences, this decision coincided with significant cuts to federally-funded environmental research. Neglecting research that informs us about the state of our planet cannot lead to good policy decisions [6]. There is a widespread perception that, for our current federal government, ideology trumps evidence. This has led to the “Death of evidence” demonstration on Parliament Hill in June 2012 and an international call to the government to justify its decisions [6,7]." ... "Finally, the current preoccupation with technology transfer and innovation should not undermine the excellent fundamental curiosity-driven research that is present in Canada [1,2]. It is from that research that physical principles underlying new technologies will emerge. To maintain a diversified and thriving academic research environment, the DGP program should remain a priority and will need a healthy RTI program to support it."

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