Measures announced in the federal budget to invest an additional $200 million in funds for indirect costs of university research are being praised by Trent University officials as a helpful boost for the university sector.
"These investments are critical to universities such as Trent to sustain the strong reputations developed for research excellence," says Bonnie Patterson, President of Trent University. "The investment reflects the government's commitment to a national innovation agenda that draws significantly on the research capabilities in our institutions but importantly recognizes a gap that existed in our financial capacity to do the best job possible."
Traditionally, federal research agencies allocate funding for direct research costs covering staff, capital and core operating activities. Changes announced in the budget will now provide funding for a variety of indirect research costs including maintenance of labs and libraries, research administration, and the costs associated with maintaining health, safety, environmental and ethics standards.
"The new funding measures include a sliding scale that will take into account the special needs of smaller universities like Trent," says Patterson, "and this recognition is very much appreciated."
Other budget measures include seven per cent more funding for the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), agencies that are central to supporting Trent's various research activities. An increase of $75 million for the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) adds more good news on the research front.
Although the budget contained no funding for universities' accumulated deferred maintenance, the budget did announce improved support for people with disabilities who pursue higher education. "This will enhance Trent's already excellent reputation for assistance to students with special needs," adds Patterson. Details are not yet known.