TORONTO–Students are expecting that the appointment of Glen Murray as Minister of Research and Innovation will signal a shift towards supporting and expanding public research undertaken at post-secondary institutions in Ontario.
“It is our expectation that Minister Murray will take the opportunity of his new cabinet position to make major improvements to the way research is funded in the province,” said Kimalee Phillip, Chairperson of the Ontario Graduate Caucus. “We look forward to working with the new Minister of Research and Innovation to ensure that these improvements develop the capacity of post-secondary institutions for innovative research and learning.”
Over the past decade, provincial and federal research funding for post-secondary institutions has been heavily weighed in favour of industry and commercial-driven areas of study. This not only limits research innovation, but also leaves most Ontario graduate students unable to access this funding.
“Commercial viability is a poor measure of whether research deserves public funding,” said Sandy Hudson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “True innovation happens only when researchers have the freedom and resources to undertake original and creative research, without being constrained by industry or private interests.”
While graduate enrolment has rapidly increased over the past four years, public research funding has not kept pace. This has placed additional pressure on graduate students who drive basic research at universities.
“Investing in public research is critical to boosting Ontario’s capacity to foster a competitive economy,” said Phillip. “This requires strong support for graduate students and expanding public funding for research at post-secondary institutions across the province.
The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university students across the province. The Ontario Graduate Caucus brings together more than 55,000 graduate students.