The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) made their pre-2011 Budget submission to the Minister of Finance, James Flaherty. What are the highlights of this year’s ask?
1. Support foundational research through the Tri-council, and in particular SSHRC.
2. Support the internationalization of our campuses, in particular more links with India.
3. Expand access of aboriginal Canadians to post-secondary education.
Their recommendations make lots of sense, and the UBC folks who have been following Stephen Toope’s strategic plan should find many of the themes familiar. I was glad to see a national consensus around his thinking on these issues, which I happen to share. Here are more details.
• Introducing a four percent increase to the budgets of the three granting agencies in each of the next two years to enhance the foundational support they provide researchers. This represents an increase of approximately $84 million in 2011-2012, $171 million in 2012-2013, and includes increases to cover the institutional costs of research (40 percent of new direct cost dollars). Given the growing importance of the social dimensions of economic growth, the diversified needs of the digital economy, and a revised program architecture that places greater emphasis on the role of knowledge sharing, AUCC proposes the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council receive a proportionately larger increase of any new funding.
• Growing the commitment to fund the Canada Graduate Scholarships for two more years with an investment of $26 million in 2011-2012, and $53 million in 2012-2013, providing an additional 1,500 master’s scholarships and 750 doctoral scholarships.
2. Internationalization of our campuses
• Allocating funding to support a major international education marketing effort – $22 million per year for two years – that will build on Canada’s national brand and the work of universities to date.
• Identifying funding for strategic academic and research partnerships between Canada and India through high impact, mutually beneficial initiatives including scholarships, research internships, and faculty exchange programs: $10.3 million in 2011-2012 and $18.4 million in 2012-2013. These initiatives should be seen as pilot projects, not just for Canada’s engagement in India, but as a model for Canadian universities to apply when actively forming relationships with other nations.
• Expanding funding for collaborative research partnerships between Canadian universities, emerging economies and developed countries: $10 million in 2011-2012 and $20 million in 2012-2013. Building on the demand and the importance of international research collaboration, Canada should be rapidly ramping up its international research capacity.
3. Expanding access to university for Aboriginal Canadians
• Increasing funding for Aboriginal graduate student scholarships by $10 million per year for two years. Increasing the number of Aboriginal graduate students and faculty members would offer more positive role models for Aboriginal youth.
• Earmarking funding for pilot programs to increase Aboriginal student access and retention in university programs – $10 million in 2011-2012 and $15 million in 2012-2013. Many universities have developed effective programs that improve both access and success. These programs should be taken to scale.
See full submission here.
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