What do you expect the mood to be when you are sharing a banquet table with the Rector of UQAM, the President of Bishop, the former Rector of U. Montréal, a director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQNT), and the President of NSERC? Gloomy is the answer. That was last Sunday, before Quebec researchers (so far 6833 of them) started signing a petition asking the Quebec government not to proceed with the planned cut to the FRQNT.
The Quebec government has just announced a 30% cut to the FRQNT, i.e, a reduction from $50.1-million to $35.2-million. This also means a cut in the grants covering the indirect cost of research at the Quebec universities, which comes on the heels of the $124-million cut from post-secondary institutions that the Government had recently announced. Schools –which are already $500 million in the red– have been given until April to make these cuts. To top it all, a freeze on students tuition seems to be in the works on the base of levels set in 2011-2012.
The government has promised to host a symposium in February 2013 aimed at finding a long-term solution to the challenge of university funding. In the meantime, les chercheurs, étudiants-chercheurs, professionnels de recherche et techniciens québécois are signing the following petition. Please join them if you are able and willing.
And as I had suggested to one of the Recteurs present, maybe it is their turn to occupy la rue Sainte-Catherine. It could also be more fun than …