CAUT says federal granting priorities cause researchers to shy away from controversial topics

January 16, 2015

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) says that federal granting priorities are causing researchers to shy away from topics including immigration and assisted suicide. According to CAUT data, overall tri-council funding has dropped by approximately 6% over the past 8 years, with funding for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council dropping by 10.5%. Since the government implemented its Mobilizing Science and Technology policy for guiding research priorities in 2007, targeted grants for natural-science research that require matching funds from industry or other partners or that are allocated for specific areas such as energy or advanced manufacturing have gone up by a third; funding for basic research, however, has decreased by nearly 10%. “Universities are being transmogrified by the retreat of government,” said Arthur Schafer, head of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba. “They want research that’s going to be marketable, they want research that’s going to, very directly, translate into products—that means corporate. We don’t serve the community, we serve the corporate sponsor.” Globe and Mail