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A tidbit for all those

August 15, 2008

who keep saying that “he who pays the piper calls the tune” (i.e. since provincial governments fund universities, they should get to determine what those institutions do, from which presidents they appoint to which programmes they offer):

According to Statistics Canada as reported in Academica’s Top 10 today:

$10 billion in PSE research and development spending: Research and development spending in the PSE sector in the 2006/2007 fiscal year totalled over $9.6 billion, according to new Statistics Canada data. Natural sciences — excluding health sciences — and engineering accounted for 41% of the total. PSE institutions themselves were the most significant contributors, investing more than $4.4 billion. The federal government was the second largest contributor, funding $2.5 billion.

Statistics Canada gives a breakdown, and not surprisingly the social sciences and the humanities enjoy substantially lower rates of government R&D funding than other areas. In a nutshell, the Federal government contributes 26% to university research funding overall, while institutions themselves contribute 46%. Provincial governments contribute just under 10%, on average.

It might be argued that although the provinces fund little research, they contribute significantly more, on average, to the overall funding of universities. In 2008 the N.B. government contributed $189 million, or 38% of university revenues, from the provincial treasury, though that may overstate the case as some of those funds are in fact federal transfer monies. But the point about research money is a crucial one, as it is the direction of university research that the government is largely interested in controlling.

[Updated with info. from a strict but fair reader.]

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