CAUT to Harper
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) sent Stephen Harper an open letter today which “urges the government to increase funding for Canada’s research granting councils by matching, proportionally, what the Obama administration is investing in the American funding agencies. The letter also calls on the government to let scientists, not politicians decide where research funding is best spent.”
You have often said that governments are terrible at picking winners and losers in the economy. Why then, is it appropriate for government to pick winners and losers in scientific research? History has shown that decisions about the merits of scientific research are best left to scientists, not governments or politicians. The world’s most important scientific discoveries have typically come from basic research, driven by researchers’ quest for knowledge, with a scientific peer review process making decisions about what areas and what research to fund. As Canada’s best known scientist and Nobel laureate John Polanyi wrote almost a decade ago, “We have struggled for a long time to come to terms with the fact that our universities serve the public interest best when free of government interference in academic affairs.”
Read the complete letter: download PDF.