(Ottawa – May 7, 2013) The federal government’s restructuring of the National Research Council to serve short-term industry needs ahead of basic research priorities is a major blow to Canada’s scientific progress, warns the organization representing the country’s academic researchers
“The government’s plan to turn the NRC into a concierge service for business is short-sighted, misguided and unbalanced,” said James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. “This government has consistently ignored the evidence that good science doesn’t emerge from political diktats or by fettering research to immediate market needs. It comes from scientists being able to pursue what is scientifically important.”
Turk noted that many university and college-based scientists work with NRC counterparts and rely upon the Council’s facilities to conduct their research. With today’s announcements, many of these collaborations are in jeopardy.
“Basic research that forms the core of all scientific advances and innovation is under siege,” warned Turk. “It is disingenuous of Minister Goodyear to suggest that universities will pick up the slack left by the abandonment of basic science at the NRC because his government has drastically cut back funding for fundamental academic research.”