Friday, January 30, 2009

Canada TQMs research

The Canadian Association of University Teachers analyzes the new Canadian budget. Here's the outlook for research:
Budget 2009 offers very little for the academic research community. There are no increases to the base budgets of the granting councils. In fact, the government has identified “strategic review savings” of $17.1 million in 2009-10, $43 million in 2010-11, and $87.2 million in 2011-12 for a total of $147.9 million over three years. These savings are to be used to support the infrastructure funding, and to upgrade Arctic research facilities.
Well, OK, that sucks, but after last year the budget was bound to suck for academia.

But this, on the other hand:
As well, $87.5 million of the savings will be returned to the granting agencies not for research but to temporarily expand the Graduate Scholarship Program. It’s also worth noting that government will require that these scholarships awarded by SSHRC [Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council] be focused on business-related degrees.
Wow. How deeply must you misunderstand academia in order to decide that that's a good idea? I guess first you need to think that the university ought to spend more of its time aiming at somehow generating money. You would then have to imagine that PhD research in business schools is somehow by nature more suited to that task. (They are presumably aware that MBAs aren't doing any research for this Research Council to fund.) It's hard to see how this decisions stems from anything other than a robust combination of both cynicism and immense ignorance--and while the former is probably inevitable in a Conservative government, one might have hoped that they would avoid the latter.

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