In a budget that is light on new spending, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did pledge new funding for a post-doctoral program. Over five years, the federal government will provide $45 million to the federal research granting councils to create post-doctoral fellowships. The program will establish 140 fellowships annually, valued at $70,000 per year for two years each.
However, to put the new program into context, in 2009 the federal government pledged $87.5 million over three years, as opposed to five, for the Canada Graduate Scholarships. (Read Paul Wells’ analysis here.)
The new fellowships are aimed at creating a “highly skilled workforce” and are intended to be “internationally competitive.” The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has praised the new program. “The fellowship program, funded at $45 million over five years, will be internationally competitive and will help attract and keep talented recent PhD graduates in Canada. Their skills and knowledge will help drive innovative research and discoveries in universities, industry and other knowledge sectors,” the AUCC said in a media release.
The Canadian Federation of Students had hoped the budget would have increased funding to the existing Canada Graduate Scholarships program. “In this budget, the government ignored recommendations made by researchers, professors and students,” the CFS said.