News Release Archive

Insufficient federal government support of university 
research in the Maritimes means short-term savings but long-term
loss. That's the view the Maritime Provinces Higher Education
Commission will present to a senate sub-committee when it meets
in Halifax this week.

"Research is an engine of economic growth, creating new
developments, technologies and business opportunities," said Dr.
David Cameron, interim chair of the MPHEC. "But research here in
the Maritimes is hampered by inadequate funding."

Each Maritime province can point to examples of research spinning
off into companies now competing successfully in international
markets and creating jobs at home, said Dr. Cameron. He cited
Prince Edward Island's Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd.; Satlantic Inc.,
in Nova Scotia, and Universal Systems Ltd., in New Brunswick, as

But, he said, while the federal government talks about Canada's
need to compete in the information economy and about the
importance of encouraging regional self-sufficiency, the support
isn't there to make that a reality.

"Here in the Maritimes, we have fewer private sector research 
organizations than in other parts of the country. We are,
therefore, particularly dependent on university research, but it
isn't getting enough help," he said.

Direct federal support of research does not cover such overhead
and infrastructure costs as equipment, administrative support and
support personnel. These indirect costs have been estimated at
between 40 and 100 per cent of the direct costs. "Leaving these
to be covered from other sources puts the Maritimes at a
disadvantage compared to wealthier provinces," Dr. Cameron said.

Meanwhile, cuts to federal transfer payments for education mean
that university staff are carrying heavier and heavier teaching
loads, limiting the time they can dedicate to research and making
it difficult for them to compete for research funds from granting

Those cuts have also put barriers in the way of students who
might become tomorrow's researchers, he said. "Higher tuition
costs and increased debt mean that students may well decide to
choose a career path that gives them quicker returns," he said.
"The result of all these cutbacks is that we are limiting current
and future research. And that means we're limiting current and
future opportunities here in the Maritimes."

Cameron will present the MPHEC recommendations to help counter
this situation when he appears before the Senate Sub-committee on
Post-Secondary Education, which is on a cross-country tour as
part of its examination of the state of post-secondary education
in Canada.

"Since 1973, the MPHEC has been working to help the whole
Maritime region make the very best use of all our university
resources," he said. "We represent a cross-section of views and a
regional perspective. We want to stress to the subcommittee that
adequate funding now is a great investment in the future, while
the current situation is short-sighted and counter productive."


Contact: Dr. David Cameron  902-494-6626

trp                        Feb. 17, 1997 - 9:40 a.m.