The three granting councils provide funding for graduate students in Canada, both directly through scholarships and training programmes and indirectly through funds to students' supervisors. The Caucus maintains regular communications with representatives of the three councils.
In the 2007 federal budget, the government announced an increase to the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS). Additional funding will be provided to increase the number of CGSs from 4,000 to 5,000 in the next year. Of these, 400 will be distributed through NSERC, 400 through CIHR, and only 200 through SSHRC. However, this further exacerbates the disproportionate under-funding of research in the social sciences and humanities since most of the new funding announced in the 2007 and 2008 federal budgets targeted specific research areas or commercialisation initiatives.
Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance
The Caucus prepared a submission to the Standing Committee on Finance about policy on funding graduate research in Canada in August 2007. The brief outlines policy analysis and proposals dealing with: rising graduate tuition fees and associated accessibility issues; the Federation's concerns over the continued push towards the commercialisation of research and the lack of whistleblower protection; the under-funding of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the new threats that the Council faces under the "innovation and commercialization" agenda; the need to increase the number of scholarships for graduate students and ensure that those scholarships are equitably distributed; and the need for the elimination of differential fees for international students.
The submission recommends an increase to the budgets of the federal granting agencies to support basic research with an additional asymmetrical increase to the SSHRC; to increase both the value and number of scholarships to graduate students through the granting councils supporting basic and applied research; and to extend eligibility for Canada Graduate Scholarships and granting council graduate scholarships to international students.
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