Ottawa provides budget relief

January 22, 2004, vol. 29, no. 2

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New funding from the federal government to cover some of the indirect costs of research will provide welcome relief to the university's budget, says Bruce Clayman, VP-Research.

Indirect research costs include the expenses of heating, lighting and outfitting research labs and facilities, new equipment, computing networks, and also the staff and operating costs involved in assisting, promoting and commercializing university research.

In the current year, SFU is spending more than $10 million to meet these expenses. The federal government's grant will cover half of that, with the remaining $5 million coming out of the general budget.

While the federal government did provide a one-time grant last year, this year's grant marks the beginning of a permanent program to fund indirect research costs. “This is the result of a long lobbying effort through the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and all of the universities in Canada,” says Clayman. “The federal government listened.”

Indirect research costs continue to escalate as new researchers join the university and as existing researchers' work becomes more sophisticated, often requiring more complex equipment and improved facilities. Clayman notes that new researchers also indirectly add to costs as they bring in large new research grants. Limited budgets and insufficient capital funding also take their toll, he says.

This year's grant will be used to renovate and upgrade research space in the faculties of applied science, arts, education and science, including upgrading computer equipment and increasing laboratory technical support.

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