Feb. 23, 2005

McMaster welcomes budget's ongoing commitment to innovation and research

Hamilton, ON - Making Canada more competitive was one theme in Wednesday's federal budget that recognized the important role of university research in developing economic prosperity and social benefits for Canadians.

Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Finance, announced the government’s budget in Ottawa today, which included indirect support for research, and increased funding to research granting councils of $375-million over five years. For McMaster, this would amount to a potential increase in funding of about $3.5-million over that period.

“I am pleased with the government’s continuing commitment to support the indirect costs of research,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, McMaster University’s vice-president of research and international affairs, and acting president. “This has helped Canadian universities compete internationally.”

The budget also included new money for an Academy of Science, and the development of new environmental technology.

“McMaster’s plans are well-aligned with those of the federal government,” says Shoukri. “Working together with all levels of government and the private sector is crucial to research and development, and the subsequent commercialization of new technologies to advance critical industry clusters.”

The public health initiatives, which include the development and testing of a prototype vaccine for an influenza pandemic, were welcomed by Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences and dean of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. "We have expertise in the development of vaccines, an example is our involvement in the creation of a SARS vaccine,” he said. “This type of research would be valuable as proactive preparation for what the epidemiologists and infectious disease experts believe may happen. A pandemic would happen too fast to do all the necessary work on a vaccine after the outbreak had begun."

The development of the McMaster Innovation Park is a vital component of the University’s plans to make Hamilton an international centre for discovery, and for Canada’s knowledge-based economy. “In this budget we see opportunities that align with our plans for the Innovation Park that we announced in January,” Shoukri continued. “The government has made it clear that it wants to encourage environmental entrepreneurship. That is precisely the path we are on.”

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 20,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.