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Budget supports Memorialís strategic objectives

Additional support for graduate students, enhanced marketing activities, new residence facilities, and growth of Grenfell College were the highlights for Memorial University in the provincial budget according to Dr. Chris Loomis, the university’s president pro tempore.

The budget includes a $22.2 million increase in the operating grant for Memorial and additional funding for capital projects, including much needed new residences for the university’s campuses in St. John’s and Corner Brook and continued laboratory upgrades and improvements.

It also provides program funding including support to continue a doctoral program in clinical psychology, funding to maintain the operations of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation at the university’s Marine Institute and funding to enhance the research capability at the university’s Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay.

“Government is providing support in strategic areas that will enable us to meet our goal to help attract and retain the brightest and the best at Memorial,” said Dr. Loomis. “This will enable us to grow graduate and undergraduate enrolment and to build on our already impressive success in research.”

The budget provides $2 million in support of graduate student fellowships.
“This funding was crucial to our immediate and longer term planning,” said Dr. Loomis. “Applications to our graduate programs are up over 60 per cent. That’s the result of aggressive recruiting and the enhanced profile that Memorial enjoys across the country and around the world.”

Dr. Loomis explained that increasing the number of graduate students and enhancing research opportunities are important objectives in Memorial’s strategic plan.

“In recent years, Memorial has grown research faster than any other Canadian university,” he said. “That means new knowledge, new discoveries, new applications and increased economic opportunity in the province.”

Dr. Loomis added that facilities are also important to growing the university.

“The funding for our laboratory enhancements are greatly needed and appreciated,” he said. “We’ve been able to accomplish a great deal with our existing facilities. However, it’s been evident for some time that if we are to continue our move towards a research leadership role in this country, we need new research facilities. That challenge is something on which we will continue to work with government.”

The additional funding for new residence construction will enable Memorial to complete projects at its campuses in Corner Brook and St. John’s. The new residences in St. John’s will have 500 beds while the Grenfell College residence will feature 200 beds. The detailed design is being concluded and the projects are expected to commence shortly.

“Memorial remains a very attractive option for students from Canada and around the world because of our quality programs and the tuition fee advantage that is supported by the provincial government,” said Dr. Loomis.

Meanwhile, work continues on the new academic building at Grenfell College with the final portion of funding for that project included in this budget. The new building will be completed and opened in the spring of 2011.

“Grenfell’s new residence and new academic space, combined with the strategic investment that government is making in Corner Brook will enable us to grow the college in terms of enrolment and its research programs,” said Dr. Loomis.
Dr. Loomis said the budget places the university on a firm footing to achieve its growth agenda.

“Our strategic plan calls for increases in enrolment and research across the entire university,” he said. “We certainly have the capability and plan to achieve that, and the ongoing support of government for our plan is providing us the capacity to ensure we meet the goals. So for Memorial, this is a very good budget.”

Memorial University budget highlights

  • Operating budget increase – $22.2 million
  • Total capital budget – $58.8 million
  • New residences (St. John’s, Corner Brook) – additional $18 million
  • Residence upgrades (St. John’s) – $7.5 million
  • Grad studies fellowships – $2 million
  • National and international marketing – $800,000
  • Deferred maintenance – additional $1.4 million
  • Lab repairs – additional $1.8 million
  • Doctorate in clinical psychology – $294,500
  • Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation – $1 million
  • Ocean Sciences Centre – $8 million
  • Marine Institute simulator transfer and upgrade – $2.2 million
  • Academic building at Grenfell College campus in Corner Brook
    – $18.7 million
  • Increased support to grow Grenfell College
    – $2 million (originally announced in December)
  • Extension of tuition fee freeze – $5 million