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REF NO.: 136

SUBJECT: Many federal budget measures will help university; equalization changes a concern
DATE: March 21, 2007

The federal budget includes several measures that should benefit Memorial University, universities in general and post-secondary education across the country. That’s the view of Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president.
However, he cautions that he shares the concerns expressed by Premier Danny Williams as it relates to the future fiscal capacity of the province and the need to secure long-term funding sufficient to maintain and grow a globally competitive university in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“There are elements in the budget that are commendable from the perspective of higher education and university research,” said Dr. Meisen. He said the most important elements include:

           The introduction of a new long-term approach to funding support for postsecondary education.

           Additional support for postsecondary education in the form of an increased transfer in 2008-09 of $800 million within the Canada Social Transfer.

           A new long-term approach to support for training, which will involve an additional investment of $500 million per year beginning in 2008-09.

           A series of research investments, including funding for graduate scholarships, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, CANARIE and Networks of Centres of Excellence.                          

           Increased funding for the national research granting agencies, with all of it targeted to specific areas of research.

           Additional funding for the indirect costs of research.

           The development of a comprehensive and forward-looking science and technology strategy outlining a multi-year framework for action.

However, Dr. Meisen said the federal government’s actions to address the fiscal balance issue are of great concern to Newfoundland and Labrador’s only university. 
“We share the concerns expressed by Premier Williams in relation to future revenues for the province,” said Dr. Meisen. “Given all the fiscal issues it has dealt with over the years, Newfoundland and Labrador has done well to build a university of the quality of Memorial. We have built Memorial to the point where it plays a strategic role in the economic and social development of the province. So anything that could negatively affect the flow of future funds has to be a concern.”

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