Strong investments in higher education contained in this week’s federal budget illustrate just how deeply committed Ottawa is to empowering universities across the country, according to Dal President Richard Florizone.
Dr. Florizone praises what he calls “impressive” new investments in post-secondary research, innovation, and experiential learning, all of which he says align well with Dal’s own priorities.
“This week’s budget shows the government’s belief that world-class, research-intensive universities like Dal can really help move the regional and national economy forward,” says Dr. Florizone.
Budget 2016, released Tuesday, includes a new $2-billion research infrastructure fund that will help Dal and other post-secondary institutions across the country retool research and other training facilities over the next three years and commits an additional $95 million per year going forward for the Tri-Council granting agencies.
The budget also reveals more about the government’s commitment to increasing Canada’s research capacity in clean-energy technology and ocean research, both areas where Dal is already a national and international leader.
“These new investments will help ensure Canada and Dal specifically continue to carve out an even bigger role globally when it comes to world-changing research,” said Dr. Florizone.
The federal government recently announced six new Canada Research Chairs at Dal, including a fisheries economist working on sustainable seafood governance and an oceanographer exploring the use of lightweight vehicles in deep-ocean research.
Investments in research, infrastructure
Dr. Florizone says another welcome initiative in the budget is the investment in innovation. The budget commits $800 million over four years (beginning in 2017-2018) to support innovation clusters and networks, a priority that mirrors Dal’s own commitment to helping connect people and ideas to create innovations with social and economic impact.
The president says Dal stands ready to work with the government as it moves forward on the initiative, part of a larger Innovation Agenda currently under development.
Some of the other proposed spending in the budget will be of particular benefit to students, including an increase in Canada Student Grant amounts by 50 percent for those from low- and middle-income families and those studying part-time. The measures will provide $1.53 billion in new funding over five years.
In addition to this, Dr. Florizone applauded $73 million in new funding aimed at enhancing co-op programming for students over the next four years through the Post-Secondary Industry Partnership and Cooperative Placement Initiative.
“It’s hard to overstate the value of hands-on learning experiences for our students and the demand we’ve had for those opportunities,” said Dr. Florizone, noting that co-op placements increased by seven per cent at Dal last year. “Obviously we’re very pleased to see this continue to grow.”
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