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Federal spending on research infrastructure 'most welcome,' McGill principal says

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Published: 28 Jan 2009

The federal government’s commitment to spend $2 billion over the next two years to support research and innovation infrastructure in Canada is a significant step that will have long-term benefits for Canada , McGill University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said Tuesday.

The federal government’s commitment to spend $2 billion over the next two years to support research and innovation infrastructure in Canada is a significant step that will have long-term benefits for Canada , McGill University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said Tuesday.

"I am very pleased to see the government recognize the importance of supporting Canada ’s competitiveness via university-based research in this fashion," Prof. Munroe-Blum said. “This is most welcome. The injection of these funds will advance Canada ’s knowledge and talent capacity in support of an innovative economy. It will help us retain and attract world-class scientists and scholars as well as supporting transformative research partnerships across regions and borders.

"As Montreal is home to the largest concentration of university activity in the country, this is an especially important announcement for Montreal and the surrounding region."

The infrastructure support program will allow McGill to submit projects that, if approved, will help the University deal with its most urgent infrastructure needs.

"We understand there were many competing demands and difficult choices had to be made,” Prof. Munroe-Blum continued, “and so we are especially gratified that the Government has recognized the importance of contributing to the renewal of our research infrastructure. We remain firm in our belief that investing in university-level research and the infrastructure it requires is an excellent way to deliver effective economic stimulus and new jobs while also building substantial long-term benefits for Canada."

McGill is, of course, hopeful that the matching-fund provisions of the Government’s infrastructure program will not slow progress on these important projects and the University looks forward to working with the Government of Quebec and McGill’s other partners in order to expedite the work and get shovels in the ground.

Prof. Munroe-Blum noted that the spending program contained in the budget comes just as other countries, the United States and France notable among them, have signaled their intention to invest large sums of money in support of universities, science and technology.

"Canada must keep pace," she said. "The global competition for top teachers, researchers, and top students is intense. We must continue to make a proportionate commitment in the years ahead if we hope to remain competitive and as we work with our universities to advance important priorities, consistent with our mission and our service to our provinces and our country, we look to Governments and our other partners to collaborate with us to maintain and build our competitiveness in the months and years ahead."

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