Ook Canada doet ‘knowledge boost’ tegen crisis

Nieuws | de redactie
2 februari 2009 | Na Duitsland, Finland en de USA komt nu Canada met forse investeringen in het HO ter bestrijding van de recessie. In het totaalpakket van $ 85 miljard zit $ 2 miljard voor inhaalinvesteringen in de HO-infrastructuur, waaronder $ 750 miljoen voor R&D-voorzieningen.

Canadian universities and their aging infrastructure have received a promised injection of C$2 billion (US$1.65 billion), part of a five-year $85 billion stimulus package announced by the federal government last week. Universities in Canada are not alone in calling for more government spending to improve their buildings and facilities; their counterparts elsewhere have made the same demand, asking their governments to spend their way out of the economic crisis, most notably in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

With many of its buildings erected in the late 1960s and early ’70s, and operating budgets in the ensuing decades not keeping up with costs, Canada’s universities have deferred a lot of needed maintenance and repair projects. Current estimates of necessary repairs total more than $5 billion, of which close to half are said to be urgent. The infrastructure money announced by the government should answer many of those emergencies.

The targeted money to the university sector, however, will go beyond crumbling historic buildings and leak-prone libraries: $750 million has been set aside for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation which equips laboratories and other research infrastructure; $50 million for the Institute for Quantum Computing to build a new facility; and $87 million toward Arctic research in Canada which has had to rely on the kindness of other international researchers for much of its field work. There is also $87.5 million in short-term funds for graduate scholarships.

The association representing universities seemed ready to begin calling up contractors. “Universities will identify projects that are ready to go and will deal with urgent maintenance issues such as upgrading buildings, labs and research facilities,” said Tom Traves, chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and president of Dalhousie University. [bron University WorldNews]

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