Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Canadian Budget not good for Scientists

The latest budget announced by the Canadian goverment has put billions of dollars towards infrastructure costs. Although a large amount of this money is going towards universities to fix up crumbling buildings, little if anything will provide Canada with better scientists.

Funding for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, which provides capital equipment money and building money has gone up. This is great and is a good step forward to building better labs for scientists. However, once the labs are built, they require money to actually run pay the researchers and buy the consumables and reagents that actually run them.

Grant money is actually going down in the budget. It means that for those researchers who rely on federal grants, they will need to look harder for lower cost alternatives, or new ways of doing their research.

In the fields of Molecular Biology, this may mean re-tooling their experiments to cut out wasted don't buy a DNA extraction kit...use the old fashion ways of extracting DNA yourself. Another possibility is to use new technologies that by-pass old steps. An example would be the new Kapa Blood kit that amplifies DNA straight out of blood.

Another way is to look for lower cost tubes, gloves, or pipette tips. Whatever it takes to keep your lab running.

We should keep in mind that while the new President Obama has decided to pour more money to scientists in the U.S., we could see our best scientists leave Canada for greener pastures.

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