Perimeter Institute receives $50 million

Guest Contributor
March 26, 2007

The Conservative government is honouring a commitment by the previous Liberal administration to provide $50 million in new funding to the Perimeter Institute (PI), boosting its pool of public funding to $100 million. The federal funding matches previous commitments made by the Ontario government and Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO of Research in Motion and a longtime PI supporter (R$, April 14/06).

"Operating funds are running out (at the end of this FY) and this is a re-seeding of those operational monies," says PI executive director Dr Howard Burton. "We now have $100 million that can be used for continued and increased operations."

The new federal funding will allow PI to increase its operational budget to about $20 million annually, significantly increasing its research and outreach. PI was recently the focus of external five-year review commissioned by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council which gave the Institute top marks and recommended enhanced federal support.

"This is a public-private partnership but the leading term of the equation is the third party review which endorsed us. The government responded to that," says Burton. "We are proudly running on public funds now and this can continue with this acknowledgement in the Budget … The federal and provincial governments have done their parts."

The previous Liberal government made an election campaign pledge of $50 million to both the PI and the Univ of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing — sums matched in the Ontario government's 2006 Budget. The federal government has not yet indicated whether it will support the IQC.

Private donations to the PI are being placed in an endowment, which is estimated to be approximately $175 million. It was not known at press time when Lazaridis will follow through on his commitment to provide his funding.


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