Quebec mini Budget injects new funding into genomics and provincial granting councils
April 17, 2002
Last month’s Quebec provincial Budget continues to inject new spending into science and technology with a hefty increase to the budget of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MRST), credits to assist in the transformation of provincial granting councils and $10 million to cover matching funds for awards made to Génome Québec in the first Genome Canada competition.
The new spending initiatives are in addition to the new $100-million Loan Capitalization Bio-Leverage Program and other taxation measures which were reported on in the last issue of RE$EARCH MONEY (R$, April 3/02). The March 26 mini Budget augments the November 1/01 Budget for FY02-03, which was introduced earlier to provide fiscal stimulus to Quebec’s flagging economy. Recessionary fears have largely subsided and economic growth is picking up, however, prompting the government to introduce an economic update.
MRST’s annual budget for FY02-03 now stands at $223 million, up nearly 9% from FY01-02 when it stood at $205 million. That jumps to more than $450 million when the base budgets of the granting councils and new money for research infrastructure are factored in.
“MRST received the highest increase of any ministry outside of central ones like Treasury Board and Finance,” says MRST DM Camille Limoges. “The increase is for capital expenditures for the current budget.”
GRANTING COUNCIL TRANSITION CONTINUES
The Budget provides for $97 million to assist in realigning the mandates of the three granting councils, which were restructured last year to better serve their communities and bring them in line with their federal counterparts (R$, August 1/01). The funds will be used to boost operating expenses to 5% of their budgets, up from 3% but still less than the federal granting councils.
The Fond de recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) now has a budget of $83 million to cover its broader mandate, which was expanded to include all aspects of health research including research conducted on university campuses and teaching hospitals. FRSQ’s budget now represents more than half of the $150 million allocated to all three councils, with the remainder split between Fonds pour la formation de chercheurs et l’aide a la recherche (Fonds FCAR) and the recently created Conseil québecois de la recherche sociale (CQRS). MRST provides the granting councils with their base budgets, which are augmented with funding from other ministries depending on the research being supported.
Génome Québec is the first regional genome centre to receive full funding for the first competition announced in April/01. The second competition announced earlier this month approved another $92 million in projects for the not-for-profit investment organization, meaning it must come up with $46 million in matching funds (see page 1). Limoges says the second competition will be less expensive for the provincial government than the first round, because Génome Québec’s funding formula puts increasing emphasis on venture capital, biotech and pharmaceutical investment.
In the area of research infrastructure, the mini Budget provides for $97 million, which will be used to contribute to funding required to trigger recent Canada Foundation for Innovation awards.