Mixed News on International Funding for Science

At the same time that the U.S. National Institutes of Health is benefiting from increases in its budget, the news in other nations is mixed. Researchers in Canada continue to see support from the Trudeau administration. Scientists at government labs in India are not as lucky.

In his administration’s 2018 budget proposal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to increase research funding over the next five years by USD 3.1 billion. About USD 750 million of that money will be dedicated to Canada’s three major councils that provide research grants. In announcing the funding, the Canadian government said that the funding for the Granting Councils will increase funding and training for 21,000 investigators, students, and other scientific personnel in Canada.

The news for Indian scientists is not so bright. In 2017, the Indian government made major changes to the salaries and benefits received by Indian government employees and retirees. While the changes increased pay and benefits for government employees, they significantly reduced funding available for government agency operations. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India’s largest research and development organization, was left with only 5% of its overall budget available for equipment, utilities, travel, and regular maintenance.

The proposed budget for CSIR for 2018–2019 is slightly below the previous year’s budget. Another change has been the annualizing of budgets for Indian scientific departments and councils. Previously, research agencies were funded in five-year increments.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: kwilson@ascb.org

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