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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2009

National Survey Underscores Concern over Science Funding

Two-thirds of Canadians are concerned about how cuts to research funding will impact Ca­na­da’s ability to attract and retain university teachers, and the same majority believes government should not steer research, according to a Harris/Decima poll conducted in April.

When asked their view about who should set research priorities, 66 per cent of Canadians surveyed said the scientific community, and 24 per cent said government.

The survey also showed 44 per cent of respondents saying scientists are the most trustworthy in the de­bate over university research funding, compared with 9 per cent who trust the federal government and 9 per cent saying they trust university administrators.

“These numbers indicate that a large number of Canadians share the concerns being raised by CAUT and the scientific community about the harmful impact of the Harper government’s cuts to research funding,” said CAUT president Penni Stewart. “They also recognize the scientific community should decide what research gets done where — not politicians.”

The poll also questioned respon­dents about access to post-secondary education. Almost eight out of 10 Canadians say they think the major reason many qualified people do not have the opportunity to go to college or university is because it is too expensive, and 86 per cent say tuition fees should either be fro­zen (35 per cent) or lowered (51 per cent).

The telephone poll surveyed 2,021 Cana­dians between April 2 and April 13, 2009, and has a margin of error of 2.2 per cent.