Scientists call for more funding on 60m letter

Scientists call for more funding on 60m letter

(Ottawa) A few hundred scientists and researchers gathered on Parliament Hill on Thursday to demand that the federal government increase funding for science.

Posted at 5:13 p.m.

Emily Bergeron
Canadian Press

One of the main demands of the organizers of the “Support Our Science” event is an almost 48% increase in the value of graduate scholarships and post-graduate scholarships awarded by Ottawa-funded institutions.

According to a group of protesters, funding for graduate students has not increased since 2003. The alleged increase would equal the rate of inflation seen since that year, the coalition argues.

“Most of our salaries have almost doubled since 2003, so living on (the income) 20 years ago was unimaginable,” said Janet Whitten, a professor in the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia who attended the rally.

The latter said he hears financial concerns “too often” from the young scientists he meets.

“I have a student currently in her bachelor’s degree who wants to do a master’s, but she can make more money in a summer than planting trees for a whole year, even with a valuable grant.”, he gave an example. .

According to him, the scientific community is in danger of becoming less and less diverse and representative of the population as a whole, as only young people from more affluent backgrounds can pursue the path of studying science.

Anh-Khoi Trinh, a student who attended Thursday’s demonstration, pointed out that many young people are considering pursuing their careers elsewhere than in Canada.

“Since 2003, the stipends have been worth $21,000 per year, and we see a minimum salary of US$48,000 per year compared to other countries, such as the United States. So we are less than half of some of our colleagues in the United States,” summarized the Ph.D. in physics at McGill University. .

He told The Canadian Press that he thought about it himself. For now, he said he likes the idea of ​​continuing his career in Canada, but chose to walk away from research because he considers the option too risky.

Organizers of the rally issued an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Minister of Science and Innovation, François-Philippe Champagne. The document will be 60 meters long due to the collection of signatures of thousands of Canadian scientists.

Opponents argued that many graduate students and postdoctoral researchers receive funding from the three federal agencies, but many times these stipends do not even reach the value of minimum wage.

They call for creating an additional 50% stipend for post-graduate students and post-graduate researchers.

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