Lost in all the excitement over Genome Canada’s disappearance from the budget is the drop in funding allocations for all three national research councils, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), National Research Council (NRC), and I think they’re including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as the third one even though the name isn’t quite right. You can read up on the situation here and notice how the other three institutions are hardly mentioned.
Interestingly there was a recent article (Sat., Jan. 24, 2009) in the Globe and Mail about health research in Canada and how a great many US researchers flocked up because their funding was being limited and cut off in the US. Two researchers interviewed for the article mentioned that they were seeing similar signs of a freeze or even loss of funds, as they’d experienced in the US, on the horizon here as they were having problems with funding requests. (As I recall, the focus was on stem cell research but it might have been something else too.)
I am concerned in a general sense although I’m not a big fan of all this genomic mapping. How does mapping the genome of any organism help? As far as I can tell, all they’ve done is identify characteristics but they don’t understand how any of it works together. (I’m going to see if I can find a quote from Denise Caruso about genes and mapping them. As I recall, it hasn’t really amounted to anything much.)
While I disagree with some of the emphasis, I’m still concerned that all the science funding is being pulled back at this time. The whole thing is in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s interest in revitalizing and strengthening research in the US by pumping additional funds.