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Research income rises at Canada’s top universities

The total research income of Canada’s top 50 research institutions grew 3.6 per cent last year to CND$6.5 billion ($6.4bn), according to figures published by consultancy company Research Infosource.

In Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List, 33 universities posted an increase in research income compared to 17 posting a decrease.

“The 2010 result caps a decade in which university research income rose by 134%,” said Ron Freedman, the head of Research Infosource. “To illustrate, total research income in 2000 was $2.76 billion, which indicates how strongly the sector has grown,” he added.

Medical institutions accounted for 81 per cent of the research funds received by the top 50 institutions, up 4.6 per cent from the previous year.

The news has been tempered by projected cuts to the sector because of the financial crisis.

“Research income growth actually outstripped overall economic growth in 2010, which is an encouraging sign,” said Freedman.

“Clearly, Canada’s leading universities are powerful research engines that rely on a continuous stream of funding. Since government sources account for 68 per cent of the total, indicating how closely university research income is tied to the fortunes of the public sector, unless university research is singled out for special attention it is hard to see how the sector will escape some cutbacks,” he said.

“The silver lining is that the substantial growth of research funding of 134 per cent over the last decade leaves a strong legacy of research infrastructure and activity that can buffer the system, at least for a short time.”