The budget was alarmingly silent on the future of Genome Canada, Canada's core funding source for "big science". Genome Canada has established Canadian leadership in a range of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics global research initiatives.
The only agency that regularly finances large-scale science in Canada was shut out of Tuesday's federal budget, putting at risk thousands of jobs and some of the most promising medical research, and forcing the country to pull out of key international projects. For the first time in nine years, Genome Canada, a non-profit non-governmental funding organization, was not mentioned in the federal budget and saw its annual cash injection from Ottawa - $140-million last year - disappear.
Without minimizing the importance of Genome Canada and the value it brings to Canada's scientific community and the broader economy, I would note that the article sensationalizes the situation a wee bit. Genome Canada was established and funded out of government surplus, and it's hardly a surprise the first deficit in 9 years would mean a break in funding. Further, we are in year 2 of a 5 year funding program, so no one is losing a job any time soon. This time next year the economy should be in recovery, and I expect that some restoration of GC funding will occur. More worrying perhaps are provincial plans for their contributions to regional genome centres. BC and Quebec for example of have been strongly supporting the growth of life sciences through investments in Genome BC and Genome Quebec. While continued investment in science might not seem 'shovel ready', it keeps global scientific talent tied to local jobs and the local economy, and as Genome BC and others have shown, fosters the spin off of lab based research into private sector ventures.