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The federal government is supporting further corporate incursion into public education by channeling nearly $3.1 billion into a new funding agent, the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The foundation funds the development, renewal and building of world-class research infrastructure with one small hitch. Find a co-sponsor.

There isnt one arts or social science project on the Canada Foundation for Innovations latest list of 971 awards and its no surprise. The foundation only kicks in its 40 per cent contribution once the other 60 per cent of the funding has been secured. While the foundation lists individuals and provincial governments as potential donors, these sources arent nearly as lucrative or as willing as corporations eager to buy a little publicly-subsidized research.

The CFI was one of the jewels in the federal governments much-hyped reinvestment in Canadian research. That reinvestment has come, however, in a climate where innovation means marketability, and eligibility comes only if you have corporate support. The CFI structure, which allows private corporations to direct public funds, entrenches public private partnerships in the post-secondary system essentially forcing even more corporate influence on university research.

The other federal investment, the Canada Research Chairs program, allocates nearly two thirds of the chairs to just ten elite universities. Mirroring the corporate focus of the CFI, a mere 20 per cent of the chairs will be allocated to the humanities a division that doesnt reflect the reality that 53 per cent of Canadian university faculty are involved in humanities research.

According to the Canadian Federation of Students, public research in Canada has been weakened by a national research policy that favours private for-profit research over research done in the public interest. Proprietary interests become paramount. [T]axpayers end up funding the costly preliminary stages of enquiry only to see that innovation become private property when the research is complete. Not just the product, but the subsequent profits, are taxpayer-funded.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the president and CEO of the CFI is Dr. David Strangway. Strangways pet project is a fully private undergraduate university in Squamish, BC that will undoubtedly find back-door public subsidies.