CUFA BC Applauds New Graduate Scholarship Program and Research Funding

Created 16 May 2018 17:05

VANCOUVER, May 16 – Today Premier John Horgan announced historic new funding for a graduate scholarship program. The announcement, made at the BC TECH Summit, sets out funding for the first merit-based graduate scholarship in the history of BC. The funding today focuses specifically on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, along with targeted scholarships for Indigenous students, women studying in tech-related programs, and those studying in regional programs. The Premier also announced $102.6 million in new research funding under the auspices of the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF).

“Today’s announcement is an historic first step and the culmination of many years of lobbying by CUFA BC for a graduate scholarship. This level of investment in university research through the BCKDF is also an historic first,” said CUFA BC President Jim Johnson. “While we are very grateful for today’s announcement, we are concerned about the strict targeting of the funding to STEM programs. There are a multitude of programs at BC’s universities that support innovation and we would have preferred a scholarship and research program open to students of all disciplines,” said Johnson.

Today’s announcement allocated $12 million for the new scholarship program, and $102.6 million to fund 75 research projects through the BCKDF. Both programs are slated to begin in the 2018/19 academic year. The NDP’s original campaign commitment for graduate scholarships was $50 million.

“Though today’s announcement does fall short of the original commitment of $50 million, this new program will help attract and retain the best STEM graduate students in British Columbia. We are also very supportive of the targeted funding for Indigenous and rural programs. This commitment is a welcome sign of the government’s mandate to address systemic, geographic, and financial barriers to graduate study,” argued Johnson. “We look forward to further details on the research funding and call on the provincial government to take the broad approach the federal government has taken, and support basic research. We also urge the Ministry of Advanced Education to consult faculty with expertise in administering and constructing merit-based programs.”

CUFA BC represents over 5500 university professors, instructors, academic librarians and other academic staff at the province’s five research universities: SFU (Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey campuses), UBC (Vancouver and Kelowna campuses), UNBC (Prince George, Terrace, Fort St. John and Quesnel campuses), UVic and Royal Roads University.

For further information, please contact Michael Conlon, Executive Director of CUFA BC, at 778-994-2616.