Those of you dedicated readers (yes, Mom, that’ s you) will recall my frustration with all this talk about ‘R&D’ in New Brunswick.
You will recall that the Prosperity Plan calls for New Brunswick to be third in Canada among the provinces for R&D spending as a percentage of GDP. You will also recall how absurd this objective was, in my opinion, because we are last right now and it would require an additional $100 million per year in R&D spending to reach the level of Nova Scotia – the province that is currently in third place (according to Statistics Canada).
So, you can imagine when I read the article in the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday trumpeting all the government’s efforts in this area, I had to sigh.
The Premier starts with the usual bold and incisive commentary “New Brunswick must increase its research capacity or risk losing ground to emerging powers in China and India.”
Wow, sounds right!
Then the article goes on to promote the activity of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Since its formation in November 2002 the foundation has invested approximately $8 million in 117 research projects at New Brunswick post-secondary institutions.
$8 million over three years – that’s $2.7 million per year.
And we need an additional $100 million per year to meet the government’s target.
And the $2.7 million per year is considered ‘a good start’.
The federal government gives out hundreds of millions per year in research grants to Canada’s universities.
Maybe we should scrap the NBIF and use the $2.7M to hire some sales guys to better tap this pool of money.
And while I am on the subject of the NBIF, they have something like seven staff members. Seven staff to shell out $2.7M worth of money? It would cost almost a million just to run that office. So spending $1M to give out $2.7M? Something’s funny here.
Maybe the Times & Transcript will run an investigative report on the NBIF.
Maybe not. Chuckle.