Reaction in the biotech and innovation community to the 2010 budget was generally positive, since they (we) got something in a year when most groups got nothing. As Rob Annan put it over at Researcher Forum:
“What a difference a year makes… Funding increases, though relatively small, are made more significant by the context of spending restraint evidenced elsewhere in the budget.”
There was also much celebration of the demise of Section 116, including from BIOTECanada (pdf), and the CVCA, both of which had recommended the change, and from Communitech, the organization that represents Waterloo Region tech companies. Mark McQueen over at Wellington Capital blasphemously refuses to hail the event as Our Salvation, pointing out that (1) there has been a lot of investment by U.S. VCs even with 116 in place, (2) U.S. VCs aren’t having a great year either, and (3) those that are may not be as excited as we hope about early-stage Canadian deals.
Directly funded organizations wrote prompt thank-you notes:
- TRIUMF, slated to receive $222 million over the next 5 years for its work on particle and nuclear physics, described the budget as a “firm commitment to science & technology.”
- The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), seeing its $10 million in funding, characterized the move as an “investment in young entrepreneurs.”
Others, perhaps encouraged by this year’s $75 million allocated to Genome Canada following last year’s kerfuffle, have been quick to point out other flaws they perceive in the budget as well:
- The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) is “concerned” because the Canadian Heart Health Strategy and Action Plan that was completed in February 2009 doesn’t get help in this cycle;
- Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) says the budget is a “major disappointment for post-secondary education,” because it provides “no new support for universities and colleges to deal with increasing enrolments, and no relief for students grappling with high debt loads and tuition fees.”
- Their students aren’t any happier. The Canadian Federation of Students says “the government ignored recommendations made by researchers, professors and students,” and calls the planned approach a “failed innovation strategy.”
Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.