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Billions of Dollars for Canadian Science

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's 2018 budget includes almost C$4 billion ($3.1 billion) in new funding for science over the next five years, a significant portion of which will go to the country's three granting councils, Nature News reports. Last year's budget contained C$1 billion in new science funding, almost none of which went to basic research.

In remarks to legislators this week, finance minister Bill Morneau said the latest budget is "the single largest investment in investigator-led fundamental research in Canadian history," Nature News says. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will each receive C$354.7 million, while the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will get C$215.5 million. All three councils will share another C$275 million to support global interdisciplinary research.

The move follows recommendations from last year's Fundamental Science Review, a report by an expert panel led by former University of Toronto president David Naylor, Nature News says. Jim Woodgett, director of research at the University of Toronto's Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, tells Nature News that while the budget doesn't provide the C$1 billion a year for the granting councils that Naylor's report recommended, it shows that the government listened to scientists and is going in the right direction. "Scientists should be sleeping well tonight in Canada," he adds.

The budget also includes C$763 million for the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), which funds research infrastructure, Nature News reports. The government has pledged to make this funding permanent with an annual budget of C$462 million by 2023. And early-career researchers got a particular boost with an extra C$210 million over five years given to the Canada Research Chairs program, which supports young researchers at universities across the country.

However, there was no renewed funding for the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program, which is set to end this year, according to Nature News. Only one station, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory, received money to keep going until 2019 when the government provided C$1.6 million last November.