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Industrial Focus

The Conservative Party in Canada has introduced a new budget that emphasizes applied research and partnerships with industry, Nature News reports.

Overall, the plan would balance the budget, leading to a projected surplus of C$1.4 billion by the end of March 2016, the Wall Street Journal says. It adds that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government appears to be counting on that balanced budget to aid it in its quest for a fourth mandate in the coming fall elections.

In particular, the proposal gives a 2 percent budget increase to research funding agencies as well as C$1.33 billion to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for university and hospital research facilities over six years, beginning in 2017, Nature News reports.

The budget also focuses on building industry partnerships. For instance, it would give C$119 million over two years to the National Research Council to bolster industry-partnered R&D activities, C$46 million a year, beginning next year, to research-funding agencies to support developing ties with industry, and C$56.4 million over four years, also starting in 2016, for industry-related graduate student internships, Nature News notes.

"There's a trend to use universities as surrogates for industrial research," notes Paul Dufour from the University of Ottawa.