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Olds College Calls for Equitable Federal Funding to Boost Research Impact and Economic Growth

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024, Olds, Alberta: Today, Dr. Ben Cecil, President and CEO of Olds College of Agriculture & Technology, delivered compelling testimony before the Federal Government's Standing Committee on Scientific Research, urging for a re-evaluation of the distribution of federal government funding to better support college research activities.

Dr. Ben Cecil, President and CEO of Olds College of Agriculture & Technology

In his address to the Committee, Dr. Cecil underscored the critical role that colleges play in advancing research and innovation within their local communities and industries. He emphasized the need for equity in funding allocation, stressing that colleges have consistently demonstrated their ability to deliver real-world solutions to pressing challenges faced by Canadians.

"Colleges are essential hubs of innovation, driving economic growth and job creation through applied research," stated Dr. Cecil. "However, the current distribution of federal research funding does not adequately recognize the impactful contributions made by colleges like Olds College. It's time for a fundamental shift to ensure equitable support for all players in the research ecosystem."

Dr. Cecil outlined three key areas for reform: equity, eligibility and impact. He highlighted the disparity in indirect costs support for colleges and called for greater flexibility in funding programs to accommodate the unique needs and capabilities of college research initiatives. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of measuring research impact based on metrics that matter most to Canadians, such as economic growth, job creation and affordability.

"Olds College stands ready to lead the charge in transforming agriculture and driving sustainable innovation," affirmed Dr. Cecil. "By reallocating federal research funding to colleges and measuring impact on tangible outcomes, we can unleash the full potential of Canada's research ecosystem and ensure a brighter future for all Canadians."

Dr. Cecil concluded his testimony with a bold recommendation to allocate increased funding to colleges and measure their impact on key metrics over the coming years. He expressed confidence that such investments would yield significant returns for the Canadian economy and position Canada as a global leader in applied research.

As Olds College continues to pioneer cutting-edge solutions through initiatives like the Smart Farm, the call for equitable federal funding resonates not only within the walls of academia but also among industry partners and communities across Canada.

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