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Budget day 2012

The rotunda at the legislature was a busy place on budget day. Photo by Tim Jones.

by Tim Jones

The Saskatchewan provincial budget has arrived and it brings with it $99 million in overall research spending, though only certain areas of study are actually seeing new funds.


The nuclear R&D strategy, sponsored through Innovation Saskatchewan, was the biggest recipient of new money, gaining $3.3 million. The funding will go to a variety of projects including the Cyclotron, the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan, and to establish a Positron Emission Tomography and Computerized Tomography (PET-CT) facility at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.


PET-CT scanners are medical imaging devices, dependent on nuclear isotopes to function, that are designed to provide enhanced diagnostic ability for doctors examiining patients.  


Minister for Innovation Rob Norris explained the government’s strong investment in nuclear research. “We have as a government established some key priorities and are working with the University of Saskatchewan as the home of the new Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation. The research priorities on the nuclear front are very clear: nuclear medicine,” said Norris.


InterVac, the province's recently-built vaccine research centre, receives the next highest distribution of new funds. InterVac will receive $2.1 million this year.


A fresh $2 million will breathe some more life into agriculture research, speeding up the creation of new wheat varieties that will improve yields, quality, and tolerances to disease and adverse weather. The total agricultural research budget will be $20.4 million this year.


The Canadian Light Source (CLS, or Synchrotron) will get an increase to its operating budget in the order of $1.5 million.


The Saskatchewan Research Council, a crown corporation dedicated to advancing research in the province, will receive an additional $850,000. These new funds will grant the council an operating budget of $19 million.


The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Water Security at the U of S will receive an increase of $500,000 granting it a total of $1 million for the 2012-13 budget.


A $376,000 budgetary increase will be provided to the Academic Renal Transplant Program.


Closing out the new spending is a $250,000 expenditure to establish the new Global Institute for Food Security.

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