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Medical research community needs to speak louder to prevent another Canadian brain drain

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA Canada may not be able to compete globally in tomorrow's economy, and may repeat the brain drain of the mid-90s as a result of the recent federal budget, states an editorial in CMAJ published online today Health researchers and clinicians, institutions and others must ensure that the public and government understand the impact of the many medical and scientific advancements discovered in Canada.

T-cell receptors were cloned in Canada, the sequencing of the SARS virus genome was unveiled here and important medical treatments such as lamivudine for HIV/AIDS and montelukast for asthma have been developed in Canada.

"Health professionals and scientists need to understand that Budget 2009 can only be viewed as nothing more than an early resuscitating effort to re-establish our long-term economic survival and well-being," write Dr. Paul Hbert, Dr. Matthew Stanbrook and members of the CMAJ editorial team. "Without greater investment in science and technology, Canada's future will start looking perilously like Russia's present a country that has vast resources but outmoded technology."

The lack of investment in research will hurt our ability to compete globally as we move from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy globally. Canada's 3 research councils have been collectively cut by $147.9 million 5% of their budgets and Genome Canada and The Canada Research Chair program received no new money. This lack of investment in science and technology is in direct contrast with U.S. policy, which is pledging an estimated US$11.9-$13 billion to scientific research. The UK is making a similar commitment to science and research.


Contact: Kim Barnhardt
613-731-8610 x2224
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Page: 1

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