Graduate Students (both at the MSc and PhD level) are critical to the overarching scientific research eco-system.
Unfortunately, Graduate Students are currently paid below minimum wage as research stipend supported from the Tri-Councils is now $17,500 for Masters and $21,000 for PhD. This does not nearly cover the cost of living for students, or cover additional tuition costs. Despite the Canadian governments re-investment into research and allotment of increased funds to the Tri-Council in their 2018 budget (as per suggestions for the Naylor Report), their minimum stipends for graduate students has remained unchanged.
In addition, the low success rates for both CIHR and NSERC are particular troubling as this limits the amount of highly competitive and promising applicants that can contribute to exciting research projects.
We propose significant investments in all personal support programs funded through the Tri-Councils. This includes an increase in the minimum stipend for MSc students to , and to for PhD students.
The time to act is now! The lack of funds available for stipends, training and experiments are negatively affecting our skill development and ability to pursue the most appropriate training. Recent analysis provides evidence that greater than 90% of graduate students in the Biochemistry department of uOttawa find employment in academia and industry, suggesting our pipeline is robust. However, lack of funds is increasing its leakiness, which negatively affects the next generation of scientists.
Co-hosted by the oHeart Trainee Committe, the BMIGSA and the Ottawa Science Policy Network, we present the #ScienceIsMyFuture campaign. Our goal is to create a movement to advocate for appropriate funding for graduate students so that we can focus our energy on scientific research!
How can you get involved?
Take Part in our Twitter Campaign.
Twitter is a powerful resource to spread our message and gain the attention of people who can make a change. Download our blank template HERE and share on your social media. Make sure to tag @OttawaSciPolNet so we can share your post, and feel free to tag elected officials, Tri-Councils and more to gain attention to your post. Don't forget to challenge other scientists to participate in the campaign!
Email your Member of Parliament.
Email your local representative. Visit Elections Canada to find out who your local Member of Parliament is. This person will represent your riding in the House of Commons. Once you input your Postal Code, you will be able to access all the information about your riding. On the right side, click on "Get more information on your Member of Parliament (Parliamentary Web site)". This will allow you access their email and other contact information.
We have drafted a Letter Template (HERE) for you to use when contacting your representative. Feel free to use this letter as a template, or make your own! The more personal the letter is the more impact you will leave on the reader. You can also send this letter from yourself, or team up with some lab mates, graduate student association, or trainee organization to send one together!
Alternatively, we have pre-made postcards that you can print out and send to your MPs directly! Check them out HERE.
Add Your Name and/or Organization to Our List of Supporters.
HERE is a link to our Current List of Supporters. If you would like to support our movement please had your name and/or your organization to our list. We will include these names in our official letter that will be submitted to elected official at the end of our campaign. The content of this letter will be very similar to our Letter Template (above), but will also include details of our campaign and the success we have.