Government’s cuts to research funding

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 54 , No. 9 , November 2012 , Pages 448 Letters

The essence of the research budget proposed by the Harper government can be summarized succinctly: Why waste money on basic science research when funds could be better directed toward industry-driven projects fo­cus­ed on immediate economic gain? While the overall Canadian Foundation for Innovation budget increases to $750 million, most of the monies will be channeled away from groundbreaking science (upon which tomorrow’s medicines are based) to support shortsighted, industry-driven research. This will stymie scientific creativity and innovation, and will jeopardize Canada’s standing as a worldwide leader in science.

The discovery of insulin exemplifies the impact of Canadian inquisitiveness and ingenuity. Dr Frederick Banting devised a method to collect insulin that would prevent its degradation by pancreatic enzymes. With the support of Dr MacLeod at the University of Toronto, he and his assistant, Dr Best, succeeded in isolating insulin, thereby revolutionizing the treatment of diabetes. To date, Ban­ting remains the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine. 

Banting was not motivated by commercial gain and his inspiration did not come from a corporate board meeting. Rather, he was an independent scientist with an idea who found the backing to carry it to fruition. Unfortunately, the priorities of the federal budget make it exceedingly difficult for the nation’s next generation of young scientists to reach similar heights. 

Adjusted for inflation, scientific funding has decreased significantly over the past 5 years and funds have been directed toward businesses and away from independent scientists like Banting. This policy shift will concentrate the decisions about which scientific projects to pursue in the hands of a few who are primarily concerned with their personal economic interests. While the commercial development of science is important, promoting it at the expense of basic science will devastate future inquiry and stifle the innovation and creativity that was so nobly exemplified by Banting.
—Alison Wallace, MD
Vancouver

Alison Wallace, MD,. Government’s cuts to research funding. BCMJ, Vol. 54, No. 9, November, 2012, Page(s) 448 - Letters.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.


For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply