By Eric Lewis, Times & Transcript | link to original article (subscribers only)

New Brunswick just became a little more attractive to graduate students.

The provincial government has invested $7 million into a new program launched by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation that aims to retain and attract graduate students to the province’s post-secondary institutions.

“We have quality institutions, we have good researchers and professors, plus if we add this new incentive to recruit students then we should be able to increase the number of graduate students coming into the province of New Brunswick or remaining (here) to do their graduate studies,” said Dr. Roger Gervais, vice-president of research with NBIF.

Until this program was announced last week, the province offered no stipends to graduate students while other provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, offered $5,000 and $3,500 respectively.

“This was putting our universities at a disadvantage to recruit students or even to retain students in this province,” Gervais said.

Under the new program, graduate students and doctoral students can access between $4,000 and $21,000 in funding. The initiative is expected to benefit more than 750 graduate students over a five-year period.

“Sometimes it comes down to that – if one professor can offer a student another $7,000, then they may be more likely to accept that offer compared to one where they’re only offered $3,500,” explained Chet Wesley, director of market and communications with NBIF.

“We know that supporting graduate studies helps build an innovative economy,” said Jody Carr, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour. “As such, it is an essential part of creating opportunities for job growth. It is also a key factor in rebuilding New Brunswick that will help keep our young people at home while attracting talented students from outside the province.”

The scholarship is meant to top up those issued by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, known as the Tri-Council.

The new scholarships are for eligible students who register for full-time studies to complete a graduate program in one of the province’s publicly funded post-secondary institutions.

To be eligible, graduates must be nominated by a Canadian post-secondary institution to receive a Tri-Council scholarship award or be studying in a discipline related to social innovation or in one of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and have an excellent student record.

Foreign students who receive a peer-reviewed Canadian scholarship are also eligible for these scholarships and all scholarship recipients are eligible for funding under the separate Research Assistantships Initiative.

In February, the provincial government announced an $80-million investment in innovation and research and development. In addition to the new graduate student program, more than $52 million of this funding has been allocated to various initiatives.

NBIF is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that invests in new growth-oriented companies and applied research activities.