News / London

Western researchers to get millions in government funding

Millions of dollars of government research funding was announced Monday, and with it came praise for Western University.

Science and technology minister Greg Rickford was at the university to announce new federal support for “Canada’s best and brightest minds.”

At Western’s social sciences centre, watched by many of those who will benefit, Rickford announced more than 760 grants totaling about $107 million to be given via the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

Accompanied by London MPs Susan Truppe and Ed Holder, Rickford singled out Western’s $2.4 million share as “a testament to the quality” of the university, its work and its staff.

He cited Dr. Jim MacGee’s economic research in London as an example of how the grants will benefit the country, giving Canadians and decision-makers “the tools to make informed choices.”

MacGee, an associate professor at Western, will receive $223,237 for what's billed as groundbreaking research into consumer debt and how it affects the economy.

His work is looking at links between what households consume and nationwide issues like debt, bankruptcies and interest rates.

Metro asked MacGee if Canadians are borrowing too much and if Canada’s heading for a fall.

He said that’s what his research is asking, but added: “Are we right to flag this as a potential danger? Yes. Do we need to do a lot more work on evaluating the risk? Yes.”

On Friday, Statistics Canada said the average Canadian owes a record $1.63 for every $1 of disposable income they earn in a year.

Canadians borrowed $25.9 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

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