Mar 9, 2013 / 9:11 pm
A federal program that buys internships for science-and-technology graduates is pricey, with administration costs as high as 44 cents for every dollar spent.
That's among the findings of a draft evaluation of the Industrial R&D Internship program, created with fanfare by the Harper government in 2007 and currently spending $13.8 million in tax dollars each year.
The evaluation from October last year found that high overhead costs begin at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the federal agency that runs the program.
The council, through its Networks of Centres of Excellence arm, spends about six cents per dollar on administration, higher than for other similar agency initiatives.
But costs also include the overhead of two non-government agencies that actually deliver the program, Mitacs and Connect Canada, both non-profits.
The report says combined costs hit 44 cents for every internship dollar spent in 2009-2010, though officials say the level has since fallen, to about 36 cents currently.
"Administration costs are very high in comparison to those of other programs," the draft report concludes.
"There are mixed opinions among key informants regarding whether the ... program is an efficient and economical mechanism to deliver R&D internships."
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