Taxpayers put out $17.5Gs for one-night stand study

Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

, Last Updated: 3:16 PM ET

OTTAWA — Taxpayers spent $17,500 so a University of Alberta student could bar-hop in Jasper to research how to score a one-night stand.

The University of Ottawa received the same amount to study tattooed teachers.

The University of British Columbia is spending $20,000 to analyze fan mail of U.S. porn star Nina Hartley, who has performed in nearly 1,000 adult films.

It cost the University of Guelph $17,500 to study the popularity of pole dancing.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) exposed the "wacky" research projects Thursday after scouring some of the published research that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has funded over the years.

"Now that it's public knowledge that the federal government will pay you $17,500 to hang out in a ski resort for a couple of months and investigate casual sex, we expect every frat boy in the country to be lining up for a research grant to replicate this study," CTF executive director Gregory Thomas said.

In the Alberta example, the doctoral student interviewed 21 people and concluded that eye contact is "very important" before hitting on someone.

Thomas said there's little, if any, oversight of how universities spend tax dollars to fund certain projects that could result in a PhD for a student.

"There needs to be some tightening up of the rules at the very least," he said, adding MPs should scrutinize grants more thoroughly to determine if taxpayers are getting a bang for their buck.

The SSHRC spent $669 million on grants in 2013, including $332 million to institutions to cover the indirect costs of research, the CTF said.

The council reports to Industry Canada.


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