OTTAWA—The Canadian government has promised to match contributions from industry in a new program to increase funding for research. But its procedures have led scientists and industry officials to doubt whether the program, which began April 1, will really stimulate industrial support for universities.

The idea seemed simple enough last year when it was first announced: for every dollar provided for eligible university research by the private sector, the federal government would kick in another dollar, up to a maximum of 6 percent of the annual budget for each of the country's three research councils. Science and Technology Minister Frank Oberle said the formula would increase spending by as much as $3.4 billion ($2.5 billion U.S.) the next five years and that it would provide the councils with an unprecedented degree of financial stability.

Under the rules, universities that receive funds from the private sector may apply to the appropriate...

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