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Philanthropists have banded together to provide “lightning-quick research grants to COVID-19 researchers” through the organization Fast Grants. The initiative was reportedly inspired by the World War II-era National Defense Research Committee. “Usually it takes months for researchers to receive grants,” said Shopify Inc CEO Tobi Lütke, who committed $5M to Fast Grants with his spouse Fiona McKean through the Thistledown Foundation. “We can get money to them in 24 hours. This is the speed by which everything must happen.” The grants range from $10K to $500K in value and are focused on research expected to have an impact on the pandemic within six months. The first grant awards were issued over Easter weekend, and the Business Insider reports that grant applications will be decided on within 48 hours of receipt. Lütke expressed hope in an interview that the Canadian research community would respond to the call for grants. Globe and Mail (Account Required) | Business Insider (National)

Fast Grants seek to get funds in the hands of COVID-19 researchers within 48 hours Top Ten Tue, 04/14/2020 - 08:14
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Intelligence firm KELA has reported that an unnamed Canadian university’s network may be at risk for a cyberattack. Earlier this month, a threat actor on the dark web put administrative access to the domain of an unnamed Canadian university up for sale. It is not clear at this point how access was obtained. KELA has notified a contact at the University of Toronto and asked it to pass on the threat to other institutions, reports the Financial Post. “We hear about this sort of thing in general, all the time,” said Ryerson University CIO Brian Lesser in an email. “But, I can’t say I’ve heard about the access to a specific university system being sold.” Financial Post (National)

Unnamed Canadian university domain up for sale on dark web Top Ten Mon, 04/13/2020 - 03:41
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King’s University College and the University of Windsor have launched online resources to support students with employment, financial, and mental health resources. King’s UC has launched the Employment and Student Support webpage, which is dedicated to providing current and graduating students with employment and financial assistance resources. UWindsor has launched the COVID-19 Wellbeing Portal to provide students, faculty, and staff with information about mental wellbeing amid the pandemic, as well as coping strategies. The portal also includes campus and community mental health resources for further support. King’s UC | Windsor (ON)

King’s UC, UWindsor launch web resources for employment, financial, mental health supports Top Ten Thu, 04/09/2020 - 03:40
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The Government of Canada is reportedly looking for ways to speed up the introduction of skills training for out-of-work Canadians. The training support was scheduled to arrive at the end of the year in the form of a tax credit and time off through the EI system for upgrading skills, but Universities Canada President Paul Davidson explained that conversations have turned to how to use the economic shutdown as a catalyst to speed up the training benefit. “Right now, if we have jobs or businesses that are completely disappearing,” said CICan President Denise Amyot, “it means we need to ensure that people are training for those jobs that will get through this pandemic.”    Globe and Mail  (National)

Canada looks to speed up skills-training program  Top Ten Wed, 04/08/2020 - 03:42
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The Government of British Columbia has announced $1.5M in funding for the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund to support Indigenous students who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that could affect their ability to finish their studies. The fund will support emergency living expenses, such as cellphone bills and childcare, as well as other unanticipated costs like dental or optical costs. “Our government is increasing emergency financial assistance for Indigenous students to ensure they have the necessary funds to focus on staying healthy, meeting their educational goals and finishing their semester,” said BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. “By supporting Indigenous students to succeed, we are doing our part to implement article 23 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.” BC (BC)

BC provides $1.5M in emergency funding for Indigenous students Top Ten Tue, 04/07/2020 - 03:36
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The Government of British Columbia has announced a one-time investment of $3.5M in emergency financial assistance for postsecondary students. The funding will support domestic students in the province who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that may affect their ability to finish their studies and handle expenses. The emergency assistance is non-repayable and can be used for costs such as living expenses, food, travel, or portable computers. “Students who attend one of B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions can access these funds by contacting their school’s financial aid office, which will assist with the application process,” explains a statement from the Government of British Columbia. “Each post-secondary institution will determine the specific amount a student can receive based on their individual needs.” BC (BC)

BC invests $3.5M in aid for domestic postsecondary students Top Ten Mon, 04/06/2020 - 03:40
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The University of Manitoba has announced that its funding campaign, Front and Centre, has raised over $626M. Launched in 2015, the funds raised greatly surpassed the school’s $500M goal, and is described by UManitoba as the largest-ever fundraising campaign in the province’s history. “At the heart of this campaign are the donors who have put the work of University of Manitoba faculty and staff front and centre, magnifying their impact in our province and in communities around the world,” said UManitoba President David T Barnard. “They are a reminder that even in such an exceptionally difficult time, we still have much to be grateful for.” Manitoba (MB)

UManitoba surpasses goal, raises over $626M Top Ten Fri, 04/03/2020 - 03:40
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Ontario colleges are seeking new federal immigration rules in order to avoid a drastic reduction in international student enrollment. The Record states that colleges hope they will be able to enroll foreign students, teach them remotely in their home country, and allow students to claim this time abroad as if it is time spent in Canada. ApplyBoard Co-founder Martin Basiri argued that “there is always a need for people to go to good schools,” and encouraged a focus on those students already in Canada. "Right now they're locked down," said Basiri. "They don't have their family support. They don't have a social life. They're completely in another country. I worry about their mental health." The Record

ON colleges wait on approval to teach international students virtually in home countries Top Ten Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:40
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The Government of Ontario has announced that it is temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports available to postsecondary institutions. All loan repayments will be subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until September 30th. The province has also partnered with eCampusOntario to provide postsecondary institutions with interim digital learning supports in English and French that will help deliver year-end assessments. ON has additionally announced the distribution of $25M in additional funding to public colleges, universities, and Indigenous institutes to address needs such as deep cleaning, mental health supports, and health supplies in the wake of the outbreak. ON

ON distributes $25M, defers OSAP payments, partners with eCampusOntario Top Ten Wed, 04/01/2020 - 03:40
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Institutions and students are stepping up to support vulnerable persons within campus and local communities amid COVID-19. The University of Lethbridge, for example, reoriented its Campus Care Parcels program for students experiencing food insecurity so that volunteers and participants could still engage while practicing social distancing, while Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department donated food that would have been used in students’ labs and cafeteria meals to the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank. Two Carleton University students have relaunched the Lotus Project, an initiative to provide street survival kits for houseless persons in the area, and Brescia University College is helping the London Food Bank develop a virtual food bank website to help facilitate food donations and pick-ups. ULethbridge | Okanagan | CBC | Global News (BC, AB, ON)

Institutions, students provide food, care packages Top Ten Tue, 03/31/2020 - 03:39

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