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Institutions, professors, and researchers across the country are creating innovative engineering and technological solutions to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgian College’s Research and Innovation team and University of Guelph Professor Scott Weese are working with local manufacturers to retool operations to create personal protective equipment and produce hand sanitizer, respectively. Staff and researchers at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Design and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry are developing ways to use 3D printers to create printed medical supplies. University of Alberta Professor Mike Lipsett and University of Calgary Professor Mark Ungrin have developed a template for a medical ventilator that can be constructed from readily accessible parts. Georgian | UoGuelph | CBC | Western | Calgary Herald (ON, AB)

Canadian higher ed helps fight COVID-19 through innovative engineering, tech solutions Top Ten Mon, 03/30/2020 - 03:43
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Researchers at Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba are preparing to enter trials for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Dal researchers are moving forward with testing a vaccine that uses a genome of DNA from SARS CoV-2. "We're working as hard as we can to move this as fast as possible," said Dal Professor Alyson Kelvin. "We have other vaccines in the pipeline in case this isn't the best vaccine that we can put forth." Meanwhile, UManitoba researchers are testing if hydroxychloroquine — a drug approved by Health Canada to prevent and treat malaria since the 1950s — can be repurposed to reduce the severity of COVID-19. "The idea is to reduce the severity of symptoms," said UManitoba Professor Ryan Zarychanski, "and also reduce the transmissibility of the virus and reduce community spread, which can help keep our population more healthy and reduce the burden that we're expecting on the healthcare system." CBC (1) | CBC (2) (NS, MB)

Researchers at Dal, UMantioba moving to test COVID-19 vaccine, treatments Top Ten Fri, 03/27/2020 - 03:37
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Several Canadian postsecondary schools have answered the Government of Canada’s call to mobilize resources and expertise in the fight against COVID-19. Colleges such as Fanshawe College and St Clair College have donated personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other supplies to their local health alliances and hospitals. University Affairs reports that many universities have supplied or donated equipment from their laboratories: The University of Ottawa and University of Toronto designed and manufactured new equipment while the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center launched a contest to spur new ventilator designs. McMaster University’s Engineers have announced that they are prototyping and creating protective gear for health care workers. “Their laboratories have the resources and the experts to be part of this great fight,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We asked them to identify the equipment they have, the masks and the respirators they have.” Canada (Call for Supplies) | University Affairs (National) | Fanshawe | St Clair | McMaster

Institutions donate supplies to local hospitals Top Ten Thu, 03/26/2020 - 08:33
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The Government of Canada has announced that students with federal student loan debt will be automatically enrolled into a six-month loan holiday program. The holiday only applies to the federal portion and does not address any provincial or territorial payments to private financial institutions. "This situation is so fluid we would not rule out [extending the pause further]," Employment and Workforce Development Minister Carla Qualtrough said. "As the situation becomes more complicated and becomes more serious, there's never going to be a point we don't consider extending anything that we announced today." The Canadian Federation of Students is also calling for further help for unemployed students and for international students without equivalent health coverage. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations applauded the move and called on provincial and territorial governments to follow suit. CBC (National)

Canada suspends federal student loan payments for six-months Top Ten Wed, 03/25/2020 - 03:42
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International students of Canadian universities that are conducting research abroad are facing uncertainty regarding when they can return to Canada. Universities Canada President Paul Davidson estimated that hundreds of students are in this type of predicament. “There are international students who have rented apartments in Montreal or in Vancouver and just happened to be away doing field work at the time,” explains Davidson. “So, is there a way we can get them home?" Contradictory messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair have reportedly caused confusion as Trudeau stated that temporary residents are not exempt from border closures, while Blair stated such individuals will be allowed to enter Canada. The federal government has announced that student visas will not be impacted as university classes move online nor if school semesters are extended. The Standard (National)

International students completing field-work, research abroad face uncertain future Top Ten Tue, 03/24/2020 - 03:40
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The Université Laval has announced an emergency fund that will help support the institution’s 45,000 students to get through the COVID-19 crisis. Laval President Sophie D’Amours noted that many students had lost their employment on-campus or in the local community due to business closures. As an expression of solidarity, Laval called on its university foundation and financial aid offices to mobilize their resources and create a fund, adding that they would call upon institutional donors if necessary. D’Amours added that students would need to verify if they had access to provincial or federal government assistance funds prior to accessing the Laval fund. Radio Canada (QC)

Laval creates emergency fund to support students Top Ten Mon, 03/23/2020 - 03:41
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Ontario colleges are facing unique challenges in online curriculum delivery due to many programs’ hands-on approach to learning. “It’s the applied component that’s a challenge,” said Algonquin College Senior Vice-President Academic Chris Janzen. “There is nobody who is going to lose their term, but the completion of that program may be delayed.” To prepare for the possibility that regular classes may not resume soon, Colleges Ontario is conducting a sector-wide survey to see how schools may proceed. Questions include whether colleges would extend the current semester or delay the start of the summer term and what they would do about convocation. The Star (ON)

ON colleges faced with challenge of addressing applied components of curriculum Top Ten Fri, 03/20/2020 - 03:43
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Some postsecondary institutions are requiring students to move out of residences amid the COVID-19 outbreak. In Ontario, students at Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, McMaster University, Brock University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto have been asked to move out as soon as possible. The institutions have also indicated closure dates for their residences that will apply to all students except for those with exceptional circumstances. Memorial University in Newfoundland is also asking students who can leave residences to do so by Sunday to limit student numbers on campus. CBC | The Star  CBC (ON, NL)

Some schools asking students in residences to move out to help ‘flatten the curve’ Top Ten Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:39
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As many Canadian researchers are receiving funds to investigate the biological implications of COVID-19, others are receiving funds to study the virus' social implications. Three York University professors are receiving more than $1.1M in COVID-19 research funding to study issues of trust, stigmatization, and social perceptions of risk surrounding the virus. Researchers at Royal Roads University and Ryerson University have also received funds to reduce the circulation of misinformation regarding COVID-19, as well as to develop educational resources. “The results from these […] research projects could affect the response to and management of COVID-19 now and similar outbreaks of disease in the future,” said YorkU in a news release.  Hamilton Spectator  | Royal Roads  (National)

Researchers across country receive funds to tackle social implications of COVID-19  Top Ten Wed, 03/18/2020 - 03:42
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A team of researchers from McMaster University, University of Toronto, and Sunnybrook Research Institute have successfully isolated the COVID-19 virus. “Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork,” said McMaster NSERC Post-doctoral Fellow Arinjay Banerjee. “The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share.” The Montréal Gazette adds that Quebec-based company Medicago has produced a virus-like particle of the virus—the first step of the development of a vaccine—and has been studying developing antibodies in collaboration with Université Laval. Innovate Saskatchewan has also provided the University of Saskatchewan’s VIDO-IVC with $200K to support their research on a vaccine. USask is reportedly currently evaluating the safety and efficiency of potential vaccines and medications.  Sunnybrook  | Montreal Gazette  | SK (ON, QC, SK)

Researchers isolate COVID-19 virus, press forward on vaccine development Top Ten Tue, 03/17/2020 - 03:43

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