Top Ten

May 27, 2015

uOttawa partners with Max Planck Society on new photonics centre

The University of Ottawa has announced a new partnership with the Max Planck Society that will establish the Max Planck-uOttawa Centre for Extreme and Quantum Photonics. The facility, just the third Max Planck Centre in North America, will conduct research in photonics and optics and develop technologies to be used in advanced manufacturing and secure data transmission, among other applications. "The University and the Max Planck Society are both internationally renowned for research excellence in photonics. Deepening our ties means we will foster greater scientific exchange, produce highly qualified people, and develop solutions to real-world problems,” said Mona Nemer, uOttawa's VP Research. uOttawa News Release

SFU to accept Bitcoin payments at bookstores

Simon Fraser University has announced it is installing automated Bitcoin vending machines (AVMs) across campus and will begin accepting Bitcoin payments at its Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey campus bookstores. According to a news release, SFU will be the first Canadian university to accept Bitcoin payments for textbooks. Mark McLaughlin, SFU’s Executive Director of Ancillary Services, stated that the move is about more than just accepting Bitcoin on campus; it’s about “fostering a dialogue about the future of currency and disruptive technologies.” Michael Yeung, founder of the SFU Bitcoin Club, added, “the coming era of virtual currencies is inevitable and exciting, no different than the early days of the Internet.” SFU News Release | Metro News

SK invests in building a mining culture

Saskatchewan is investing heavily in mining research and technology. A recent article in the StarPhoenix highlighted the need in SK for what Engin Özberk, Executive Director of Saskatoon's International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII), described as a mining culture. IMII recently received $1 M from Innovation SK to support research and development projects; its education and training panel is also working to reinvigorate mining engineering programs in the province. Saskatchewan Polytechnic is developing a Centre for Minerals Innovation, and the University of Saskatchewan's Global Institute of Water Security was recently awarded $1.8 M from Western Economic Diversification Canada to establish a research and testing facility to help develop and commercialize mine-waste cover systems. uSask News Release | StarPhoenix(Mining Culture) | StarPhoenix (Reclamation Centre) | Leader-Post

Copyright Board of Canada ruling on Access Copyright has broad PSE implications

The Copyright Board of Canada last week issued a ruling that uOttawa law professor Michael Geist describes as a "devastating defeat" to Access Copyright. The decision grants Access Copyright just cents per employee for copying done by workers in the provincial governments, well below the $15 per employee for the period from 2005–09 and $24 per employee for 2010–14 the organization had originally sought. But the decision not only deals a significant financial blow to Access Copyright; it has long-term implications for Access Copyright's role in the education sector. Geist notes that the Board also rejected Access Copyright's broad definition of its own repertoire, its understanding of what constitutes "substantial" copying, and every one of its claims regarding fair dealing. Access Copyright said it will review the decision and assess its appeal options. Geist Blog | Board Decision | Access Copyright Statement

BCIT celebrates launch of Centre for Large Format Imaging

The British Columbia Institute of Technology held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to celebrate the opening of its new Centre for Large Format Imaging. The Centre offers students hands-on educational opportunities with CAD software and other workflow applications, as well as experience in the graphic communications industry's large format and packaging sector. The Centre will help students in BCIT's Graphic Communications Technology Management program meet industry needs for skilled graduates in this specialty area. The Centre was made possible thanks to donations from ESKO Graphics, 3M Commercial Solutions Division, Ampco Grafix, and RICOH, among others. BCIT News Release

CICan publishes guide to applied research projects

Colleges and Institutes Canada has released a new publication detailing more than 100 applied research projects conducted at member institutions across the country. Partnerships for Industry Innovation showcases the many projects underway through collaboration between industry partners and colleges with support from the Tri-Council College and Community Innovation Program. Initiatives through this program help small- and medium-sized enterprises develop innovations and spur economic growth through improvements in technologies, processes, products, and services. According to CICan’s latest annual report, federal funding for applied research in 2013–14 was up 19% and private sector funding was up 9%. CICan News Release

MPs debate motion to "un-muzzle" federal scientists

Canada's Members of Parliament yesterday debated a motion introduced by the Liberal Party to "immediately rescind all rules and regulations" that have "constrained" the freedom of federal sciences to share their research. The motion also calls for the creation of a Chief Science Officer whose role would be to ensure that "government science is freely available to those who are paying for it, namely, the public." A statement from the Canadian Association of University Teachers urged MPs to support the motion. “To serve the public interest, scientists must be free to speak without censorship or control by the government of the day," said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. CBC | CAUT News Release

OCUFA responds to report about precarious employment

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) has issued a statement in response to a new report on precarious employment. The report, The Precarity Penalty, published by the organization Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO), explores the effects of precarious employment. OCUFA notes that precarious employment, such as the rise of contract and part-time faculty at Ontario’s universities, can have negative effects on students and the university system itself. “The rise of precarious academic employment exploits young academics and is changing the culture of Ontario’s university system, putting its long record of student success at risk,” said OCUFA President Kate Lawson.OCUFA Blog | PEPSO Summary | Full Report

27 Canadian institutions appear in this year's Leiden Ranking

The Centre for Science and Technology at Leiden University recently released itsannual ranking of universities' scientific performance. The Leiden Ranking focuses heavily on scientific collaboration and citation impact; this year, it factors in new impact indicators based on counting publications that belong to the top 1% or top 50% of their field. The University of Toronto was the top Canadian school in the size-independent ranking at 86th. UBC was 107th, the University of Victoria 116th, and McGill University 149th. McMaster University rounded out the Canadian top five at 165th. 27 Canadian institutions in total appear on the list of 750 institutions, down from 28 last year. MIT placed first overall in the size-independent ranking, followed by Harvard and Stanford. UVic News Release |Full Rankings

Australia cuts research funding to give small businesses a boost

Australia has raised controversy by significantly cutting its research budget while offering tax credits and write-offs to small businesses that purchase equipment such as espresso machines and lawnmowers. The move is intended to help the economy by giving small businesses a boost, but many have criticized the move. Chief Scientist Ian Chubb noted that Australia is the only country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that does not have a plan in place to foster scientific research and translate it into new technologies. Some speculate that Australia's policies are already costing it talented scientists, who are moving abroad to pursue their research. Toronto Star