Top Ten

July 30, 2015

CIHR announces over $600 M for health research across Canada

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded over $600 M through 650 grants to health researchers working at universities and hospitals across Canada. This funding includes the first Foundation Grant awards, as well as the grants funded through the Open Operating Grants competition. There were a total of 139 Foundation Grants, with an average value of $2.6 M per grant and most lasting seven years. The two largest grants in this category both went to McMaster University for studies on urban/rural epidemiology ($9.8 M) and complications of vascular surgery ($8.4 M). A total of 366 Operating Grants were awarded, with an average value of $653 K per grant and most lasting five years. The largest grant in this category went to Queen’s University, for a trial of a technique to minimize thermal injury ($5.5 M). Canada (Release) | Canada (Fact Sheet) | Results (Foundation) | Results (Operating)

uMoncton among 33 Canadian institutions to benefit from $30 M in innovation funding

Canada has announced that it will provide $30 M for 143 innovation projects at 33 institutions through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R Evans Leaders Fund. The fund is designed to help universities attract and retain top researchers by ensuring them access to high-quality equipment and facilities. The announcement was made at the Université de Moncton, where researchers will use a portion of the new funds to examine methods for reducing stress among fish to produce healthier, more abundant salmon. In addition, uMoncton received funding for infrastructure to support research in quantum information processing. CFI

StatCan releases report on R&D in higher ed

Statistics Canada has released its report on spending for research and development in the higher education sector for the 2013–14 year. According to the report, expenditures in this area fell by 1.8%, from $13.0 B in 2012–13 to $12.7 B. Spending in natural sciences and engineering (76.6% of total R&D) decreased by 2.8% while social sciences and humanities spending increased 1.5%. Spending was down in eight provinces, with the largest declines in British Columbia (down $131.1 M) and Ontario (down $63.8 M). Of the six funding sources analyzed by StatCan, the largest decreases were seen from provincial governments (down 13.4%), but this was partially offset by increases from institutions themselves (up 1.5%) and the foreign sector (up 16.0%). Manitoba was the only province without a decrease from any of the six funding sources for R&D. StatCan

uSask receives $37.2 M for global food-crop research

The University of Saskatchewan will receive $37.2 M over seven years for its Designing Crops for Global Food Security initiative from the federal government’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), the largest federal grant received by the university to date. The funds will support global food-related research and the development of the Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre, which will allow researchers around the world to access plant-breeding data and develop sustainable food crops. The multidisciplinary research will involve partnerships with four Canadian universities, three international universities, and more than 15 private and public organizations, and will be led by the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS). uSask | StarPhoenix | CBC | Canada

Brock, York, uSask among victors in Social Media Awards

#PSEWEB has partnered with Engagement Labs to announce the recipients of their Canadian University & College Social Media Awards. After scanning 150 Canadian university and college homepages, #PSEWEB found that 96.7% of Canadian higher education homepages linked to a Facebook Page, while 92% linked to a Twitter account and 42.7% linked to an Instagram account. Some of the most successful adopters of social media were the University of Saskatchewan, which won for #1 University Facebook Page; Brock University, which won for #1 University Twitter Account; and York University, which won for #1 University Instagram Account. #PSEWEB

triOS College creates diploma-to-degree pathway with US university

Toronto-based private career college triOS has partnered with the National American University (NAU), a for-profit university based in South Dakota, to offer its graduates online degree completion opportunities in business, information technology, and health care. “Our collaboration with triOS College will offer NAU the opportunity to educate students who are prepared with both the knowledge and experience to meet [the] demands [of a high-tech workforce]," said NAU CEO Ronald Shape. triOS

TRU enters industry partnership to support trades skills training

Thompson Rivers University has signed an MOU with Domtar (a fibre company) and Unifor 10B (a union representing pulp and paper employees) to enhance the quality of trades skills development across the Kamloops region. “Unifor 10B and Domtar have literally opened their doors to new and exciting opportunities for TRU’s students and faculty,” said TRU President Alan Shaver. The partnership will provide opportunities for hands-on experience, bursaries and scholarships, and where possible the hiring of grads at Domtar’s mill in Kamloops. This follows on TRU’s receipt earlier this month of $2 M for an oil and gas engineering program. Penticton InfoNews | Kamloops This Week | TRU

Internationalization requires more than high number of foreign students, report says

Having a large cohort of foreign students does not make a university successfully “international,” says a recent report from the University of Warwick. The report critiques current UK internationalization rankings for placing too much emphasis on the quantity of international students at an institution and not giving enough weight to how effectively universities socially integrate these students with their domestic peers. The study found that general student satisfaction rates for both domestic and international students dropped as the proportion of international students on campuses rose. According to the authors, this effect is likely the result of too much institutional emphasis on the quantitative “structural” aspects of internationalization and not enough emphasis on the “social” aspects. Warwick | Report

New study finds US college students’ protective strategies for drinking connected to greater alcohol use

A new study of US college students has shown that some of the “protective strategies” they use when planning to drink are actually tied to greater alcohol use. The study, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, analyzed 694 undergraduate college students and 131 of their friends, who reported that they intended to drink heavily on at least one day of an upcoming spring break trip. The protective strategies fell into three categories: serious harm reduction (e.g., going home with a friend); limiting/stopping (e.g., asking a friend to monitor your drinking); and manner of drinking (e.g., avoiding drinking games). The more strategies the student employed, the more they tended to drink that day and the greater the consequences. Reuters | Full Study

Students may benefit from instructor responses to negative feedback, study finds

A new study suggests that instructors who respond to negative feedback on rating sites such as can have an effect on future student performance and class choice. The study examined whether negative reviews of an instructor, and various responses by the instructor, had an impact on student learning and motivation. The study concluded that statements of trustworthiness, such as assurances that students would be graded fairly, had the most significant effect on student learning. “I believe the key here is to be aware that our students are trying to learn about their instructors, and instructors who write a comment may show that they are in tune and engaged with the student learning process even before classes start,” writes author Yuhua (Jake) Liang. Inside Higher Ed