Top Ten

August 14, 2018

Canada invests over $78M in scientists and engineers

The Government of Canada has announced funding of over $78M to recipients for the Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks and Projects. The funding will support six networks and 80 projects across the country. “NSERC is proud of its role in convening Canada’s top scientists and engineers with a wealth of partners from industry, government and other organizations,” said NSERC Vice-President of Research Partnerships Marc Fortin. “These fruitful collaborations are a testament to the power of great minds and expertise coming together to tackle challenges in targeted areas where Canada can be a world leader.” NSERC

UOttawa student union under investigation for misappropriation of funds

Ottawa police are investing the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa amidst allegations that it has misappropriated funds and transfer payments from the university, reports the Ottawa Citizen. UOttawa has demanded a forensic investigation of the SFUO’s finances, and stated that it has withheld transfer payments until further notice. According to CBC, the SFUO Board voted unanimously to allow an outside firm to review its accounts. While the SFUO is independent from UOttawa, the university collects fees for student services such as transit passes and on-campus activities before transferring the money to the SFUO. The Citizen says that UOttawa will continue to collect fees for some services during the investigation. Ottawa Citizen | CBC

Brock condemns former professor's social media outburst

Former Brock University professor Garth Stevenson’s public outburst containing “vulgar statements about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples” has been condemned by the university. Brock’s senate also plans to discuss stripping Stevenson of his honorary title of professor emeritus. “Brock has no connection whatsoever with his views, and abhors comments that have been posted on his social media sites,” said Brock Provost Tom Dunk. Brock President Gervan Fearon stated that he shares the pain and frustration felt by the campus community and emphasized Brock’s work in and commitment to advancing inclusivity and human rights.

Brock | Brock

Concordia launches Genome Foundry

Concordia University has launched its Genome Foundry. According to a Concordia release, the new laboratory will improve the efficiency of synthetic biology research by automating processes that previously had to be performed manually. “This is a monumental addition to Canada’s synthetic biology ecosystem,” stated Vincent Martin, Co-director of the Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology. "It empowers us to navigate uncharted waters alongside our international colleagues, and to incubate the future leaders of our field."

Concordia

Royal Roads to open environmental sciences centre

Royal Roads University is set to officially open its new Centre for Environmental Science and International Partnership. The Victoria Times Colonist reports that the $24.8M facility features state-of-the-art laboratories, IT-enabled classrooms with cloud technology, and an outdoor classroom with all-weather seating. “Each classroom will also have the IT capability to host and participate in livestream online video conferencing to interact with students in other classrooms or even other institutions, locally, nationally or internationally,” stated Senior Portfolio Director Carolyn Levesque. The Time Colonist adds that the facility was funded by the provincial and federal governments, philanthropist Sherman Jen, and the university.

Victoria Times Colonist

International higher ed undergoing dramatic instability: deWit and Altbach

“[W]e are now in an era of global instability in international higher education and ... the certainties and truisms of the past are no longer applicable,” write Hans deWit and Philip Altbach. In light of Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to order all of its students out of Canadian universities, the authors highlight several other examples in which nationalism and populism have started to affect international education. As China and Singapore massively invest in higher education, deWit and Altbach add, the US and the UK have started to drop in the world’s university rankings.

Inside Higher Ed

PEI surpasses employment targets for international graduates

Prince Edward Island has surpassed its employment target for international students, reports CBC. Corey Frizell, International Student Employer Liaison Officer for the PEI and Canadian governments, stated that the province set a 10% target for finding full-time work for international graduates in 2018, and that 15% have found positions. CBC states that PEI graduates work in a range of sectors, including environmental technology, fish plants, call centres, civil service, banking, retail, and childcare. Frizell added that although not all of the students have immediately found work in their field of choice, their present jobs afford them the opportunity to keep looking as they stay in Canada.

CBC

Study of blockchain technology grows in academia

As blockchain becomes common in the private sector, it has started to grow as a field of academic study, writes Lindsay McKenzie. The author cites several US institutions that have introduced courses and research programs dedicated to blockchain, and contrasts its rise to prominence with recent skepticism about its legitimacy. McKenzie outlines how cryptocurrency contributed to the stigma around blockchain technology, but its practical applications in the corporate world have prompted many researchers to rethink the technology. The article goes on to discuss the opportunities for research, labour market preparation, and funding in the area of blockchain.

Inside Higher Ed

MUN receives rare blue whale skeleton

Memorial University of Newfoundland has received a donation from the Dobbin family to restore and install a rare blue whale skeleton in its Core Science Facility in 2020. “The ability to display a blue whale skeleton in this way places Memorial among a select group worldwide,” says MUN President Gary Kachanoski. “A rare gift like this, secured by a generous group of donors, not only sets our university apart, but will also provide an incredible learning experience for anyone who visits our Core Science Facility.” The family has reportedly been funding the project for 4 years.

CBC | Western Star

UWaterloo to distribute mental health kits for first-year students

The University of Waterloo will distribute mental health kits to first-year students this September, reports CBC. "It's really nice to know that something my company has created is recognized as a useful tool and that down the road it can help one or two people get through their mental health problem," said Tina Chan, a UWaterloo student who developed the kit. CBC states that each kit includes a squeezable stress star, ear plugs, a sleeping mask, a pack of gum, and a deck of 25 flash cards with steps for dealing with anxiety attacks. Chan has partnered with KW Habilitation to distribute the kits.

CBC

UWaterloo to distribute mental health kits for first-year students

The University of Waterloo will distribute mental health kits to first-year students this September, reports CBC. "It's really nice to know that something my company has created is recognized as a useful tool and that down the road it can help one or two people get through their mental health problem," said Tina Chan, a UWaterloo student who developed the kit. CBC states that each kit includes a squeezable stress star, ear plugs, a sleeping mask, a pack of gum, and a deck of 25 flash cards with steps for dealing with anxiety attacks. Chan has partnered with KW Habilitation to distribute the kits. CBC