Top Ten

June 15, 2020

UCalgary launches UCeed to fund ventures in the areas of child, general health

The University of Calgary has launched UCeed, a pre-seed and seed funding program aimed at commercializing new technologies and accelerating startup companies at the institution. “The launch of UCeed is a significant milestone for our university,” said UCalgary President Ed McCauley. “UCeed further powers our culture of innovation and drives the cycle from discovery to real-world solutions.” The Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and River Fund at Calgary Foundation have stated that they will provide $10M to the program to commercialize child and general health research projects. UCalgary (AB)

CAUT calls for emergency wage subsidy support for universities, colleges

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is asking the Government of Canada to expand the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to include colleges and universities. Public institutions have not been able to access the wage subsidy to date. “Academics and staff are taking urgent steps to continue to conduct research and provide education. This vital work will be significantly hampered if institutions cannot retain employees and maintain operations throughout this crisis,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. CAUT (Canada)

NIC transforms Interactive Media Department to DIGITAL Design + Development

North Island College has announced that their Interactive Media Department will now be known as DIGITAL Design + Development. Beginning this fall, the five credentials currently offered through Interactive Media will transition to the new name, with revamped curriculum and content. Tthe Advanced DIGITAL Design + Development diploma will have two streams: A design stream focused on creating effective user interfaces and a development stream focused on computer programming for web and mobile app development. “Small classes, a curriculum designed both by industry experts and established educators, the flexibility for students to tailor their courses to their specific goals, and the broad and in-depth spectrum of courses offered, all combine to position the new DIGITAL Design + Development as a leader in technology education,” said NIC DIGITAL Design + Development program coordinator Megan Wilson. NIC (BC)

Western, Bell partner to create 5G research centre

Western University has partnered with Bell Canada to create an advanced 5G research centre that will help shape smarter cities and communications systems, increase drone security, and better manage business continuity. As part of the partnership, Bell will invest $2.7M and deploy 5G network equipment and infrastructure throughout the Western campus, fund research and development initiatives, training opportunities, and technological innovations. "By using campus as a 'living lab' for new technologies like 5G, we're offering a unique opportunity to ask a full range of important questions across disciplines,” said Western Acting Vice-President (Research) Sarah Prichard. BCE | CTV News (ON)

BC provosts issue open letter to students

In an open letter to new and returning students of British Columbia, provosts from the province’s research universities pledge to provide high quality education, continuous support, and a feeling of continuity and community as students prepare for mostly online learning this fall. The letter was signed by the leaders of the University of British Columbia (Vancouver and Okanagan), Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Northern British Columbia, Royal Roads University, and Thompson Rivers University. It addresses several student concerns, including access to academic, career, financial and learning supports. Beyond reassuring BC students, the letter also promises that the online experience will provide “opportunities to explore different forms of communication, to engage with classmates and instructors in new ways, to build bridges to other cultures, and to experience the opportunities that technology can provide in connecting people, issues, and ideas.” UNBC (BC)

Expectation that students fill agriculture labour need sparks debate in NS

Nova Scotia has tens of thousands of students at its universities and colleges, reports The Chronicle Herald, and the province has a dire need for workers in agriculture, but the expectation that students fill those roles has sparked debate. Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay proposed that students not have earnings clawed back if they worked on a farm, fish plant, or other food processing operation. The Chair of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture’s labour committee, Allan Melvin, stated that anyone working at a farm helps, but argued that university students “might make […] poor employees.” Acadia Student Union President Brendan MacNeil also pushed back against the expectation, arguing that: “It is true that there is an unmet supply and demand between agriculture and student labour, but making that request of students who are preparing to be accountants, doctors, teachers, and researchers is akin to asking our farmers to fill job vacancies in call centres.” The Chronicle Herald (NS)

ULethbridge renames building Community Centre for Wellbeing

The University of Lethbridge has renamed its Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN) building the Community Centre for Wellbeing (CCW). The name represents the building’s new function as a multidisciplinary research and health care centre. “The Centre combines research initiatives in health care and health-care practices available to the general public, as well as University researchers, students and staff,” says ULethbridge vice-president (finance and administration) Nancy Walker. ULethbridge (AB)

Quest continues to search for sustainable option

Quest University President George Iwama has issued a statement reflecting on recent events in the world and the future of the university, which began the year in a state of uncertainty. Quest recently received approval of its application for an extension of relief under the federal Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), providing the university with funding and court protection until September, and is continuing to negotiate with proponents to find a sustainable path forward. Iwama added that the university will also soon emerge from a restructuring process, and expressed hope for a future for the university that would hold social justice at the core of its contribution to society and provide a “truly diverse” curriculum delivered by faculty and staff who “offer a mosaic of perspectives.” Quest | Quest (CCAA) (BC)

MUN admin creates support group for graduate studies administrators

Memorial University Director of Graduate Enrolment Services Andrew Kim has launched a weekly remote meeting for people working in graduate studies across the country to strategize supports for students amid the pandemic. In late March, graduate studies administrators met virtually to discuss issues like providing emergency bursaries, switching to remote service delivery, and pivoting to online theses defenses. Conversations have since shifted toward topics like preparing for the fall and helping incoming graduate students navigate the many individual contingencies caused by lockdown restrictions. “I feel more connected and more invigorated in the work that I do just hearing from different people about how much they care about grad students,” said Kim. “I’m happy to keep the lines open as long as people want to join.” University Affairs (NL)

Sask Polytech joins data-focused Project Looking Glass

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has joined the Digital Technology Supercluster to work on Project Looking Glass, an initiative focused on allowing government and industry to use COVID-19 data to assess the benefits and risks of public policy and practice. Joining Queen’s University and numerous industry partners, Sask Polytech will be directly powering Looking Glass’s predictive models that generate insights for municipal decision-makers. “Project Looking Glass will help decision-makers target recovery policies in a way that maximizes positive impact while minimizing health risk, and will do this is in a way that is tailored to the unique circumstances of a particular community,” said Susan Blum, Sask Polytech Associate Vice-President of Applied Research and Innovation. “This is a great opportunity for the Digital Integration Centre of Excellence to use its expertise to help the people of Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Sask Polytech (SK)

UQAM receives $3.9M to create chair in logistics, transport systems

Université du Québec à Montréal professor Teodor Gabriel Crainic has received a total of $3.9M in funding to create the Chaire de recherche-innovation en planification des systèmes intelligents de logistique et de transport (PSILT). The chair has received funds from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Polytechnique Montréal, and ClearDestination. The new chair will be dedicated to better defining, designing, analyzing, planning, and supporting the deployment of the new 4.0 generation of logistics and transport systems. UQAM (QC)