Top Ten

June 19, 2020

NSERC invests nearly $500M in science, engineering funding

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has announced nearly $500M in funding through its Discovery research program to pursue research in a variety of natural sciences and engineering disciplines. The $492M will fund some 2,400 researchers across the country, and includes support for more than 500 early-career researchers. “At NSERC, we take great pride in the Discovery Grants program as our funding flagship,” said NSERC President Alejandro Adem. “It provides a firm research foundation for the research programs undertaken by thousands of exceptional science and engineering investigators—professors, students, postdoctoral fellows and support staff across Canada.” NSERC (National)

StatsCan releases report on pre-COVID international student enrolment

Statistics Canada has released a report on the status of international student enrolment in postsecondary education programs prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that international enrolments have made up an increasingly large share of new enrolments in recent years, especially for programs in the mathematics, computer, and information sciences. China was identified as the main source country of international students for 11 of the 12 broad university program areas in 2017-18, with India being the primary source country in 9 of the 12 areas for colleges. "If international demand does decline this year,” conclude the authors, “this could create delayed demand among international students that may result in compensatory enrolment in the following years, creating more competition for available space even for Canadian residents.” StatsCan | Report (National)

Innovate BC provides $1.2M in funding for BC-based research projects

Innovate BC’s Ignite Program has awarded $1.2M in funding to four BC-based research projects. Each of the four projects will receive $300K in funding to investigate and develop solutions to challenges in sectors such as forestry, medical technology, manufacturing, and agriculture. The funding aims to accelerate commercialization efforts and bring these projects to market within three years. “Despite the ongoing global uncertainty, it’s extremely encouraging to see our local tech companies and researchers continuing to change the world with homegrown innovation,” said Innovate BC President Raghwa Gopal. “Since 2016, the Ignite Program has been a catalyst to help B.C.-based research projects access funding, accelerate commercialization, and transform industries.” Innovate BC (BC)

12 Canadian postsecondary institutions recognized in Greenest Employers competition

Canada’s Top 100 Employers has announced the winners of their 2020 Canada’s Greenest Employers competition which includes 12 postsecondary institutions across the country. The competition aims to recognize the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations by developing exceptional sustainability initiatives. Institutions that made the list include Durham College, Humber College, McGill University, Mohawk College, Red River College, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Canada’s Top 100 (National)

Queen’s receives $1M donation for art preservation tech

Queen’s University has received a $1M donation from the Jarislowsky Foundation to purchase equipment to help preserve important works of art. With the donation, Queen’s will purchase five pieces of equipment that will lead to better presentation strategies, as well as allow historians and students to be able to more accurately analyze materials use in artworks. “The donation will create opportunities for Queen’s students and researchers to better understand the materials and techniques used to create artworks and other cultural objects,” said Queen’s Professor Patricia Smithen.” The equipment will allow us to start new research programs, establish partnerships with leading art museums and collectors, and attract top students to study at Queen’s.” Queen’s (ON)

ACC partners with Pfizer to launch a two-year Power Engineering diploma

Assiniboine Community College has partnered with Pfizer Canada to deliver a two-year Power Engineering diploma program. The program will double student capacity from 16 to 32, bridging students in the college’s existing 4th Class Power Engineering program into the second year to prepare for 3rd Class certification. In Canada, power engineers move through five classes, with a 1st Class Engineer denoting the highest level of education in the occupation. “This innovative partnership between Assiniboine Community College and Pfizer Canada will provide critical resources to allow students to participate in work-integrated learning to pursue careers as power engineers in Manitoba,” said Manitoba Minister of Economic Development and Training Ralph Eichler. ACC (MB)

Trent/Fleming School of Nursing Simulation Hub receives accreditation

The Trent/Fleming School of Nursing’s (TFSON) Trent Simulation Hub has received accreditation through the Society of Simulation in Healthcare. The Hub provides students with hands-on experience in real-world healthcare scenarios, providing an environment that is safe for learners to take risks and explore their nursing practice before working with clients in clinical settings. “Our Hub has always offered a tremendous experiential-learning opportunity for students,” said Hub coordinator Meaghen Regts. “Now we have an internationally recognized accredited simulation program that speaks to our expertise, professionalism, and commitment to the highest standards in teaching and learning.” Trent (ON)

MUN announces June holiday name change due to colonial associations

Memorial University has announced that, effective immediately, the university will reference the June 24th holiday as June Day. Previously known as Discovery Day, MUN’s Vice Presidents Council approved the discontinuance of the holiday name. “The name Discovery Day had a host of unacceptable colonial associations that failed to recognize Indigenous Peoples and historical realities so its continued use was problematic,” explained MUN President Vianne Timmons. All university units have been asked to ensure the holiday name is changed across all mediums. MUN (NL)

Removing barriers to online education: Research

Although conducted in the pre-COVID-19 context, Heather Williams’ and Andrea Sator’s research on removing barriers to online learning has contemporary relevance given the shift to remote delivery formats. Funded by a BCcampus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grant, their research investigates the ways in which students in online learning environments experience inequities in education. “As people who design and deliver online learning,” shared Williams, “we need to critically reflect on our privilege and power and create additional opportunities for more people who are different from ourselves, and our norms, to build more access and inclusion into education.” BCcampus (BC)

WLU scraps external webcam policy for final math exams

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced that they are reversing the requirement for math students to purchase external webcams for exams. WLU interim Provost and Vice-President Maureen Mancuso said that the decision was informed by the many questions and concerns students raised about cost and availability of webcams, privacy, and conflict with the non-tuition fee protocol. "Most critically, the availability of webcams (and the cost of those which are available) is a significant issue," Mancuso said. "The bookstore and ICT conducted an extensive search for webcams and they determined that it would not be possible to guarantee that every student who needed a webcam would have one." CBC (ON)