Top Ten

June 2, 2021

Canada announces $14.5M in NFRF funding for innovative research

The Government of Canada has announced that it is providing $14.5M in funding through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2020 Exploration competition to 117 high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research projects. The funding supports projects in social, cultural, economic, health-related, or technological areas that use new perspectives and innovative methods to solve problems. “Research that takes great risks advances the way we think about the issues that impact Canadians,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “The Government of Canada is supporting researchers who are exploring bold new directions that could change lives and position Canada at the forefront of global research and innovation.” NewsWire | Canada | SSHRC-CRSH (Recipients) (Canada)

Health researchers need to publicly publish results through “open science”: Opinion

Health researchers should publicly publish their results by using “open science” so that the public and other researchers can access important health information, writes Dr Kelly Cobey of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. The author explains that research results are sometimes not shared or are paywalled. Cobey explains that this creates a barrier to researchers and members of the public who are interested in or who would benefit from the findings. The author notes that Canada’s funding agencies were not among the “Coalition S,” which would see funded papers made publicly available, and does not keep a public record of funded studies that meet the requirements of being publicly accessible. “The pandemic has allowed us to reflect on these broad and longstanding issues with the status quo of our scientific system,” writes Cobey. “We need research policies that value research quality and that incentivize open science.” Ottawa Citizen (Editorial)

Universities launch initiatives, raise flags for Pride month

Institutions across Ontario are preparing for Pride month through a variety of initiatives including events, workshops, flag raising, and sharing stories. The University of Guelph has curated an online collection of literature on queer bodies and is launching a well-being workshop series and an Identity and Employment workshop for LGBTQ2IA+ students. King’s University College has raised the Progress Pride Flag for the first time to signify openness and support for LGBTQ2S+ students, but has raised the flag at half-mast out of respect for the lives of the 215 children at the Kamloops residential school. Wilfrid Laurier University has invited students to an exclusive discussion with Jonathan Van Ness, a host of the Netflix show Queer Eye, while the University of Toronto's events include the second annual Pride Pitch and the Rainbow Tie Celebration. Carleton University has shared the story of Philip Macho Commonda, a two-spirit Algonquin and Carleton’s Algonquin Community Liaison Officer, who describes the experience of trailblazing for the younger 2SLGBTQ+ generation. U of T | UoGuelph | King's (1) | King's (2) | WLU | Carleton(ON)

House of Commons passes Motion 38 creating standing committee on science, research

The House of Commons recently agreed to Motion 38, a private member motion introduced by MP Kirsty Duncan and seconded by MPs Elizabeth May and Paul Manly. The motion will see the creation of a standing committee on Science and Research and sees the House recognize “that science and research are of critical importance to all Canadians,” recognize that the importance of science and research has increased in the face of increasing challenges, and affirm the House’s “commitment to science, research, and evidence-based decision-making.” CAUT issued a statement in support of the Motion as a move to ensure “a robust, sustainable Canadian research system.” House of Commons | CAUT (National)

Laurentian considers monetization of real estate holdings

Northern Ontario Business reports that Laurentian University is considering how it can “monetize” its real estate holdings. The article says that Laurentian’s possible next moves could include the “monetization” of “excess assets,” reviewing its third-party leases in comparison with market lease rates, and selling its residences to a campus residence operator. The community has responded with concern to the possible loss of Laurentian green spaces and properties. Professor John Gunn, who is the director of Laurentian’s Vale Living with Lakes Centre, has noted that the centre, which was a community investment, may be seen as something Laurentian can sell. “I am concerned that the creditors would turn their attention to selling lakeshore property as well,” said Gunn. “But there’s not much we can do if we lose that financial battle.” Northern Ontario Business | CBC (ON)

CNA launches Enterprise Web Development Diploma program

The College of the North Atlantic has announced that it is launching the Enterprise Web Development Diploma program. The two-year program will combine business and information technology skills to train students in how to use customer and content management systems, social media, and enterprise resource planning to develop secure transaction-based websites. Students will also complete a seven-week work exposure component to acquire workplace experience. “We know the pandemic has caused a shift in consumers’ habits and needs as in-person experiences were restricted,” said Stephen Warren, Dean of CNA’s School of Business and Information Technology. “This, in turn, needed to be reflected in today’s enterprises. Graduates of this program will be equipped with vital professional and digital skills that will help businesses continue operating in all sectors.” CNA (NL)

UNBC board chair dismissed by BC over “racist and discriminatory comments”

The University of Northern British Columbia has announced that board chair Aaron Ekman has been dismissed. Prince George Citizen says that UNBC did not give a reason for relieving Ekman of his duties, and CBC reports that Ekman has stated on Twitter that he does not know why he was removed from his role. The Government of British Columbia reportedly stated that Ekman was removed because of “racist and discriminatory comments.” “UNBC is firmly committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion,” reads a statement from UNBC. “The University community has come together frequently over the past year to confront and discuss issues of race, discrimination and systemic inequalities; comments that hinder those important conversations are contrary to the University’s values.” UNBC | CBC | Prince George Citizen (BC)

MUN announces tuition increase in response to provincial budget cuts

Memorial University has announced that it will be increasing tuition in response to the reductions in the recently announced budget from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to cuts, the $68M tuition fee revenue offset used to maintain MUN’s tuition freeze will reportedly be phased out over the course of five years. While MUN has said that tuition will not change for the 2021-22 academic year, the university will bring a proposal to the Board of Regents this summer regarding changes for September 2022. MUN is also temporarily not allowed to expand its campus while the institution and provincial government work to transition MUN to greater autonomy. CBC states that the pause could impact the Labrador School of Arctic and Sub-Arctic Studies. CBC | MUN (NL)

Portage launches Barber Certificate Program

Portage College has announced that it is launching a Barber Certificate program. Students will learn technical knowledge such as how to perform basic to advanced cuts using fades, shaves, styling, and beard design, and will learn skills needed for salon operations. After completing the 16-week program, which is approved by Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT), students can choose to continue at Portage in the Hairstyling program for an additional semester. Barber Certificate students are required to complete 1,450 hours of on-the-job training and must pass the AIT exams to become fully certified barbers. Portage says that this is the first Barber Certificate program in Alberta. Portage (AB)

Adapting institutional harassment policies to include digital threats: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions need to ensure that their harassment policies have been adequately adapted to address issues that arise within the digital realm, write Jaigris Hodson, Chandell Gosse, and George Veletsianos of Royal Roads University. The authors explain that while universities usually have policies to protect their community members from harassment by members of the same institution on institutional platforms, these policies need updating to ensure they adequately cover online abuse and harassment from perpetrators who may be unknown, anonymous, or not a part of the institution. The authors encourage institutions to provide support through their IT departments, revise harassment policies, and create procedural frameworks to protect members from online harassment. The Conversation (Editorial)