Top Ten

October 5, 2022

UBC receives $11.1M in federal funding for biotechnology projects

The University of British Columbia will receive $11.1M in funding from the Government of Canada’s Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada to conduct two major research projects focused on biotechnology. The first project will receive $3.5M to improve the delivery techniques for mRNA vaccines and nanomedicines, while the second project will receive over $7.68M to study and predict potential COVID-19 variants and create mRNA vaccines for them. “With the generous support of the Government of Canada through PacifiCan announced today, our researchers will be able to help development treatments for new COVID-19 variants and improve the efficacy of mRNA vaccines and other therapeutics for a wide range of diseases,” said UBC President Santa J Ono. Canada (1) | Canada (2) (BC)

YorkU launches Post-Graduate Certificate in Offensive Cyber Security

York University’s School of Continuing Studies has launched a Post-Graduate Certificate in Offensive Cyber Security, which it says is the first of its kind to be offered at a postsecondary institution in Canada. The program will teach students how to use offensive cybersecurity to protect companies against cyber-attacks. Students will learn skills such as penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, and reporting through hands-on learning, as well as the soft skills that are necessary to thrive in the workplace. YorkU has also partnered with Offensive Security to further support students; the program’s curriculum aligns with the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) designation and students will have access to Offensive Security’s labs and courses. YorkU (ON)

Research should be rewarded for being useful rather than novel: Opinion

In a recent article for Nature, Melissa Flagg argues that research must be rewarded for its utility rather than its novelty. Many countries have built research pipelines that reward “flashy” research that does not lead toward tangible benefits, Flagg writes, rather than focusing on research that solves pressing issues. To address this, academia must entice researchers to work toward practical solutions and take the necessary steps to reward research that benefits people, even if it does not lead to profit. Flagg makes several recommendations to this end, including expanding metrics to include real-world change, diversifying metrics, ensuring proposals that work toward broader impacts include key performance indicators, and ensuring that impact statements on federally funded grants are searchable. Nature (Editorial)

AlgomaU introduces new brand, will keep thunderbird symbol

Algoma University has announced that it has introduced a new brand, which will include new messaging and creative campaigns. The new branding was developed in consultation with stakeholder groups and includes three pillars: intimate and personal; cross-cultural leadership; and purpose-driven impact. The Sault Star reports that AlgomaU will continue to keep the thunderbird symbol, which Director of Communications Brian Leahy described as “the heart of the Algoma University Brand.” The symbol was adopted from pictographs at Agawa Bay and serves as a reminder of the university’s connections and responsibilities to Indigenous communities. The University will also create a new Strategic Plan this year to provide guidance beyond 2023. AlgomaU | Sault Star (ON)

NB to move 10 medical seats from Memorial to Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick program

The Government of New Brunswick has announced that it will be moving 10 medical seats from Memorial University to the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick program. The move is expected to make retention easier, as physicians are more likely to stay in the province where they were trained. NB also expects to save money through the move, and the savings and new funds will be reinvested into additional medical seats for NB students. By Fall 2023, 64 of 70 seats will be in NB. CBC | NB (NB)

Faculty union files group grievance against Fanshawe to restore mask mandate

The Fanshawe College Faculty Union has filed a group grievance against Fanshawe College in an effort to push the college to restore its mask mandate on campus. Fanshawe lifted mask mandates for the Fall semester, but faculty members are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom and consequences for vulnerable family members. OPSEU Local 110 President Mark Feltham said that the college is obligated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to “take steps reasonable in the circumstances to protect employees” regardless of whether there is a provincial mandate in place. Fanshawe must schedule a meeting within two weeks of the filing of the grievance. London Free Press | Global News | Norfolk Today (ON)

CNA, IOC launch program to upskill maintenance electricians

The College of the North Atlantic and the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) have launched a new program that will upskill maintenance electricians so that they are up to date on mining operations and technology. The 11-week program includes theory and practical exercises in a lab that simulates IOC’s work environment. It is delivered by CNA’s Customized & Continuous Learning department and sponsored by IOC. “[W]e need to ensure that, with specialized training, workers possess the appropriate skillsets and knowledge to advance in their fields and within the company,” said CNA President Liz Kidd. “This is an exciting time for the mining sector, and CNA is poised to support the academic and hands-on needs of IOC so they continue to be innovative and competitive.” CNA (NL)

Seneca opens Service Hub to facilitate access to student services

Seneca College has opened a new Service Hub, which will provide students with a centralized location where they can seek services, supports, and information. The Service Hub reportedly takes a first-of-its-kind approach to providing student support on topics such as registration, fees, career planning, and counselling through nine different channels including web, social media, apps, and on-site support. “[The Service Hub] will become the first stop for answers, saving time and ensuring the latest information is always provided,” said Seneca VP, Strategy and Brand Renata D’Innocenzo. “[Its] extensive knowledgebase frees up our specialists to support students directly and allows for more meaningful in-person conversations when they are on campus or virtually.” Seneca | Newswire (ON)

Victoriaville releases new strategic plan with $1M set aside for planning initiatives

Cégep de Victoriaville has released a new strategic plan for 2022-2027 and has set aside almost $1M to support new strategic planning initiatives. The plan has three key focuses – mobiliser, inspirer, et developer (mobilize, inspire, and develop) – and is built around the values of success, humanism, surpassing oneself, innovation, and sustainable development. The cégep’s plans include completing a greenhouse gas emissions audit, developing new student accommodations, attracting more international students, and renovating spaces to be bright and versatile. Other projects include increasing student and staff diversity through recruitment and supporting students with learning challenges. La Nouvelle (QC)

Faculty need equal sabbatical opportunities: Opinion

Faculty around the world should be given equal sabbatical opportunities, writes Srila Roy, but there are currently distinct differences between the opportunities available to those in the Global South and in the North. Roy writes that sabbaticals are meant to provide scholars with space to “dream differently,” but the most desirable opportunities tend to occur in and be restricted to those in the North by formal criteria or informal networks. Even when a scholar from the Global South successfully lands an international opportunity, they face a variety of obstacles such as visa regimes and border controls, expenses and challenges with deteriorating value of currencies, and other factors. Roy writes that sabbatical opportunities should be “equally within the reach” of all scholars to help nourish them and advance their careers. Times Higher Ed (Editorial)