Today's Top Ten

June 24, 2016

Canada announces over $465M for fundamental research

On behalf of the Government of Canada, Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan has announced over $465M in funding for fundamental research in the form of over 4,000 NSERC awards. The funding will be divided across several initiatives: $341M will go towards the Discovery Grants Program to support research programs; $82M will go towards Scholarship and Fellowships; $26M will be put towards Research Tools and Instruments Grants to permit the purchase of new research equipment; and $15M will be put towards the Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program. An additional $860K will reportedly go towards Discovery Development Grants for 43 researchers at small universities. “Our government is committed to investing in these future research leaders and in the cutting-edge ideas that will lead Canada to social and economic growth for a better tomorrow,” said Duncan. NSERC

Steven Galloway no longer employed at UBC

Author and former UBC Professor Steven Galloway is reportedly no longer employed at the University of British Columbia after an investigation into allegations of misconduct. UBC Vice-President of External Relations Philip Steenkamp released a written statement explaining that, following an investigation and a meeting between Interim UBC President Martha Piper and Galloway, “the president concluded that there was a record of misconduct that resulted in an irreparable breach of the trust placed in faculty members by the university, its students and the general public.” Marsha Lederman of the Globe and Mail reports that the faculty association maintains that all but one of the allegations against Galloway were not substantiated. Globe and Mail | Vancouver Sun | CTV News (CP)

Nova Scotia signs MOU with 10 universities emphasizing quality, accessibility, sustainability in sector

Nova Scotia and the province’s 10 universities have signed a four-year MOU agreeing to maintain a high-quality, accessible, and sustainable university sector. The MOU includes improved student supports, guidelines for executive compensation, and review processes around auxiliary and ancillary fees with students. It also includes outlines for measures and efforts such as university funding and tuition policies, transparency and accountability, educational and quality measures, and accessibility. All universities are required under the MOU to have specific sexual violence policies, which the NS release explains “must be renewed every three years through an inclusive process.” CBC reports that the Canadian Federation of Students in NS has released a statement criticizing the provincial funding caps and tuition cap changes contained in the memorandum. NS | CBC | CFS

McGill receives $4M donation towards intellectual disabilities research

The Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University has received a $4M donation from the Sandra and Alain Bouchard Foundation to support groundbreaking research on intellectual disabilities. The donation, establishing the Sandra and Alain Bouchard Intellectual Disability Research Program, will allow researchers at the MNI to collaborate with Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Ste-Justine to collect brain imaging, clinical, demographic, genetic, and cellular data and samples from patients living with intellectual disabilities, creating a new resource for understanding ID patients and creating toolkits for scientists to test new therapies. The Gazette deems the donation “one of the largest ever for research in the field.” McGill | Montreal Gazette

Provinces, territories see boost in summer job funding for students

Students in New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland & Labrador, and all three Canadian territories will see a significant increase in the number of summer job opportunities available this year, according to a new series of federal releases. CBC reports that NB saw a 36% increase in the number of jobs approved for funding in 2016 through the Canada Summer Jobs program, while Newfoundland & Labrador expects 300 to 400 new jobs. PEI saw a 64% increase; and the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut will see a 231% increase in opportunities. “I have said it before and I am proud to say it again, the Canada Summer Jobs program works for Canada’s youth,” said MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. NB | PEI | NL | Territories

Canada needs to create more “globally competent” graduates, says Universities Canada

“Business leaders want to hire graduates with international skills and perspectives, who are comfortable working across languages and cultures,” says Universities Canada President Paul Davidson. Yet challenges remain for the more than 80% of Canadian universities who have “internationalization” as part of their strategic plans. Recent data shows that only 3% of Canadian university students study abroad, and the article details some of the efforts that Canadian schools are making to help boost these participation rates. Earlier this year, Academica surveyed its StudentVu panel to learn more about students’ attitudes toward the barriers to study abroad. Globe and Mail

uLethbridge signs agreements with Japanese institutions

The University of Lethbridge has signed agreements with two Japanese institutions, extending a collaboration with Hokkai-Gakuen University and creating a new dual degree program with Gakushuin Women’s College. The agreements with Hokkai-Gakuen included the extension of the faculty exchange and summer student exchange programs, as well as the establishment of a broad collaborative agreement. The dual degree program partnership with Gakushuin is being piloted through the Faculty of Arts & Science at uLethbridge, and it will see students pursue coordinated studies at both institutions, spending a minimum of three semesters at each institution as full-time students, with the end goal of earning a degree from both schools. uLethbridge

Schools should focus on student experience, not prestige in branding, says new US study

Universities should focus one creating a “personal connection” with students instead of emphasizing prestige to bolster enrolment, according to a new US study. Titled “The role of brand attachment strength in higher education,” the report argues that most schools “focus too much on keeping the students satisfied [in some areas], for example by focusing on degree quality and staff” when they should in fact be appeal to overall student experience and lifestyle. Times Higher Education reports that one of the report’s key findings is that the stronger a student felt attached to a school, the more difficult it is for them to be satisfied. The reason for this, the report concludes, is that schools have difficulty responding to the fact that “what satisfies a student in the first year may not satisfy them in the third year” and changing their messaging accordingly. Times Higher Education | Report

RRC, MITT to enhance pathways, programming with MOU

Red River College and the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology have signed an MOU that commits the schools to pursuing partnerships and sharing resources. An RRC release states that the new agreement will seek to expand cross-institutional programs, services, and pathways. “Not only will today’s commitment support our work in driving our province’s skilled trades agenda, but it will put us in a position to collaborate on initiatives that help all students succeed, including Indigenous, newcomer and international students,” said RRC President Paul Vogt. MITT President Paul Holden added that “we have to continue to encourage these forms of agreements across the post-secondary system [… because] students need the opportunity to take what they have learned and see it recognized as they pursue advanced studies in other institutions in Manitoba.” RRC | MITT | Winnipeg Free Press

UCalgary launches $1.5M Chair in Equine Sports Medicine

The University of Calgary has established a new $1.5M research chair in Equine Sports Medicine. According to a UCalgary release, the chair will be hosted by the university’s Faculty of Medicine and will seek to benefit and inspire the equine sport industry, “from show jumpers and race horses to Western pleasure and rodeo horses and draft horses.” The funding will come from a combination of sources that include the Calgary Stampede, the Moore Equine Veterinary Centre, and the UCalgary Faculty of Medicine. “It's very important for the horse community to be at the cutting edge of research so it has direct access to new discoveries to better take care of horses and improve their health,” says Inaugural Chair Renaud Léguillette. UCalgary | Calgary Herald