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News Roundup – Tues, May 12

May 12, 2009
  • CIHR is attempting to step into the breach created by cuts to funding at SSHRC and the plan to tie new SSHRC funding to business-related research. In a statement released last week, Pierre Chartrand, VP-Research at CIHR, pledged the support of CIHR to those researchers whose work may fall under CIHR’s purview:

CIHR is well aware that there are a number of excellent researchers in health related areas currently receiving SSHRC funding that will be affected by these changes. The purpose of this message is to reassure members of this community that excellent funding opportunities for their research continue to exist at CIHR…  We are working closely with our partners at SSHRC to ensure a coordinated approach during this transition period.

  • Why has the Harper government delivered on its pledges in Manitoba to provide funding for the Red River floodway and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, but reneged on the promise to expand and improve the home of the National Microbiology Laboratories and headquarter of the Public Health Agency of Canada? Dan Lett in the Winnipeg Free Press looks at a variety of explanations.
  • The Montreal Gazette and The Toronto Star both have articles today examining science policy. The Gazette piece serves as a basic summary of the developments in research funding policy during the last year or so and provides an outline of the discussion so far It concludes thatthat “money spent on science is money well spent“. The Star piece, by Carol Goar, is mildly critical of Ignatieff’s Liberals slogan, “smart is the new black”, suggesting that while investment in research and knowledge may well be good for the economy, the phrase sounds self-important and elitist. Goar also points out that a long string of PMs have tried to remake Canada as a “knowledge economy” without much success, and that most of these PMs were Liberals. Achieving Ignatieff’s vision is going to take a lot more than trite soundbites.
  • This isn’t going to help our “Innovation System”: Canada venture capital investment hits 6-year low.
  • Finally, congratulations to the five winners of the Killam Prizes, announced yesterday. The recipients were recognized with $100,000 prizes due to their distinguished contributions to Canadian scholarship. The winners are: Philippe Gros, Francois Ricard, and Wagdi G. Habashi of McGill, John P Smol at Queen’s University and Ernest Weinrib at UofT.
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