Research Funding Round-up
I’ve been a little remiss about posting regularly these last few weeks. Professional commitments (grant season) and personal changes (moving the family to a new city) mean that I have collected a number of interesting tidbits that I’ve not yet posted. Today’s round-up brings all of them to your attention at once!
- No election. The Conservatives were placed in the awkward position of being propped up by “socialists and separatists”, but the big winner seems to have been Michael Ignatieff, who finally got to play the opposition by actually opposing something. Fantastic play-by-play commentary of the confidence vote by Kady O’Malley of Maclean’s (“lie back and think of home renos” – hilarious; thanks to @ottawaspends for the link). This means the election won’t derail the continuing discussion about the role of research and academia in the innovation economy, but also means the community needs to keep working hard to get the politicians’ attention.
- G5 university “debate” continues to simmer. Commentary by presidents of Brock University (the idea is “wrongheaded”, “dangerous”, and a potential “national disaster”) and University of Windsor (“an insult”, “arrogant”). Maclean’s, in a spirit of journalistic fairness, has run articles about the reactions from small (“but smart“!) schools and provincial education ministers. The consensus (among those who aren’t leaders of the G5, at least) seems to be that the idea is not only wrong but really, really insulting. These schools have taken personal offence (insofar as a school can be personal). Just as the academic with a small, focused research lab may chafe at the semi-celebrity of the big, new (and well-funded) genomics lab, the small schools are justifiably upset by the perceived bullying by the big kids on the block. The G5 idea is dead.
- The organizers of the upcoming Science Policy Conference have (not coincidentally, I guess) called for a forum on Canadian Science Policy. They hope the conference will be the first step towards better advocacy for strong science policy, and have designed a strong conference to help start the process. I’m looking forward to it.
- Canada’s #1 in academic R&D. Our Minister of Science, etc. Gary Goodyear proudly trumpeted Canada’s leadership among G7 countries in spending on higher-education R&D, according to the StatsCan report I referenced last week. The federal government’s support increased almost 10% from the previous year, and was due to the spending announced in 2007 as part of the government’s science strategy.
- I’m tweeting on Twitter. Apparently, blogging is totally 2007, and tweets are the future of the internet. I’m not totally sure I get it, but I’ve started posting interesting news and links through my twitter feed. I like that I can highlight items that might not be worth a daily blog post, but are still interesting. Check it out if you’re twittering.