Category Archives: R&D Policy

A research community at the mercy of a leaderless NSERC  

The bureaucrats of a leaderless NSERC have extended the 5-year grants of three research institutes by two years. This amounts to assigning awards exceeding $7,500,000. They have done so without peer review and against the wishes of one of their … Continue reading

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Academic publishing in the time of sanctions and boycotts

On December 7th, the academic publisher Taylor & Francis informed two authors that they are unable to publish their mathematical research paper, even though it had been accepted by the editorial board of one of its journals two years after submission … Continue reading

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When the Walls of Governance Come Crumbling Down

“We are deeply disappointed that Janis Sarra has had to step down as Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies … Like her, we will all work to secure the academic independence of the Institute and its programs, … Continue reading

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Accountability and Governance at UBC: Budget

By Professor Mark Thomson Mac Lean Over the past months I have become increasingly concerned about the disparity between UBC’s growing tuition revenues and enormous budget surpluses, and the struggles that many academic departments face in meeting their teaching and … Continue reading

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NSERC corrects a mistake, but many remain unaddressed

No, I am not talking about the sudden and probably more consequential recent change in NSERC’s leadership, but about an accounting mistake. Yes, it looks minor, but it speaks volume. As I mentioned in a previous post, I resigned last … Continue reading

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Is the BIRS programme multiple disciplinary enough for NSERC?

The programs of the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in Banff and Oaxaca are supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT),  and the … Continue reading

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Reboot NSERC by engaging and empowering the researchers it serves

I described in a previous post some of the impediments to NSERC’s ability to optimize government’s investments in support of scientific research and innovation. Namely, how its rigid and insular operational structure hinders its capabilities to partner internationally; to coordinate … Continue reading

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Overhauling NSERC is a long overdue national priority (I)

With an annual budget of $1.1 billion, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the agency through which the federal government funds advanced post-secondary research in science and engineering. Thousands of Canadian researchers rely on it, … Continue reading

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Fettering unfettered research funding: The NSERC ways

Last week, I resigned from a committee that is supposed to liaise between NSERC and Canada’s Mathematics and Statistics communities. The reason? An unsettling lack of transparency, shoddy consultation, and poor decision-making by NSERC’s management in handling recent government budget … Continue reading

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Statistical science is everywhere

By Professor Nancy Reid, OC, FRSC On Saturday, April 7, The Globe and Mail published a long article on advances in counselling and therapy around mental health—“Rethinking therapy: how 45 questions can revolutionize mental health”. The punch line? A new … Continue reading

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The Problem with Naylor’s Panel Report

The report of Naylor’s panel reviewing Canadian Science is out. It is an incredibly eloquent “plaidoyer” for basic research both in terms of its role, past and present, in the advancement of society. It is of course music to the ears … Continue reading

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Budget 2017, Naylor’s review, and the Mathematical Sciences in Canada

James Colliander, Director of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS)  Nassif Ghoussoub, Director of the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) Ian Hambleton, Director of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences (Fields) Luc Vinet, Directeur du Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (CRM) The … Continue reading

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Canada has two ministers of Science, yet Budget 2017 barely mentions Science

University researchers across Canada are stunned and puzzled. What happened to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals promises to undo the damage that the Harper years inflicted on the nation’s research capacity? The Liberals campaigned to end the “war on Science,” yet they … Continue reading

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Interview with a mathematician: Nassif Ghoussoub

Originally posted on The Intrepid Mathematician:
Nassif Ghoussoub is the founder and current director of the Banff International Research Station, the founding director of the Pacific Institute of Mathematics, and the co-founder of MITACS NCE. On top of all that,…

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About Naylor’s panel roundtable regarding Big Science in a Canadian Context

For those not paying attention, David Naylor is leading “Canada’s Fundamental Science Review Panel” which is looking at the state of fundamental science in Canada. Last week, I had a chance to participate at a roundtable of experts in Calgary, … Continue reading

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The Submission of BIRS and Canada’s Mathematical Sciences Institutes to Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

The Mathematical Sciences are the foundation of any advanced research ecosystem, and Canada’s mathematical sciences institutes have been instrumental in supporting this ecosystem. They do so by providing scientific leadership, by developing coherent national strategies for mathematical and statistical discovery … Continue reading

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Some unedited thoughts for Canada’s fundamental science review panel

The Government bureaucracy seems to be buckling under the sheer number of reviews that the liberal government is currently conducting. One of them is focused on “determining the strengths of our current arrangements and pinpointing gaps and bottlenecks in Canada’s … Continue reading

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Reform(atting) the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – a living autopsy

Last year, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), which is the primary federal funding agency of health research in Canada, embarked on a bold and wide-ranging series of reforms that change virtually every aspect of how health research funding … Continue reading

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Why Canada’s research granting councils mean so little to this government’s agenda

NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, Canada’s main granting agencies in support of university research are not doing well. Their total absence from Budget 2015 is only one of many symptoms indicating how tired they are. Tired are their ways in trying … Continue reading

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UBC’s free fall in university rankings

University rankings may be questionable. Their evaluation criteria may be flawed or unrepresentative. They may be based on false or manipulated data provided by some institutions. They can even, occasionally, be bought. But the reality is that they do matter. … Continue reading

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