Category Archives: R&D Policy

Now that Government has listened to the research community, will NSERC?

“I’m in Ottawa at the moment at the NSERC Discovery Grant competition – it’s particularly disturbing,” wrote one colleague from engineering, confirming again that the budget pressure on NSERC’s Discovery Grant (DG) program is becoming untenable. Another Evaluation Group (EG) … Continue reading

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Budget 2014 is nothing short of a paradigm shift for Canada’s research and innovation

The substantial investment in university research that the Canadian government announced today is not the only story in Budget 2014. A bigger story may be the pivotal moment and the policy shift that it represents for this government on a … Continue reading

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A mathematician at the Global Business Forum

I am just back from the Global Business Forum in Banff. Every year, three remarkable people expend Herculean efforts to oversee the organization of this high-profile gathering. The Forum is sometimes referred to as the “Davos” of the energy industry. It … Continue reading

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Lousy reporting targets Canada’s higher education

“An early contender for the worst article of the back-to-school period,” was Alex Usher’s reaction upon coming across an article by Douglas Todd in the Vancouver Sun titled “The pros and cons of foreign students.” Melonie Fullick’s reaction was closer to mine. … Continue reading

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“Hard to imagine such a speech made here by any of our elected officials”

That’s what Paul, my science policy soulmate, wrote me recently. He was referring to a speech by Elizabeth Truss, the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education, addressed to the International Student Science Fair. I am reproducing it below for … Continue reading

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Contested science policies vs. Senate scandals: the battle for the limelight

The Canadian twitter world has been split in the last couple of days. You have of course the Duffy-Brazeau-Harb-Wallen-Wright-Perrin saga filling the trend boxes. But then, you have the story of the Tories’ problem with science, be it defunding, muzzling, … Continue reading

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The not-so-secret war between the universities and community colleges

The folks of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) may have entered the budget lockup in a sunny mood, but they can’t be now, in spite of their rosy post-budget announcements. The colleges on the other hand … Continue reading

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NSERC: Time to press the “reset” button on its relations with government and the scientific community

There is no doubt that Suzanne Fortier bears a big responsibility for the unprecedented changes to the landscape of government support to university sponsored research and innovation. But it is hard to believe that she is solely responsible for this major … Continue reading

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NSERC: Time to press the “reset” button on the mandate

Cathleen Crudden, President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) has already hinted at it in her blog post on the occasion of Suzanne Fortier’s exit from NSERC. “Choosing her successor will be a critical task. With academic and industrial researchers calling for more funding … Continue reading

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Suzanne Fortier’s last salvo

You all heard the news by now, and I got more than my share of phone calls, emails and tweets informing me about it. Suzanne Fortier is to become the 17th Principal and Vice-Chancellor (President) of McGill University, effective early September, … Continue reading

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“Mathematics is alive and well, but living under different names”

That was the assessment of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) back in 1996. “This comment is still apropos,” they wrote in their latest report of 2012. “Although the mathematical sciences are pervasive, they are often invoked without an explicit awareness … Continue reading

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Will BIRS bring CIFAR and the mathematical sciences together?

My inbox started filling up at an unusual speed. The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) had just announced a partnership with The Banff Centre (TBC). “The two institutions are teaming up to create a physical home for CIFAR, with the … Continue reading

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Re-allocation among disciplines at NSERC: Bibliometrics or a deliberative process?

Five years ago, NSERC’s officials rightly challenged the status quo by upholding, “that the level of a grant should be commensurate with merit, regardless of the applicant’s granting history with NSERC.” They don’t however seem to be in a hurry to tackle the equally … Continue reading

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The “Canada Excellence Research Chairs” program is a bad idea

“Perhaps some of the new boutique programs or politicized one-offs so beloved by governments will enable importation of a current or soon-to-be Nobel laureate. One can dimly imagine the cacophony of misguided self-congratulation that would accompany that ersatz milestone. In reality, the generation of a succession of … Continue reading

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NSERC, Math, Stats, Innovation and all that jazz

Last weekend, representatives of Canada’s mathematical and statistical sciences community presented NSERC’s President, Suzanne Fortier, with a “Long Range Plan.” Entitled Solutions for a Complex Age, the report – commissioned by NSERC – is the result of two years of consultations and deliberations under … Continue reading

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After the students’ riots: “Nous, chercheurs et techniciens québécois …”

What do you expect the mood to be when you are sharing a banquet table with the Rector of UQAM, the President of Bishop, the former Rector of U. Montréal, a director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQNT), and the President … Continue reading

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“Embedded” in Ottawa

I am getting to understand the risks (and rewards) of “embedded journalism.”  Less than 24 hours into my trip to Ottawa, I started to feel uncharacteristically mollified, dangerously neutralized, and ridiculously guilty. Ever since I met with Gary Goodyear, Minister … Continue reading

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“We, the researchers in Europe … “

41,432 European researchers have already signed the following petition for the attention of the EU heads of state or government –1616 of them in the last hour alone. This follows the open letter of 42 European Nobel Laureates and 5 Fields … Continue reading

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NSERC president explains recent program decisions and agency’s evolution

We are grateful to “RE$EARCH MONEY” for granting “Piece of Mind” the permission to post the following exclusive interview they have recently conducted with the President of NSERC, Suzanne Fortier. The original article is accessible to “RE$EARCH MONEY” subscribers on the … Continue reading

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Canada’s young scholars to contend with NSERC’s new dirigisme

NSERC has finally responded to the multiple articles, blogs and editorials criticizing the declining success rate in its postdoctoral fellowship program. It is unfortunate that they chose to do so through a media outlet that is sitting behind a pay … Continue reading

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