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THE BLACK HOLE

By DAVID KENT | October 08 2013

Last week was the culmination of an incredible amount of volunteer labour through the CAPS-ACSP group who produced their 2013 Survey of Canadian Postdoctoral Scholars. Done in collaboration with Mitacs, a not-for-profit group aimed at facilitating the transition from academia to industry, the survey emphasizes the need for urgent action at universities and research institutes […]

By JONATHAN THON | September 30 2013

In light of the present circumstances, I thought I would interrupt my ongoing series on federal funding of basic research in Canada and take the opportunity this week to update you on the current status of science funding in the United States amid another looming fiscal showdown. The 2014 fiscal year in the U.S. begins […]

By DAVID KENT | September 23 2013

Citations are the standard benchmark for scientists to assess the impact of their work. Highly cited papers have clearly influenced the field and few would dispute their importance. What citations do not measure, though, is the wider impact of a paper – do industrial projects build from these discoveries, are school children interested in them, […]

By JONATHAN THON | September 16 2013

While the federal government has taken steps to address a stagnant science and technology sector in Canada through a $9-billion annual investment (Economic Action Plan 2013, the Harper Government’s eighth budget since 2006), the focus on a trickle-down approach to research and development by shifting resources toward the private sector misunderstands the pipeline by which […]

By DAVID KENT | September 05 2013

For the past year, I have been sitting on the publications committee for a society-run journal and in the journal’s quest to improve its impact factor (IF), it became clear to me that one of the system’s dark secrets is the “window of IF eligibility.” It single-handedly disadvantages journals whose science stands the test of time […]

By JONATHAN THON | August 27 2013

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2 Dear Mr. Harper, Canada is in the historically unique position to begin reversing the academic brain-drain and establish our nation as a world leader in the knowledge market through our innovation of science and technology. I am a Canadian […]

By DAVID KENT | August 12 2013

Two weeks ago I attended the Flow Cytometry UK Meeting and their keynote speaker was Douglas Kells, the current chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). He gave an inspiring talk about the benefits and utility of open access publication and what the BBSRC (and other funding agencies) were doing to promote […]

By DAVID KENT | July 30 2013

Today, we are very pleased to have a guest blog post from the Humanities and only a touch of familial guilt was used in its procurement. Dr. Eddy Kent, an assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s English and Film Studies department, puts in his two cents on SSHRC’s announcement earlier this month about its […]

By JONATHAN THON | July 22 2013

Last week Dave wrote a post on how universities can begin keeping track of graduate student and postdoctoral fellow outcomes. With blogs such as “100 reasons not to go to graduate school” popping up online, as well as many articles increasingly critical of the state of higher education, it warrants that prospective students think long […]

By DAVID KENT | July 16 2013

Last month, I found the best “come to my lab” sales pitch. After my jaw was set back into place at the numbers, I soon realized the broader implications of such a web page and its power as a general tool for academics. It takes virtually no effort to create and is something that every […]

By DAVID KENT | July 09 2013

Our readers might be interested to know that the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars initiated and completed its 2013 survey of Canadian postdocs and had an incredible 1,800 responses. The survey data is currently being analyzed and compiled and we’ll be very excited to read and write about the results when they become available. From […]

By JONATHAN THON | June 26 2013

Christian Paradis, the minister of Industry and State (Agriculture) recently announced that in response to the continuing challenges facing the global economy, the Canadian government has elected to shift the National Research Council of Canada’s research priorities toward delivering support and services driven by market and industry demand. This sentiment was echoed by Gary Goodyear, […]

By DAVID KENT | June 17 2013

When I was in the early stages of my undergraduate degree, I thought long and hard about doing an MBA in combination with science. It seemed to me that the sector was underdeveloped in Canada and good science training was going to be essential to a successful career. I was motivated to go out and create […]

By JONATHAN THON | June 10 2013

It is not news that the National Institutes of Health in the United States have faced extraordinary budgetary uncertainties this year as a result of an incredibly fluid fiscal situation. As the sequestration here continues to detrimentally impact American science, I thought I would take this opportunity to hold up the developing funding situation in […]

By DAVID KENT | June 05 2013

People often ask me what I would do if I were in charge of fellowships for Canadian trainees. In response, I will often slip into my usual refrain of making investment in people the basic tenet of any fellowship program. As it currently stands, the career track for academics artificially selects for those that can […]

By JONATHAN THON | May 24 2013

The recent Jumpstart Our Business Act, which U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law in March, allows crowdfunding to be used to sell shares to the public. While there are strict limits to how much “unsophisticated investors” will be allowed to commit to a single company, companies will be able to sell shares to individual […]

By DAVID KENT | May 13 2013

A little while back I wrote a blog post called “Shorter PhDs and more active thesis committees,” which proposed that PhD programs finish in 4 to 5 years and that thesis committees take a more active role in the future career options of their students. The formal degree structure permits such suggestions and their broad application, […]

By JONATHAN THON | May 06 2013

Investment opportunities such as those provided by crowdfunding websites inevitably carry risks, and the major issue raised in the fallout of America’s recent JOBS Act and reiterated in response to my last article by one of our own readers, has been the unnecessary and wide-ranging exposure of public investors to scam artists. Indeed, investment platforms […]

By DAVID KENT | April 29 2013

Before we get to today’s post, a final reminder for postdoctoral fellows to help inform the policy that governs their status, salaries and future opportunities in Canada by filling out the CAPS postdoctoral survey. Earlier this month, I wrote a UA news article on its importance and encourage you all to read through it and forward to […]

By JONATHAN THON | April 22 2013

As tighter budgets and struggling economies drive a need for new sources of funding, the internet is proving to be invaluable in raising awareness of projects across previously closed regional and national boundaries. A potentially game-changing evolution of social media is the very recent emergence of crowd funding for basic research. Crowd funding is the […]