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THE BLACK HOLE

By DAVID KENT | May 28 2012

Maybe I’m getting old, but after reflecting on the recent uprising of Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competitions across the world and the accompanying bravado, I feel that we are drifting far away from the core components of academic training. Started in 2006 at the University of Queensland, the 3MT idea is very simple.  You get […]

By JONATHAN THON | May 17 2012

Scientific research is a marathon, and if we fall behind now, while we are leaders in health innovation, the cost of recovering our position, in light of emerging economies with which we compete, will become progressively more expensive. Sustained increases in National Institutes of Health and Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding are critical to […]

By DAVID KENT | May 10 2012

We’ve all been told about the value of networks with adages like “It’s not what you know, but who you know”, but I’d never stopped to think about this outside of meeting individual people. While I’m certainly not denying the value of knowing the right person in the right place at the right time, I want […]

By JONATHAN THON | May 04 2012

It falls to scientists to speak up in support of federally funding research and in this third installment of a four-part series, I explore the economic cost of doing research in a cash-strapped system and the burden this is placing on young investigators. To bring yourself up to speed, installements 1 and 2 are referenced […]

By DAVID KENT | May 02 2012

Over the past 15 years, there has been an enormous shift in the human resources completing scientific research.  The training period has lengthened significantly and adjustments must be made to address the growing concerns of young scientists.  Many individuals, who do not have permanent positions, share a unique set of experiences and challenges that need to be […]

By DAVID KENT | April 24 2012

As I’ve mentioned on here before – if you are involved in health research in Canada, you should read the CIHR’s proposed changes to its granting system.  This is a chance to assess and give your opinion before things are set in stone.  I can appreciate that it is long and somewhat tedious in sections, […]

By DAVID KENT | April 13 2012

Today’s post is actually two mini-posts – one on CIHR’s response to Budget 2012 and the other on the announcement of their Science Policy Fellowship program. Response to Budget 2012 Earlier this month, CIHR President Alain Beaudet released a message concerning the federal budget and its impact on CIHR.  Amongst the standard platitudes, a few interesting […]

By JONATHAN THON | April 12 2012

A country’s biomedical advancement and innovation is intimately linked to its investment in academic research (Measure for Measure: Chemical Research & Development Powers the U.S. Innovation Engine). Funding for research comes almost entirely from government and private donors (Stossel, T.P., The Research Marketplace: A Little Grantsmanship Manual, Fourth Edition. 2011.), and is as value-based, bottom-up […]

By DAVID KENT | April 04 2012

We were thrilled this quarter to welcome Dr. Jonathan Thon to the Black Hole in the capacity of regular contributor.    He’s enthusiastically launched himself into the online blogging world with several articles and I’ve tried to scatter in a few along the way.  If you fancy doing something similar, we’re always open to hearing […]

By JONATHAN THON | March 22 2012

The day-to-day rigors of academic biomedical research are difficult to appreciate, and it is necessary that scientists share their perspective of the knowledge market with politicians and government representatives who are burdened with making difficult decisions on our behalf. Unlike the airline industry that also does research and development (R&D) to create safer, lighter and […]

By DAVID KENT | March 12 2012

Over the last months, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have conducted an extensive review of their grant programs and have released a document to describe these changes.  In a demonstration of top tier accountability, they have opened a multi-stage and multi-faceted consultation of the programs that I strongly encourage anybody who has any […]

By JONATHAN THON | March 01 2012

Read related entries to this post: Pitching solutions: Transition awards and Targeted Hiring The Problem: A lack of faculty positions at top-tier Canadian Universities and Research Institutes Making the Case for Increased Federal Support of Biomedical Research Repatriating young Canadian scientists at the highest levels to establish new competitive technologies in the health sciences is […]

By DAVID KENT | February 21 2012

A landmark decision was made late last month by the Ontario Labour Relations Board regarding the status of postdoctoral fellows.  Jesse Greener, President of the University of Toronto’s Postdoc Association has recently, and nicely, summarised the impacts of this ruling on the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars discussion board. I am writing this because I […]

By JONATHAN THON | February 16 2012

Read Jonathan’s earlier related entries to catch up on the series: Making the Case for Increased Federal Support of Biomedical Research and The Problem: A lack of faculty positions at top-tier Canadian Universities and Research Institutes One approach, in which Canada is lagging, is the introduction of transitional awards (such as the K99 award, offered by the […]

By DAVID KENT | February 09 2012

In his article The Vanishing Voter, Harvard professor Thomas Patterson makes a statement about modern political campaigns that made me a little nauseous: Ambition, manipulation, and deception have become as prominent as issues of policy and leadership You might scoff at my fragile stomach – claiming that politics has been like this for decades – but […]

By DAVID KENT | February 05 2012

Just a couple of quick weekend updates: 1.  Full video/audio coverage of the 2011 Canadian Science Policy Conference is now online.  Our session was on the Education and Training of Scientists: many of the ideas driving the session are in these articles. 2.  I’d like to encourage people to “like” our new Facebook page in order to spread […]

By JONATHAN THON | February 02 2012

Science, technology, and innovation are critical drivers of economic growth and national well-being. In the context of health research, their impact extends to matters of human health, quality of life, and life expectancy in our country. On a global stage, progress in health research translates into marketable discoveries for which Canada is well situated to […]

By JONATHAN THON | January 28 2012

 The Black Hole is extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Jonathan Thon to its team of regular bloggers.  Jonathan approached us last month to publish a series of articles on building a better support structure for young biomedical scientists in Canada which will be published here in four parts over the coming weeks.  As this is […]

By CIHR TRAINEE | January 17 2012

Winning a postdoctoral fellowship is not trivial and when you land in a suboptimal research situation after bringing in your own money, things can get pretty stressful. Today’s post is a guest post from a former colleague of mine who has been through this process (and successfully moved labs) while retaining their CIHR award – […]

By DAVID KENT | January 08 2012

Since I first read about it on the Piece of Mind blog by UBC Professor Nassif Ghoussoub, I have been trying to figure out whether or not Google’s new “My citations” is a useful tool for researchers.  Essentially, this tool allows a researcher to collate their publications  and the citations on those publications are displayed […]