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The Black Hole

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 […]

BY DAVID KENT | January 02 2012

Happy 2012 everyone. The end of 2011 was very busy, but it was worth it to gather some momentum behind the ideas and conversations from the site in the form of our session at the Canadian Science Policy Conference as well as steady growth in traffic to the site. On the other hand, it is […]

BY BETH | December 28 2011

So, a while back I mentioned that I would be applying to CIHR’s Science-to-Business (S2B) program, which provides scholarships for individuals with PhDs in a health related field to do MBAs. And the good news is that I was fortunate enough to receive one of these scholarships, which I’ll be using to take the part-time MBA […]

BY MARIANNE | December 16 2011

This is a follow up on my previous blog post where I described my choice to enter an industrial position: “Academia vs. Industry: A former Postdoc’s perspective”.  I have been in my current position (a management position in a small start-up biotech company in Canada) for a little over a year. It has given me the […]

BY DAVID KENT | December 10 2011

In a recent comment left on the site by SubC, a request was made to “look deeper” into the 20% number of PhDs becoming professors.  Specifically, the question was raised as to “how many that wanted an academic career in the first place actually ended up in one” and that a look into postdoctoral fellow […]

BY DAVID KENT | December 02 2011

On November 30, University Affairs posted two articles  that summarise and discuss the major issues that came up in our session at the 3rd Annual Canadian Science Policy Conference: Is Canada producing too many PhDs? Yes, no and maybe The problem with PhD training in Canada It was really great to have Léo in attendance at […]

BY BETH | November 23 2011

In my last blog posting, I discussed “The State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada” report and promised to talk more about potential solutions to the barriers to education faced by Aboriginal people in Canada. To that end, I have just finished reading two reports: Taking Action for First Nations Post-Secondary Education: Access, Opportunity, and Outcomes […]

BY DAVID KENT | November 16 2011

For those who will be attending the conference this week and in particular those who will be attending the panel on the Education and Training of Scientists on Thursday afternoon, I have pulled together a list of popular posts on the topics that inspired the composition of the panel: The changing resources in Academia Professionals […]

BY DAVID KENT | November 09 2011

QUICK REMINDER: For those that missed it, I’ll be chairing a session on the Education and Training of Scientists at this year’s Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa next week.  I posted on the topic a few weeks back and would love to get more feedback from people on additional items or proposed solutions to how […]

BY BETH | October 24 2011

I’ve been doing some work with the Aboriginal Health Program at my day job and it has reminded me of something that I’ve been meaning to blog about here: the rates of Aboriginal people in post-secondary education. Back when Dave and I were grad students and we were sitting around talking about “issues that face […]