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THE BLACK HOLE

By BETH | July 25 2011

In his last posting, Dave mentioned that statistic on Canada’s direct vs. indirect funding really jumped out of the STIC report. Another stat that really jumps out is something known as “Business expenditure on R&D (BERD) intensity.” BERD intensity is “the ratio of business R&D to a measure of output” – for example, business expenditures […]

By DAVID KENT | July 16 2011

One of the most obvious statistics that jumps out of the Science Technology and Innovation Council’s report is the method by which the Government of Canada elects to fund research and development. Funding was broken apart into two categories: direct funding (grants, loans and procurement) and indirect funding (tax credits and incentives) and the analysis was pretty […]

By BETH | July 14 2011

A quick break from our summer series on the STIC report to bring you some news about rules around paying trainee stipends from CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC grants. From the CIHR e-newsletter I just received: Tri-agencies harmonizing policies on stipends paid from grants The three federal granting agencies — CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC — are […]

By BETH | July 12 2011

In this first installment of our summer series on the Science, Technology and Innovation Council’s 2010 State of the Nation report, I’m going to take a look at some of the data on who’s getting an education in science and engineering in Canada these days. The report – at least the section I’m talking about […]

By DAVID KENT | July 07 2011

Over the last few weeks, Beth and I have been trying to identify a good topic for a summer series that our readers might enjoy.  Just in time, offering the glue to hold our scattered ideas together, the Science, Technology and Innovation Council released its 2010 State of the Nation report. The basics of the […]

By DAVID KENT | July 03 2011

After a harrowing Stanley Cup playoff run that disappointed both of us Canucks fans in its final moments, Beth and I have reclaimed our free hours and will be moving full steam ahead with new content for the Black Hole.  Due to the positive feedback we received on last year’s summer series of posts entitled: […]

By DAVID KENT | June 30 2011

Lucie Low, newly elected Vice Chair, Finance of CAPS and a current non-Canadian postdoctoral researcher at McGill has just published in Nature a scathing critique of Canada’s system which promised her more than it delivered, and further suggesting that …Canada will lose some of its brightest minds This was of course inspired by the continuous […]

By BETH | June 08 2011

While reading Dave’s last blog posting, I was struck by the discussion in the “How do we identify “good scientists”?” section, because it resonated with something that I’ve been reading for work.  From Dave’s posting: Lawrence argues that instead of giving scientists grants on the basis of what they plan to do they should instead […]

By DAVID KENT | May 22 2011

In a February 2011 interview with Lab Times, Cambridge scientist Peter Lawrence ((thanks to Dean G for forwarding these articles and follow-up discussions)) reflects on his own career and complains that “the heart of research is sick” as he charts the changes in the way in which science is pursued.  Briefly, he cites impact factors […]

By BETH | May 13 2011

I’m at the Northern Voice blogging conference today. I usually attend this conference as a personal blogger, but today I’m also going to be sitting on a panel of science bloggers, representing The Black Hole: The Naked Truth: Canadian Science Blogging Scene Panelists: Rosie Redfield (http://rrresearch.blogspot.com/) Beth Snow (http://scienceadvocacy.org/) Eric Michael Johnson (http://primatediariesinexile.blogspot.com/) Maryse de […]

By BETH | May 11 2011

A while back I posted a link to Retraction Watch, a website that reports on research papers being retracted (e.g., due to the science contained within them being fraudulent). Well, yesterday an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) tackled this topic – specifically, they called for “new mechanisms to ensure academic integrity.” As […]

By DAVID KENT | May 05 2011

An interesting development for those interested in getting more involved in the science policy world…  CIHR and Health Canada have joined forces to offer fellowships in science policy The Science Policy Fellowships program will allow researchers at the doctoral, post-doctoral, new investigator and mid-senior investigator levels to carry out short-term policy assignments at Health Canada. […]

By DAVID KENT | May 01 2011

The Canadian Cancer Society is the largest charitable funder of cancer research in Canada and they have undertaken a rather substantial redesign of their funding programs.  Late last week, I received a draft version of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute’s (CCSRI) new IMPACT and INNOVATION grants programs.  In it, the CCSRI details the specific move away […]

By DAVID KENT | April 26 2011

Last week, the Easter bunny dropped a sadistically timed present with a Nature special on The Future of the PhD.  Just when hordes of students graduate and many trainees leave to take time off with families for Easter, Nature launches a series of career-contemplating articles that will send many prospective, current and recent PhD students into […]

By VANSCI | April 25 2011

Following a very popular article by Sonja B. (To MD or PhD: That is the Question), we were asked if we would be interested in having a similar article from someone choosing whether or not to become a postdoctoral fellow. What makes this particular author of interest is that she is not being forced out […]

By DAVID KENT | April 17 2011

Quick Hits: During election season, I thought it important to encourage all of our readers to get out and vote, especially those from the 18-24 age group.  Even if you feel frustrated with the current lot of parties and MPs, it is important to remind them that you are out there.  As inspiration, university “vote […]

By BETH | April 09 2011

I was out for dinner the other day with a friend and colleague of mine who I hadn’t seen in awhile, catching up on the goings in each other’s lives. Two big things had happened in her life recently – she’d gotten married and she’d changed jobs. What makes this relevant here on The Black […]

By DAVID KENT | April 03 2011

This quarter, both Beth and Dave have made efforts to bring the Black Hole out of e-space and into the new territory.  Firstly, a panel organised by science blogger Maryse de la Giroday at Frogheart.ca will feature Beth at Northern Voice 2011 on May 13 and 14.  Secondly, though it was recorded (and probably aired) […]

By DAVID KENT | March 26 2011

I was sitting down with a group of scientists following a football/soccer game the other day and dropped a bomb into the conversation by asking if people thought cancer research got too much money.  Nobody, myself included, disputed the obvious need for funding cancer research as a leading cause of death, but what we did […]

By BETH | March 07 2011

This site was recently brought to my attention: http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/ It’s a site that reports on research papers being retracted (e.g., due to the science contained within them being fraudulent). I thought that in light of our discussions on here about the use of number of publications as the main measure of academic “success,” it might […]