Tuesday, August 26, 2008

  • Research funding: 'more diversified'
  • Some notes about bats and balls
  • Prof writes on relations with India
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Research funding: 'more diversified'

by Pat Bow

Overall, Waterloo’s researchers were highly successful in the last fiscal year, 2007-08. They were awarded a total of just over $131 million from external sources for grants and contracts. That’s 5.5 per cent more than the previous year’s total.

There have been increases in almost all categories of research. For the 2007 competition, UW was second in Canada in terms of awards from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council partnership programs (those that link researchers to partners in the private sector) with awards totalling more than $2.5 million.

“The thing I like particularly about the research funding picture this year,” says George Dixon, UW's vice-president (university research), “is not just that it increased in total dollar amount, but that it has become more diversified that we are drawing on a broader range of sources than we have in the past. And of course, the more diversified you are, the more able you are to withstand any difficulties that might arise within any one particular sector.”

In the past, most of UW's external research funding came from NSERC, but that picture is changing. UW's funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has increased by 250 per cent over the last 10 years. Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding has grown 120 per cent over the last five years, thanks to the success of new faculty members in the School of Pharmacy being added to that of other science professors and those in applied health sciences.

How it breaks down: in 2007-08, research income came to approximately $102.6 million from grants and $28.5 million from contracts. The previous year, the figures were $96.3 million and $27.9 million. Among the faculties, engineering received the most in 2007-08 $43.3 million with science close behind at $39.6 million.

Next year promises a still brighter picture. UW researchers enjoyed a high rate of success with NSERC applications for 2008-09, especially for Discovery Grants, with an 83 per cent success rate one of the highest rates in Canada, Dixon says. For Strategic Grants the success rate was 53 per cent; for Equipment Grants, 35 per cent.

Success rates are also up for 2008-09 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant applications, especially for Strategic Grants (74 per cent). The success rate for Standard Research Grants was 35 per cent; for Management, Business and Finance Grants, 25 per cent.

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[Bat hanging by door hinge]Some notes about bats and balls

Can't go too many days without a wildlife note in the Daily Bulletin, so I thought I'd pass along this shot of a little critter, taken by the digital camera of Sorena Tiba in the information systems and technology department. "Plant Operations says this happens all the time," says IST's Michelle Cheung, who spotted the bat on the top floor of the Math and Computer building. She reported it to the UW safety office, which notes that a page on the safety web site deals with precautions to take and the possibility of rabies exposure from bats.

Warrior Field, the new football ground on UW's north campus, was used for the first time on Sunday morning as the Warriors met up with the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks. The event was billed as “a controlled scrimmage”, not a game, and no score was announced. “It's almost as good of a field as you can play on,” the visiting coach, WLU's Gary Jeffries, told Christine Rivet of the Record newspaper. The Warrior team's training camp continues this week with practices 9 to noon today, 9 to 11 and 4 to 6 Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 6 Friday, and 9 to 11:30 Saturday, all at the north campus practice field. The team plays at the University of Toronto — for real, this time — on Monday at 7 p.m. CKMS-FM will broadcast the game (and the rest of the Warrior season) live.

Two members of the Warrior men's rugby team helped the Rugby Canada Super League Niagara Lightning win the U-20 national championship earlier this month, the athletics department reports: "On August 10, OUA rookie of the year and 2008 UW male rookie of the year Athar Zia, along with first year standout and kinesiology student Dave Martin, captured the RCSL national championship with a 20-19 win over the Vancouver Wave. Despite poor ground conditions after heavy rains, rugby fans were treated to an excellent Rugby Canada Super League under-20 national final at Crusader Park in Oakville. The home team, the Lightning, drawn from players in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, defeated the western division champions, the Vancouver Wave, 20-19. For Zia, his first year with Waterloo has been nothing short of a whirlwind. He was invited to the FISU rugby Canada trials in San Diego earlier this year. His hard work earned Athar a starting spot on Lightning and was tied in fourth place in Canada for point scoring. After winning the RCSL National Championship, both Dave and Athar have high hopes for the upcoming OUA rugby season." Practices are under way this week, with the first game scheduled for September 5 at Guelph.

Wilfrid Laurier University, which said earlier this summer that its venerable 50-metre swimming pool would be permanently closed for lack of money to keep it in repair, has now announced a reprieve. The pool will stay in operation at least through the end of December, a WLU statement said on Friday. "The university continues to work with the community to find a longer-term solution," said WLU vice-president (finance and administration) Jim Butler. The pool is used by community groups including the high-profile, highly competitive Region of Waterloo Swim Club — which, according to local media reports, is also putting the pressure on UW to help provide facilities for training and competition in the water.

Policy-makers and academics from 28 countries and six continents are in Waterloo this week to participate in a conference co-hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Globalization Studies Network to discuss the destructive forces of globalization. “Globalization Studies Network Conference: Uncivil Society” is the fourth conference in a series that examines policy options that can best harness the positive outcomes of globalization while curbing the disruptive aspects. Topics of discussion include human trafficking, transnational crime, money laundering, terrorism, arms trafficking and disease and health security. Mobashar Jawed (M.J.) Akbar, editor-in-chief of Covert Magazine, was scheduled to give the keynote address last night. CIGI Distinguished Fellow and CIGI Chair of Global Governance at Wilfrid Laurier University Jorge Heine will provide the keynote address this afternoon. The event, being held at the Waterloo Inn, is supported by a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa.

Advance publicity indicates that the annual “Mind’s Eye” festival on “issues of substance use in film and forum” will be taking place across Waterloo Region again this fall. Details of the many events will be available online shortly; they include three evenings of film at UW’s Architecture building in Cambridge, starting with “Two Stories of Addicted Cities” on November 5 and continuing with “Sex, Drugs and Prohibition” November 19 and “Cottonland” November 26. The festival begins with an October 1 keynote address by noted Vancouver physician Gabor Maté.

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Prof writes on relations with India

It is time Canada develops a sustained and comprehensive relationship with India – even on nuclear issues – says a St. Jerome’s University history professor who is one of the initial group of Fellows at the Canadian International Council.

The researcher, Ryan Touhey, was chosen for the CIC role earlier this year. He makes his points about Canada-India relations in a paper released early this month. The CIC is “a non-partisan, nationwide council established to strengthen Canada’s role in international affairs” and is linked to the Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Says Touhey: “We have to re-think our nuclear relationship with India, like Australia, France and the U.K. are currently doing, in light of the bold but faltering Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. Ottawa now has a timely opportunity to reassess its non-proliferation policies towards India that may revitalize nearly 40 years of lukewarm bilateral relations with New Delhi.

“In doing so, Canada can show India, one of the rising giants of the 21st century, that Canada now means business against a host of suitors.”

The fraught past between the two countries, says a release from CIGI announcing the research paper, has meant that Canadian policymakers have been among the slowest in the world to recognize India’s rise to global economic prominence.

“In a globalized economy and with India’s place in it, we’re at risk of being left behind if we don’t chart a new course,” explains Touhey. “This new course should also include strengthened public diplomacy initiatives, broader science and technology linkages and higher education partnerships with India.”

Touhey is a recent post-doctoral research fellow with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and one of eight fellows chosen by the CIC to contribute new perspectives leading to further debate and discussion in vital areas of Canadian foreign policy. The program’s initial areas of focus for 2008-09 include China, Border Issues, Arctic Sovereignty, and Security and Energy.


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Link of the day

Neurosurgery Outreach Month

When and where

Library hours through September 7 (Dana Porter and Davis Centre): Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Parking lot B entrance partly blocked (but still accessible) northwest of East Campus Hall today, for trenching to supply hydro to new building. Flagmen will direct traffic.

Laughter Yoga open to all UW employees through the UW Recreation Committee, Wednesday 6 to 6:45 p.m., Waterloo Park at Albert Street. Cancelled in the event of rain or lightning. To register, email uwrc@admmail.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment Thursday 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., Central Stores, East Campus Hall.

‘Single and Sexy’ preview performance Thursday 1:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free, all staff and faculty, family, friends and community members welcome. Followed by reception at 2:30 marking 20th anniversary of the play.

Labour Day Monday, September 1, UW offices and most services closed (move-in day for residences).

Orientation Week September 1-6.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is September 3 (bank transfer), details online.

English Language Proficiency Examination September 3, Physical Activities Complex, details online.

Perimeter Institute presents Brian Greene, Columbia University, “Black Holes and a Myth of Icarus”, Wednesday, September 3, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883-4480.

Fall term classes begin Monday, September 8.

Class enrolment appointments for winter 2009 undergraduate courses will be listed in Quest as of September 9.

Athletics open house, with club and team demonstrations and prizes. September 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Physical Activities Complex large gym.

Volunteer/Internship Fair, Tuesday, September 16, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

On-Campus Part-Time Job Fair, Wednesday, September 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

15th Annual Downey Tennisfest at Waterloo Tennis Club, Waterloo Park, September 28; register by September 19. For details and to register contact Shirley Fenton, ext. 4074, sfenton@uwaterloo.ca, or check website.

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Rasha Kashef, “Cooperative Clustering Model and its Applications in Distributed Environments.” Supervisor, Mohamed Kamel. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, September 12, 9:30 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Philosophy. Poonam Dohutia, “Thinking the Impossible: Thought Experiments, Counterfactual Conditionals, and Impossible Cases.” Supervisor, David DeVidi. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2416. Oral defence Friday, September 12, 10:00 a.m., Hagey Hall room 373.

Electrical and computer engineering. Chung Lam Li, “Association Pattern Analysis for Pattern Pruning, Clustering and Summarization.” Supervisor, Andrew K. Wong. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, September 12, 3:00 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Electrical and computer engineering. Moataz El Ayadi, “Autoaggressive Models for Text-Independent Speaker Identification in Noisy Environment.” Supervisors, Mohamed Kamel and Fakhreddine Karray. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, September 15, 1:00 p.m., DC room 1304.

Combinatorics and optimization. Graeme David Kemkes, "Properties of Random Graphs." Supervisor, Nicholas Wormald. On display in the Faculty of Mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, September 15, 2:00 p.m., MC room 5136.

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