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Number 9

Volume 32 September 19 2018

Editorial

When it comes to valuing science and sustained support for science policy, Quebec has no Canadian peers. From the creation of a science ministry in 1973 through the glory days of the Conseil de la science et de la technologie (CST) under the leadership of Camille Limoges, Quebec has long taken a leadership role in formulating cogent science policy and translating it into funded programs. That tradition continues to this day.

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Université Laval wins funding to build new Northern research centre

Université Laval in Quebec has obtained funding to build a flagship research centre for its Northern studies institute, the Institut nordique du Québec (INQ). With contributions from the federal ($25.5 million), provincial ($27.5 million), and municipal ($5 million) governments, the university and its partners will commit the remaining funds necessary to complete the $83.5-million building.

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Opinion Leader

Proposed model policy on scientific integrity doesn’t go far enough: An outsider’s critique

Scientific integrity is the adherence to professional values and practices when conducting, reporting and applying the results of scientific activities. It ensures objectivity, clarity and reproducibility while providing insulation from bias, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, political interference, and censorship.

On July 31st, the Office of the Chief Science Advisor released a draft copy of a policy developed as a result of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Treasury Board and the Public Service of Canada – “Respect of Scientific Integrity”.

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Canadian Space Agency first to appoint an external science advisor

Dr Sarah Gallagher has been appointed the first science advisor of the Canadian Space Agency – the first in a proposed network of external science advisors to key departments and agencies across the federal government. The two-year appointment will see Gallagher – an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Western Univ – report directly to CSA president Sylvain Laporte and establish a close working relationship with Dr Mona Nemer, Canada’s chief science advisor and the architect of the external advisory network.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Quebec provincial election delays approval of latest FRQ strategic plan

The adoption of the latest strategic plan of the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) has been delayed until the Quebec provincial election slated for October 1. The FRQ, which comprises the three provincial granting agencies for health, nature and technologies and society and culture, completed its strategic plan for 2018-2022 earlier this year after it was approved by the Ministry of the Economy, Science and Innovation and the boards of directors for its three branches. Cabinet approval did not occur in time before it recessed for the provincial election. Quebec chief scientists Dr Rémi Quirion said in a recent message to the scientific community that he’s hopeful the new Cabinet will approve the plan by the end of 2018. FRQ received a 20% boost in the 2017 provincial Budget, increasing its funding by $180 million. The increase brings FRQ’s 2018-19 budget to $214.5 million.

Microsoft Canada Moving HQ to Toronto Core

On September 11, 2018, Microsoft Canada President Kevin Peesker announced that Microsoft Canada’s headquarters will be moving to a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Toronto’s South Core. The facility, located at 81 Bay Street, will span 132,000 square feet across four floors of CIBC Square, and include new greenspace, amenities, and a Microsoft Technology Centre augmented with learning spaces aimed at Canadian school-aged youth. This represents another major step forward for Toronto, which is already gaining increased recognition as a technological hub on both the national and international scale. It’s also part of Microsoft’s growing investment in Canadian tech, including growing their R&D operations in Vancouver and Montreal, putting $2M towards helping Canadian developers and data scientists update their skills, and contributing $10M towards the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

Business and education leaders recommend work-integrated learning for skills development

Members of the Business/Higher Education Roundtable addressed an open letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, in which they assert that the best way to prepare Canadian youth for impending changes in the skills economy is through work-integrated learning (WIL) strategies. The letter reminds Morneau that in the 2018 federal budget, he highlighted the need to support “new and innovative approaches to skills development.” While congratulating the Liberal government for investing in initiatives like the Student Work Placement Program, the drafters of the letter contend that the time has come “to make Canada the world leader in WIL.” They recommend several actions, including the creation of a National WIL Strategy and a National Taskforce to implement it. Signatories to the letter include twenty-five heads of organizations representing various industrial sectors, business associations, and post-secondary networks. Among them are John Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada, and Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada.

Cloud Computing Pioneer TriNimbus Technologies Acquired by Onica

Recognizing the rapidly growing cloud computing space in Canada, Santa Monica-based cloud consulting and managed services company, Onica, will be adding Vancouver-based TriNimbus Technologies to its roster. TriNimbus Technologies is a leading DevOps specialist and Canada’s first Premier Consulting Partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN).

This acquisition cements Onica’s relationship with AWS. With the flexibility and scale of AWS, supported by a platform of tooling and automation, Onica helps customers innovate with various cloud-focused solutions including cloud connected devices and serverless application development.

In 2015, TriNimbus became the first locally headquartered APN Premier Consulting Partner. Supporting customers to master the cloud, TriNimbus expanded nationwide, with five offices and ten AWS community user groups to expand skills locally.

The acquisition makes Onica one of the largest AWS consultancies in North America. The firm plans to continue to invest and hire in Canada.

People

Mario Pinto

Mario Pinto has resigned as president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), more than a year before the typical five-year term expires. In a special announcement released Sept. 10 by NSERC, Pinto said he’s resigning, effective September 21, 2018, with “mixed feelings” to pursue other possibilities in academia. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, tweeted the same day that she has accepted Pinto’s resignation. Duncan thanked Pinto for his commitment to NSERC over the past four years and wished him continued success in his future endeavours. Pinto, a chemical biologist, joined NSERC as president in November 2014. He is credited with augmenting the agency’s dual expertise as an investor in discovery-based research and brokering successful R&D partnerships with technology-driven enterprises to de-risk promising research, according to NSERC’s website. A seasoned innovator, he established VentureLabs®, Venture Connection®, and Zone Start-Ups India, an international joint venture.

R$ 32/9