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The Black Hole

2011 summer blog series: Notches in the STIC


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 report have already been well described in the media, in particular by Meagan Fitzpatrick (CBC) and Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail), and cover a lot of ground using a comprehensive and polished set of statistics primarily taken from the OECD and Statistics Canada.  In the second of what appears to be a bi-annual progress report, many indicators show that Canada is underperforming, but has substantial capacity to build upon.

Over the next two months, Beth and I will dissect the report to help place it in context for science trainees in Canada.  Make no mistake that the decisions like creating the Vanier, Banting, and CERC programs are intimately linked to what appears in such reports and the attention they get in senior boardrooms.

Some of the various notches in the STIC report that we will begin with are as follows:

  • The production of PhDs in Canada (relative and absolute numbers)
  • Maximizing the productivity of the PhDs we produce
  • Direct vs. indirect funding of research and development
  • Industry funding of research and development
  • How do we best measure knowledge?

Stay tuned for these topics and how they impact the education and training of scientists of tomorrow…

David Kent
Dr. David Kent is a principal investigator at the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York, York, UK. He trained at Western University and the University of British Columbia before spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge, UK where he ran his research group until 2019. His laboratory's research focuses on the fundamental biology of blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009.
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