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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary: Guest bloggers are great!


This summer featured our second summer series.  Last year’s “So you want to be a…” was followed up this year by “Notches in the STIC” which navigated through the key points of the Science and Technology Innovation Council’s recent report on Canadian Science.  This autumn should prove to be very busy, we’ll do our best to keep up with the pace of developments – always nice when so much is happening around you.  Interestingly this quarter, our guest bloggers Vancouver Scientist and Marianne Stanford stood out as most popular posts – always looking to increase the number of people contributing, we’d love to hear from you if you have an issue that you are passionate about.
For now, a recap of what was done this quarter:

Articles Written

  • Professional Development for Graduate Students
  • Science in the federal government
  • Notch 3 in the STIC: Business Expenditures on Research & Development
  • Quick Hit: News about Trainee Stipends From Grants
  • Notch 1 in the STIC: The Production of PhDs – What Do We Do With Them?


  • Adding Shades of Grey into Science Policy
  • The 24/7 lab: Motivated scientists or slave-driving supervisors?
  • Quick Hit: Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program to run Oct 3-17, 2011
  • Council of Canadian Academies: Another Progress(?) Update
  • Final Notch in the STIC: How should we measure knowledge development?
  • Notch 4 in the STIC – The 30 year old question: Why does Canada lag in R&D spending?
  • Notch 2 in the STIC: Federal R&D spending, Direct vs. Indirect Funding
  • 2011 Summer Blog Series: Notches in the STIC

Our Other Activities
Dave has continued to write for the Stem Cell Network blog publishing two articles this quarter:

Dave has organized and will partake in a panel at the Canadian Science Policy Conference (a post on this to follow soon) – the session will focus on how Canada should deal with the increasing numbers of highly trained scientists.
Finally, three posts are under consideration for inclusion in the Open Laboratory 2011 collection:
Identifying good scientists and keeping them honest
Reducing medical (science) waste: Thinking before doing…
Professionals in High Demand

Discussion Highlights

  • Commenting on guest blogger Marianne Stanford’s very popular post about deciding between Academia and Industry, Ali shared a personal story about the same decision-making process and emphasized the importance of city and the bonus of not having to write grants.
  • Following Beth’s quick hit on trainee stipends, Sciencegirl started an interesting conversation about the differences between SSHRC and CIHR and what other awards one is allowed to hold concurrently.
  • Fellow blogger Nassif Ghoussoub stressed to us the importance of focusing on issues directly related to trainees.  We’d posted on the NSERC success rates prior to this, but extensive follow up and interesting discussion can be found on his Piece of Mind site.
  • Liz C shared a link to Nature magazine’s story on the Canadian government’s muzzling of scientists in response to Beth’s Science in the Federal Government post.

Popular Posts this Quarter

  • Academia vs. Industry: A former Postdoc’s perspective (397)
  • 2011 Taxes for Post Docs: At least we know the rules this year (308)
  • To postdoc or not to postdoc? (262)
  • Nature Special Articles: The Future of the PhD (218)
  • So, you want to be a Science Writer when you grow up…(185)

Links Added:

  • Recruitment of Policy Leaders – Canadian Government program to get highly trained PhDs into policy careers.
  • Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy – University of Cambridge group dedicated to getting publicly funded research to influence policy decisions.
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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