Canadian Science News

Marching for Science
Maclean’s reported that many Canadians are making plans for the March for Science. They will be marching, Maclean’s notes, more for solidarity with Americans for their science rather than issues in Canada.

The United States has undergone significant funding cuts in various areas of research, which has affected their research labs and initiatives. Canadians have been “volunteering time and server space to preserve vulnerable data.

The attraction of global talent is an issue in the 21st century. Canadian universities have seen a “surge” in 2017 of applications. Also, Canada has a “new role as a seed back,” which is “where science goes for safekeeping.”

McGill University Researchers Looking into Metal Fuels
CBC: Technology stated that cars in the future could be fuelled by iron powder rather than gasoline. Canadian researchers at McGill university have made this a goal in their study of the combustion capabilities of metal for a “cleaner, greener alternative for our vehicles.”

There was a recent experiment launched into space for more data for analysis on the combustion capabilities. Based on the experiment, the scientists were better able to know “how metal particles react in weightlessness.”

“Metal fuel is created when a metal is ground into a powder, which is then fed into a burner,” CBC: Technology said, “It’s so efficient that it releases as much energy as gasoline does ? but more energy and heat is generated per litre of iron powder, compared to one litre of gas.”

An Indo-Canadian science program collaboration
According to a brief report from Mathrubhumi, there is a collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, and The India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS).

The intent is “to promote multidisciplinary research partnerships.” There are 5 initiatives intended to address the Clean Water technologies issue. These are being implemented in departments at 572 lakhs and has “matched funding from Canada.” 1 Lakh is 100,000 rupees (Rs). 57.2 million Rs is about $1.2 million Canadian dollars.

The technologies are being developed for implementation in India. They are “being adapted and modified for Indian conditions. Technologies developed will be taken for feasibility studies and shall be implemented on pilot scale within two years,” according to Shri Y.S. Chowdary, the minister of state for the Ministry of Science & Technology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Federal funding for research less than expected, and granting council funding “static”
“Wind chills here approached -30°C as Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled the Liberal government’s second budget on Wednesday. Spring may eventually arrive in Canada’s capital, but the deep freeze for Canada’s research community will continue into fiscal 2017?18 as the granting councils received no significant boosts in funding,” Science (AAAS) said.

The budget proposed by Morneau is $247.7 billion. Last year’s was $236.4 billion. Researchers in the university system can use money for national programs intended to “promote innovation” including those devoted to the preparations for the “health risks posed by climate change.”

One main take-away from the new budget is the modification of the existing programs. Also, granting council funding is “static,” which means the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will have the same financial support as last year.

Canadian clean technology research behind 11 other countries
According to the National Observer, clean technology research and its “influence and reach” relative to and in the international scientific community is “mediocre at best.” This is based on “results of a federal review panel,” which examined the federal support for science.

Canada was behind 11 other countries with respect to “research articles and review papers published on clean” technology from 2011-2015. This is based on reporting from the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science.

“Canada’s share of global publications in clean technology has been just 3.1 per cent in that time period,” National Observer said, “and has hovered around the three per cent range for 15 years, according to the report, “Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research.”

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the AUSU VPFA. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.