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(March 7, 2002, Gazette)

A sampling of stories from university press across Canada

Investing in research
MONTREAL - A new organization has been set up to shepherd some of McGill’s most promising research discoveries into the marketplace, according to the McGill Reporter. McGill has teamed up with Sherbrooke and Bishop’s universities to launch an independent firm called MSBI that will help commercialize research. An acronym for McGill, Sherbrooke and Bishop’s Innovation, MSBI will manage a $26-million venture capital fund that will be invested in research projects from each institution. Jan Peeters and Ian Soutar, two members of McGill’s Board of Governors, helped transform MSBI from concept to reality over the last 18 months. Mr. Peeters, a two-time McGill graduate in mining and accounting, said he immediately recognized the importance of creating MSBI as a new investment source. “There’s a tremendous pool of researchers who are starving for the necessary funding to bring their intellectual property into the marketplace,” said Mr. Peeters, who will chair MSBI’s board of directors. He is also the CEO of Montreal-based Olameter Inc. “MSBI will be a catalyst that will give academic ideas a fiscal shot at commercialization.”

Students seek to give tuition input
VANCOUVER – UBC students are asking UBC President Martha Piper to include them in making decisions about how tuition fee levels will be implemented at UBC, reads UBC Reports. Post-secondary institutions in B.C. have been given responsibility for determining their own tuition fee levels, according to a recent provincial government announcement that officially ended the province’s six-year tuition freeze. In a recent letter to the president, the UBC Committee to Reduce Tuition requested a public debate with students regarding any increases. Brian Sullivan, vice-president, Students, advised the group that discussions are already underway with student government and a number of public forums open to all students are expected to be held within the next two weeks. B.C. has the lowest tuition fees in Canada after Quebec. UBC is considering raising tuitions to the national average and to levels comparable to peer institutions. A portion – from 15 to 30 per cent – of increased tuition fee revenues will be directed to student financial support, he added.

Guelph master plan
GUELPH – The University of Guelph Campus Master Plan Steering Committee recently issued a working paper that suggests alternative means to address the issues identified in the research phase of the campus master plan review process, according to @Guelph. Consultants hired by the university prepared 100-page working paper contains more than two dozen explorations of how the campus may develop in the future. These explorations are based on exhaustive campus consultations that began in early 2001 with university administrators, including the Vice-President (Academic)’s Council, as well as faculty, staff and students. “This working paper begins to address key issues through a series of planning strategies and alternative scenarios for the arrangement of buildings, roads, walkways and landscapes,” the paper’s introduction states. “Its intention is to explore ideas, generate discussion and obtain feedback.”

Excitement builds around humanities congress
TORONTO - Each year, scholars from more than 90 academic societies expecting to rekindle academic friendships and hear first-hand about the latest research in their fields gather at the Congress for Social Sciences and Humanities. This year more than 7,000 delegates will gather at U of T between May 25 and June 1 to do just that, reports the University of Toronto Bulletin. The theme is “Boundaries” and while the academic program is growing daily, workshops already scheduled include such topics as the role of technology in the humanities, new directions in American politics and issues in research ethics. In addition to the traditional mainstays of academic symposia and workshops, U of T is making a special effort to share the relevance, importance and excitement of humanities and social sciences with the wider community through a number of events that are open to the public.