Canada Invests Nearly $250M in International Observatory Project

Source: UBC News Release via Academica

Canada is investing close to $250 M to help build what will be reportedly be the world’s most powerful optical telescope. Canada will contribute $243.5 M to the Thirty Meter Telescope project, to be located on the summit of Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii. Canada joins partners from Japan, India, China, and the United States in backing the initiative. Much of Canada’s funding will support the construction of the telescope’s enclosure and optical instruments, features that were designed by Canadian engineers and that will be fabricated in British Columbia. Construction of the observatory, which had been delayed pending the Canadian government’s decision, can now begin in earnest. Researchers across the country applauded the announcement. “[It’s] an amazing day for Canada,” said Ray Calberg, an astronomer at the University of Toronto. Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), said in statement that “this timely investment gives certainty to Canada’s role in this globally important project.” The 22-storey-tall observatory is expected to be operational in 2023.

AUCC Shares International Perspectives on Innovation

Source: AUCC Report via Academica

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has published a new report that identifies what it says are elements of a successful national innovation system. The report, entitled Toward Stronger Innovation Systems: Lessons from AUCC’s Innovation Policy Dialogue, draws on meetings between education leaders from Canada, Germany, and Israel. It highlights a number of elements common to successful innovation systems, including support for basic research; the involvement of students as researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs; support for creativity and risk-taking in research; multidisciplinary collaboration; and strong ties between universities and industry. The report suggests ways in which Canada can adapt lessons from abroad, such as by encouraging risk-taking through the funding of applied research and commercialization activities with the understanding that some projects will inevitably fail, and by offering students the opportunity to interact with industry and industry-experienced faculty members.

New Agreement Makes It Easier For Universities to Hire Foreign Workers

Source: Globe and Mail via Academica | February 18, 2015

A new agreement between the federal government and Canada’s PSE institutions will relax some of the regulations around hiring foreign workers, reports the Globe and Mail. Universities and colleges will no longer have to submit a plan on transitioning jobs held by foreign workers to Canadian citizens, and will now report to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). New regulations to the temporary foreign workers program were implemented last June, affecting the ability of universities and colleges to recruit internationally. “I think that the government recognized that there are broader public policy objectives here: that universities can continue to meet their teaching and research needs, and to ensure that they can attract new knowledge and expertise from around the world,” said AUCC VP Christine Tausig Ford.

AUCC Report Shows That Internationalization Is A Priority, But Flow Goes One Way

Source: AUCC News Release via Academica | December 11, 2014

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has released a new report on internationalization at universities. According to the report, 89% of universities surveyed said that the pace of internationalization is accelerating on campus, 96% ensure internationalization is integrated in strategic plans, and 80% identify internationalization as being among their top 5 priorities. 97% of Canadian universities offer international experience, with nearly all allowing students to complete coursework abroad, 70% sending students to foreign field schools, 67% offering service work or volunteer opportunities abroad, 67% helping students do research abroad, and 66% offering foreign work experience. 53% of institutions said the most important reason for internationalization was to “prepare internationally knowledgeable and inter-culturally competent graduates.” However, the survey also shows that internationalization remains a largely unidirectional affair: just 3.1% of full-time undergraduate students had an international experience in 2012–13, with just 2.6% participating in a for-credit experience abroad. Cost and inflexible credit transfer policies were cited as particular concerns in this area. The report also found that China is the top focus of most universities’ internationalization activities, while students’ preferred destinations are primarily English-speaking and major western European countries.

AUCC Launches New Online Resource for Students Planning PSE

Source: AUCC News Release via Academica | Sept. 2, 2014

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has released a new website,, designed to help students, parents, and guidance counsellors find information about Canada’s PSE institutions and PSE programs. The online resource includes profiles of institutions and AUCC’s searchable program database, as well as articles and tips for students on PSE planning. In addition, the new site contains dedicated information for Aboriginal students, and information for international students considering studying in Canada. “With this new website, AUCC is pleased to help students navigate the breadth of high-quality universities and programs offered across Canada,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson.

TCS Insights: Students from Canada as well as from abroad now have an additional resource to help them learn about different educational institutions in the country as well as programs offered while they plan their academic futures.