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  1. McGill takes 12th spot in global ranking ELIZABETH CHURCH From Thursday's Globe and Mail November 8, 2007 at 5:05 AM EST An international ranking of universities has put Montreal's McGill University in 12th spot, the highest rank to be reached by a Canadian institution. The annual rating, done by London-based Times Higher-QS World University Rankings, moved McGill up from its 21st placement last year. Ten other Canadian universities made the top 200 list, with the University of British Columbia finishing in the 33rd spot and the University of Toronto in the 45th. "This is such a source of pride for us. It shows that McGill is moving in the right direction," principal Heather Munroe-Blum said. The placement means McGill is now the top-ranked public university in North America, she said. It also demonstrates that the practice of concentrating resources on areas of excellence such as neuroscience, developmental biology and law is showing results, she added. "We have chosen our spots very carefully in areas where we can be leaders in the world." The rating, which was to be released this morning in London, comes at an important time for McGill as it looks to tap its network of alumni for a major fundraising campaign and is striving to increase its profile. Harvard University once again was placed at the top of the international ranking, which was conducted by an independent firm, sold off by the owners of the Times of London in 2005. Oxford, Cambridge and Yale all shared second place. The survey considers a number of factors in its rankings and gathers input from more than 5,000 academics around the world.
  2. October 13, 2009, 2:53pm WASHINGTON, October 12, 2009 (AFP) - Cash-rich US researchers have again dominated this year's Nobel awards, but it seems identifying the nationality of laureates is not an exact science, and change may be on the way. On the face of things, the United States would top an Olympic-style medals table of Nobel prize wins. Eleven of this year's 13 laureates are citizens of the United States, winning five of the six Nobel awards up for grabs. Even President Barack Obama pocketed a medal. Since the end of World War II, the United States has scooped up 89 Nobel awards for medicine, 74 for physics, 58 for chemistry and dozens more for economics, peace and literature, beating its closest contenders in Britain, France and Germany. Unsurprisingly then, the rest of the world is left to ask how the United States does it. The answer may be, in part, "It doesn't." A look at the curricula vitae of this year's Nobel science winners -- which make up four of the six awards -- shows a complex patchwork of academics criss-crossing the globe to reach the top their profession. "You have to ask where they studied," said Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, an American who has written a book profiling female Nobel laureates. "Many of our scientists have done their post-docs in Europe," she said, pointing to high migration levels among top scientists. This year's crop of laureates shows just how difficult it is to determine the nationality of globe-trotting laureates, especially based on Nobel citations which use citizenship at the time of award. Charles Kao who shared the 2009 prize for physics for his work in developing fiber optics is a US citizen, but he was born in Shanghai, educated in London and now lives in Hong Kong. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who shared the prize for chemistry, was born in India, works in Britain, but has US citizenship. Australian-born Elizabeth Blackburn is also a US citizen, but studied at the universities of Melbourne and Cambridge before a post doctoral degree at Yale. Willard Boyle, who won also shared the physics prize for his work on semiconductors, is Canadian and studied at Montreal's McGill University, but now has American citizenship. Obama -- despite claims by his most vociferous critics -- is among the most unquestionably American of the laureates. According to research from Britain's University of Warwick, published last January, scientific migration is common, and vastly beneficial to the United States. "Nearly half of the world's most-cited physicists work outside their country of birth," the study said. A survey of 158 of the most highly cited physicists showed systematic migration to nations with large research and development spending, most notably the United States. "At birth, 29.7 percent of physicists are in the USA. This increases to 43.4 percent at first degree, to 55.1 percent at PhD, and to 67.1 percent presently," the report said. "In 1987-2006, for example, five out of fourteen of all UK-educated laureates had moved to the USA by the time they won the Nobel prize." Still, the United States can claim to have forged the institutes and universities that attract top-flight researchers for award-winning research. According to State Department figures, every year the United States issues over 35,000 visas for exceptional scientists and others who flock to well-funded institutes. But the real key to US Nobel dominance, according to Roger Geiger, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, is cash -- particularly the massive influx of cash to the US education system after World War II. "We were funding research when others were not, or when others could not," he said pointing to post-war Europe's economic malaise. That advantage has stuck. Today, Harvard University's endowment alone is worth around $27 billion, roughly equal to Costa Rica's gross domestic product. Still, Harvard's nest egg has shrunk by $10 billion since the start of the fiscal year thanks to a financial crisis that Geiger says will erode American universities' attraction. "The crisis has been longer and more deeply felt in the United States, that will have an impact," he said. At the same time, European and Asian universities are increasing the type of innovative research that wins awards. "Other countries have recognized the importance of this type of competition," said Geiger who sees change already taking place. "The rest of the world is competing, the law of numbers says they will catch up. If you look at publication and citation counts, Nobel prizes are a lagging indicator." In some disciplines, the playing field has already been leveled and could provide a glimpse of the competition if other regions match US funding levels. Europeans still dominate the Fields Medal for mathematics or the Pritzker Prize for architecture, both areas which can require less research funding. An American has not won the Nobel Prize for Literature since Toni Morrison's award 16 years ago. As one Nobel judge tersely put it Americans "don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature." But in the sciences at least, Americans are not only part of the dialogue, but still have the last word, even if the word is spoken with a foreign lilt. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/224495/us-nobel-sweep-points-brain-drain
  3. as much as Aubin is a loud mouth - he;s not far from the truth. A wake up call to forum members.. we all love Montreal but we need to seriously wake up. 2011/2012 was a bad 2 years - we need to improve MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. — founded by francophone Montrealers, headquartered in Montreal and active in engineering and construction projects in more than 100 countries — has long been the proud symbol of Québec Inc. Now, however, it risks becoming a symbol of something else — the decline of Montreal’s place on the world stage. The company announced last week that it is creating its largest corporate unit (one focused on hydrocarbons, chemicals, metallurgy, mining, the environment and water) and locating it not in Quebec but in London; heading it will be a Brit, Neil Bruce. As well, the company also said it was creating a global operations unit that would be based in the British capital. To be sure, SNC-Lavalin denies speculation by a La Presse business columnist that the company might be slowly moving its head office from Montreal. The two moves to London must be seen as reflecting “our healthy expansion globally,” says a spokesperson. “The corporate headquarters and all its functions still remain in Montreal.” Nonetheless, this unmistakable shift of authority abroad takes place within a broader context of fewer local people atop the SNC-Lavalin pyramid. In 2007, six of the top 11 executives were francophone Quebecers; last year, three. Note, too, that only two of 13 members of its board of directors are francophone Quebecers. When the company last fall replaced discredited Pierre Duhaime of Montreal as president, CEO, and board member, it picked an American, Robert Card. What’s happening to the company based on René-Lévesque Blvd. is the latest sign of the erosion of Montreal’s status as a major business centre. Of Canada’s 500 largest companies, 96 had their head offices in this city in 1990; in 2010, says Montréal International, only 81 remained, a 16-per-cent decline. It’s true that Toronto, too, has seen a decrease (with some of its companies heading to booming Calgary), but it’s only of six per cent. As well, because Hogtown has more than twice as many head offices as Montreal, the trend there has far less impact. Anyone with a stake in Montreal’s prosperity should care about what’s happening here. Head offices and major corporate offices, such as the SNC-Lavalin’s units, bring more money collectively into the city than do big events — the Grand Prix and the aquatics championship — whose threatened departures cause political storms. Such offices employ high-spending, high-taxpaying local residents and attract visiting business people year-round — people who represent income for cabbies, hoteliers, restaurateurs, computer experts, lawyers and accountants. Indeed, this week’s controversy over the absence of direct air links from Trudeau International Airport to China and South America is pertinent to this trend. It’s not only federal air policy over the decades that’s responsible for this isolation. It’s also that Montrealers have less money, and one reason for that is, as Trudeau boss James Cherry notes, “there are far fewer head offices in Montreal.” Keep losing them and we’ll be a real backwater. But how do we avoid losing these offices? We don’t need more studies. Tons of studies — good ones — already exist. The No. 1 factor for a company when choosing a head office location is corporate taxes, according to a Calgary Economic Development study. Quebec’s are the highest in Canada and the U.S. Thirty-four per cent of the executives at 103 local companies say that Montreal’s business climate had “deteriorated “ in the previous five years, Montreal’s Chambre de commerce found a year ago. The main reason: infrastructure (not only roads but also the health system). A study called “Knowledge City” that Montreal city hall commissioned in 2004 is still relevant. Its survey of 100 mobile, well-educated people (some of whom had already left Montreal) found that their top three biggest complaints with the city were, in descending order, high personal taxes, decaying infrastructure and political uncertainty from sovereignty. All studies agree that the quality of Montreal’s universities helps attract companies. Weakened universities would lower this power. The Parti Québécois government’s minister for Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, declared before Christmas that he was “Montréalo-optimiste.” He did not, however, spell out concrete steps for addressing the above-listed problems. Too bad that his government on Jan. 1 imposed higher personal taxes for people with high incomes — which hits business people. Too bad it has reduced spending on infrastructure by 14 per cent. Too bad that it has not only reduced funds to universities by $124 million over the next three months but that it says it might cut their funding in other years as well — in effect weakening them. And, finally, too bad that Premier Pauline Marois said this week her party would soon launch a campaign to promote sovereignty and that her government would step up its strategy of wresting powers from Ottawa. In the next few says, she’ll further promote Quebec independence with a meeting in Edinburgh with Scotland’s sovereignist leader. Staunch the hemorrhage of corporate offices from Montreal under this government? The very idea is Montréalo-irréaliste. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+avoid+losing+head+offices/7862525/story.html#ixzz2IrXbVaOH
  4. Per this article in The Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Montreal+picked+five+hubs+Future+Earth+project/10008798/story.html Montreal has been selected as one of five global hubs for a United Nations project called Future Earth, an ambitious 10-year initiative to build and connect international research on the environment and sustainable development — and to find ways to intensify and accelerate the impact of that research. It is a united, international effort to create sustainability and advance scientific study on questions of environmental impact, to merge science and public policy — and to address urgent environmental challenges. Future Earth’s globally distributed secretariat will also have hubs in Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm and Boulder, Colo. Those involved in petitioning to get the hub here — there were at least 20 competing bids — believe that Montreal’s star will definitely shine brighter on the international stage now. While the project will involve all of Montreal’s universities, Concordia University will house the local hub that will bring together Quebec researchers to contribute to this major scientific initiative. It is news that has Concordia president Alan Shepard smiling these days, although he is primarily focused on what a coup this is for Montreal and the opportunities he believes will emerge from it. “This is great for Montreal and very good for Concordia,” Shepard said in an interview on Monday. “We’ll be the host but it’s collaborative, an intersection for all the universities in Montreal to work together on climate change and the health of the Earth.” The universities came together to work on a joint proposal to lobby for the hub at the urging of Montréal International, which acts as an economic driver for Greater Montreal. Montréal International vice-president Stéphanie Allard is also convinced that Montreal’s involvement in the project can only be a boon to its universities and to the city itself. “It’s a very big opportunity for all the universities and for Montreal,” said Allard, who oversees international organizations. “It will increase our visibility in the world, it will establish us as an international city and it will certainly make us more attractive to researchers.” Future Earth is the result of a commitment made in 2012, at the United Nations conference Rio+20, to develop a new international network to advance sustainability. It is being overseen by the International Council of Science, a non-governmental association with a goal to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. The project is committed to developing the knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the coming decades. It will mobilize tens of thousands of scientists while strengthening partnerships with policy-makers and other stakeholders in the quest for a sustainable planet. “Solutions to the major sustainability challenges facing humanity require integrated science and a closer relationship with policy-makers and stakeholders than we have seen to date,” said Yuan-Tseh Lee, president of the ICSU. “Future Earth has been designed to respond to these urgent needs, and I am impressed by the innovative consortium that has come together to drive the program forward.” In making its pitch, Montréal International cited that Montreal has a rich, diverse and high quality research network already in place, that it is multicultural and multilinguistic, that it is very well-positioned to be a hub and that office space is cheaper here than in many cities. Shepard said it’s hard to say what financial benefits there could be for the city, but he said having the secretariat will certainly bring UN resources, international visitors, research opportunities, graduate students and lots of attention. “Montreal becomes a neuronetwork and it’s glowing really bright,” he said, adding that the project meshed well with Concordia’s “intellectual values” of integrating different academic disciplines. An added bonus is that it also fits well with a preoccupation of the university’s students, namely sustainability and environmental science. “Future Earth clearly recognizes Montreal’s research capacity and the valuable contribution we will make in developing solutions to global environmental challenges,” said Shepard. “It’s a beautiful thing to have in your city; it will bring great intellectual leadership and passion and opportunity.” [email protected] Twitter: KSeidman
  5. UQAM's financial fiasco is a major problem for Montreal The university is key to educating our local workforce HENRY AUBIN The Gazette Tuesday, June 10, 2008 I'd argue that the No. 1 short-term problem that the Montreal area faces today is the financial fiasco at the Université du Québec à Montréal. (Long-term problems such as decaying infrastructure and adapting the region to climate change are another story.) It's easy to overlook UQAM's importance. Its not the most prestigious of the four universities that are the four pillars of the region's knowledge economy. Yet UQAM's role in forming an educated local workforce is arguably greater than that of the most internationally renowned school, McGill. That's because a greater share - far greater - of its graduates actually remain in the metropolitan area and make their careers here. UQAM's real-estate expansion has rung up a debt costing $50,000 a day in interest. It could reach half a billion dollars by 2012. To reduce costs, the university cut its operating budget by 10 per cent, hiked student fees and announced the elimination of 30 specialized programs (each of which typically contains four courses). In all, it's cutting $41 million per year for five years. But this is hardly enough. To be sure, the Charest government would never let the university downsize drastically. UQAM is too valuable economically. The political cost to any government would be too great. But there has been profound damage to the institution's reputation - which is ironic, given that the aim of the expansion, centred on the construction of two glittering new downtown campuses, was in large part to lend UQAM prestige. More important, however, will be the damage to the calibre of the education itself. How many professors will not be hired? How many more courses will be dropped? How many potential students will decide against going to university because of spiralling fees and slipping quality? The crisis raises two questions. The first: Who ought to pay for whatever is needed to bring the university back to health? The bill could come to about $300 million. Should the university pay? Or should Quebec taxpayers pick up this hefty tab? The argument in favour of the university paying for itself would be that it is the author of its misfortune. No one told it to build the science campus (completed between Sherbrooke St. and Place des Arts) and the humanities campus (unfinished at the Voyageur bus terminal). UQAM's new head, Claude Corbo, who has the unenviable job of cleaning up UQAM's finances, made the case last week that Quebec taxpayers should pay. I have deep respect for Corbo's record of public service over the decades, but his argument is weak. He said that since Quebec paid for the Laval métro's cost overruns, it should now pay for UQAM's. That would bolster the idea that planners of public projects can toss prudence to the winds. Indeed, as Quebec's auditor-general showed last week, accountability was dysfunctional at every level. UQAM's head at the time, Roch Denis, kept real-estate details from UQAM's board of governors, the board placed too much trust in Denis, the body that oversees the Université du Québec's six universities across the province was asleep at the switch and so was the person at the top, then-education minister Jean-Marc Fournier. The problem for his successor, Michelle Courchesne, however, is this: If she does the principled thing and makes UQAM pay for its errors, this could further harm the institution's quality. No one wants that. The second question is: How do you change the culture of laxity the is at the root of this project? The UQAM and Laval métro debacle are examples of a trend. Major projects in Montreal tend to elude serious study. McGill and the Université de Montréal wasted years dreaming up grandiose hospitals that, even now that their scale is smaller, keep climbing in cost. Highway 25 and U de M's Outremont campus have never received adequate study. And two big projects of the day, Quartier des spectacles and the private Griffintown mega-project are also avoiding credible scrutiny. I've written about this absence of checks and balances for four years. The void is as glaring as ever. True, the arrival of public-private partnerships (in the case of the hospitals and the highway) could keep taxpayers from getting hit by cost overruns. But PPPs address the management of projects, not their justification. The core problem remains After the Olympic Stadium fiasco, a provincial inquiry headed by the late Judge Albert Malouf urged screening of major projects by independent experts. How many more clinkers must Quebecers endure before politicians accept that common sense? - - - The knowledge economy's four pillars The Université du Québec à Montreal produces the second most diplomas and certificates of Montreal's universities. The figures are from 2006. University Baccalaureat Masters Doctorate Total* Concordia 4,379 1,080 72 5,833 McGill 4,665 1,499 345 7,608 UQAM 4,466 1,542 115 10,303 Univ. de Montréal 5,030 1,433 257 11,286 Source: Ministry of Education *including certificates http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/features/viewpoints/story.html?id=c694a84a-2719-4a9b-ac0c-b290eb76b092
  6. Montréal ranks first for university research in Canada - Montréal universities received $1 billion in funding MONTREAL, Nov. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Greater Montréal ranked first among all metropolitan areas in Canada, both in terms of funding allocated to university research and in number of university researchers. Such were the findings of an analysis conducted by Montréal International based on ranking issued by the Research Infosource firm on research funding attributed to Canadian universities by federal and provincial organizations, and the private sector. The study also found that in 2006, six of Montréal's main university establishments managed research funds totalling a billion dollars, i.e. 18% of the country's total research budget. Greater Montréal is also the national champion in terms of number of university researchers, who numbered close to 5,500 in 2006, i.e. over a thousand more than its closest competitor, Toronto. These statistics once again confirm Montréal's vocation as Canada's capital of university research. Montréal has held on to the lead position in this respect since 1999. During the 1999-2006 period, Montréal universities alone had over $6.5 billion at their disposal, i.e. 20% of the Canadian total. Pierre Brunet, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Montréal International, underscored the pivotal role of university research in the context of today's knowledge-based economy: "Research activities and the spinoffs of our university system help make Greater Montréal more competitive on the world stage. Because innovation is a powerful driver of economic development and a key element of the drawing power of urban centres, particularly in the high-technology sectors, Montréal's universities can certainly be considered as extremely strategic assets." Recognized as a world-class centre for academic instruction, Montréal boasts 11 university establishments, notably McGill University, Concordia University, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal, Institut national de la recherche scientifique and Ecole de technologie supérieure, all of which are mentioned in the study. About Montréal International Montréal International was created in 1996 as a result of a private/public partnership. Its mission is to contribute to the economic development of Greater Montréal and to enhance its international status. Its mandates include attracting foreign investment, international organizations and strategic workers, and supporting the development of innovation and high-technology clusters in the region. Montréal International is financed by the private sector, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, the City of Montréal and the governments of Canada and Québec. Since 2000, Montréal International has been involved in 379 direct foreign investment projects totalling $5.6 billion. From these investments, 28,186 jobs have been created and 5,459 jobs have been maintained. For further information: Céline Clément, Communications Advisor, Montréal International, (514) 987-9390, [email protected], www.montrealinternational.com
  7. Quebec universities report steep rise in regisration MONTREAL, Oct. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - For the fall semester 2009, 268,167 students registered at Quebec universities. Of this number, 181,316 registered full time and 86,851 registered part time. After a rise of at least 1% a year for the last three years, the total number of registrations rose steeply by 3.8% this year. The last increase of this scale goes back to 2003 and a rise of 4.2% Full time student registration saw a significant increase (6.2 %) at all levels of study (5.3 % at the undergraduate level, 10.6 % at the graduate level and 6.9 % at the postgraduate level). The number of new full time undergraduate registrants also rose by 7.3%, which will have a favourable impact on total registration in the common years. Part time registration saw a small decrease in numbers by 0.8%. Bishop's 6.5% -3.3% s.o. 6.3% A number of factors explain these increases. For example, the current economic recession has led to significant numbers of lost jobs, new programs have been implemented and international student recruitment has been stepped up. Another significant observation already noted in recent years is the presence of women at university. This year, women account for 57.6% of undergraduates, 55.5% of graduate students and 48.1% of postgraduate students. 57.7% of new full time undergraduates registered are women. We observe that a majority of undergraduate and graduate students are women and that that percentage at these levels has been relatively stable in recent years. However, we also note a steady increase at the postgraduate level. These findings come from the universities' preliminary registration statistics, excluding data from Télé-université which does not participate in data collection because its registration is a continuous process. Note that the situation varies greatly from one university to another. For this reason, the statistics for individual universities must be consulted to identify the exact causes of these variations in student registrations. All the data by institution as well as the concept identification used in the data collection methodology are available on the CREPUQ Web site: http://www.crepuq.qc.ca/spip.php?article102&lang=en CREPUQ includes all 18 Quebec universities. The organization acts as their voice in relations with government and sectors related to higher education. It also fosters coordination and collaboration between universities, is a research centre for university administrations, acts as a centre for coordination and joint service delivery, and is a resource centre and think tank for its members. CREPUQ Inscriptions aux trimestres d'automne 2008 et 2009 : variation en %, au 24 septembre de chaque année, du nombre de personnes inscrites selon le niveau d'études, du nombre de nouvelles personnes inscrites au 1er cycle à temps plein et de la masse de crédits au 1er cycle ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Variation Variation en % du nombre en % Variation de personnes - inscriptions Nouvelles en % temps plein et temps partiel personnes Masse -------------------------------------------- 1er cycle de Établissements 1er 2e 3e - temps crédits cycle cycle cycle Total plein 1er cycle ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bishop's 6.5% -3.3% s.o. 6.3% 10.7% 6.1% Concordia 3.5% 11.0% 12.7% 4.6% 7.5% 2.6% Laval 2.2% 1.7% -2.3% 1.8% 5.9% 3.6% McGill 2.5% 1.8% 5.2% 2.6% 5.9% 0.6% Montréal +HEC+Poly 4.6% 5.6% 5.8% 4.8% 8.4% 5.4% Montréal 4.9% 4.6% 4.2% 4.8% 9.6% 5.8% HEC Montréal 0.7% 7.1% 2.1% 2.1% -3.6% -0.3% Polytechnique 10.6% 9.3% 16.0% 10.8% 18.0% 12.5% Sherbrooke 2.0% 26.8% 4.4% 9.2% 7.5% -0.5% Université du Québec * 2.5% 4.0% 5.2% 2.8% 7.6% 3.1% UQAC 5.7% -0.1% -5.3% 4.5% 13.4% 7.6% UQAM -0.5% -2.6% 1.4% -0.7% 3.9% 0.9% UQAR 6.1% 4.3% 7.4% 5.9% -0.6% 3.5% UQAT 1.9% 23.1% 31.4% 5.1% 3.0% -1.4% UQO 2.5% 17.2% 80.9% 5.9% 17.9% 4.4% UQTR 7.7% 9.6% 3.6% 7.8% 12.2% 5.6% ENAP s.o. 2.1% 31.1% 2.7% s.o. s.o. ÉTS 6.3% 34.9% 22.4% 10.0% 16.2% 8.4% INRS s.o. -5.0% 2.1% -1.3% s.o. s.o. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ensemble des univer- sités * 3.1% 7.0% 4.5% 3.8% 7.3% 3.0% -------------------------------------------------------------------------