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Wednesday, June 28, 2000

  • Research funding up 24 per cent
  • IBM fetes UW's winning team
  • Events in the middle of the week

[Gesturing at lectern]
John Hepburn of the chemistry department is the subject of a full-page article in today's Gazette and has some provocative things to say about research: "It's very difficult to justify what it is that we do at a university. There are some things that are easy to understand. We train people, they get degrees, they go out in the work force and get productive jobs. . . . The same thing happens with university research. It's easy to justify the Oxford English Dictionary project, or somebody in civil engineering designing better roads. Those are things the public can understand. So, you tend to tell those things to the public."

Research funding up 24 per cent

A total of $75.9 million in research grants, contracts and other research-related income came to UW in the past year, says the annual statistical report from the office of research. That's up 24.1 per cent from the previous year's figure of $61.1 million.

The report analyzes money that came in between April 1, 1999, and March 31, 2000, for a total of 1,909 projects, including 1,291 grants, 346 contracts, 38 payments for licence fees and royalties, and 272 other items.

It's the third straight year to show an increase in research funding at UW, after funding that was essentially stable from 1992 to 1996 and then dropped sharply in 1997. Among the reasons for the increase is funding from three new agencies: the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund and the Ontario Innovation Trust, which altogether provided $14.2 million.

More than half the money summarized in the report -- $43.9 million -- arrived in the form of research grants, with the federal government being by far the biggest source. The single biggest part of UW's research funding continues to be grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, but the total this year was only about 27 per cent of the total, or $20.3 million.

For contracts, on the other hand, which added up to $27.6 million, the Ontario government was the largest source.

The report shows that the faculty of science brought in more funding than any of the others again this year -- about $31 million. Engineering was in second place with about $19 million, followed by mathematics with $14 million. The departments with the most research funding were chemistry ($10.7 million), computer science ($10.2 million), earth sciences ($8.2 million), electrical and computer engineering ($6.7 million), optometry ($6.4 million), mechanical engineering ($4.6 million), and health studies and gerontology ($4.1 million).

UW's revenue from software sales and royalties was $462,000 -- part of the $4.3 million that came from those 272 "other" accounts.

Where did the money go? Salaries and benefits (technicians, graduate research assistants and other people working on research projects) took 52 per cent of the total; equipment and furnishings, 13 per cent. The rest went to supplies, travel, indirect costs and scholarships and bursaries.

IBM fetes UW's winning team

IBM Canada Ltd. will hold a special awards reception as well as a night on the town in Toronto today to honour the UW student team that placed second in the world in the Association for Computing Machinery programming finals earlier this year.

A limousine will pick up the undergraduate team members -- Donny Cheung, Ondrej Lhotak and Jeff Shute -- and the team's coach, computer science professor Gordon Cormack, at 2:00 at the front entrance of the Davis Centre. They will travel to the IBM Toronto Lab in the Yonge and Eglinton area, where they will each receive a Thinkpad laptop at the awards reception.

After a tour of IBM labs, they'll dine at The Coloured Stone and spend the evening at the Playdium in downtown Toronto.

In the ACM world finals held in Orlando in March, UW's team emerged as North American champions, beaten only by a team from Russia's St. Petersburg State University. UW's team won the contest held last year in the Netherlands, beating out 62 teams, and UW also brought home the world trophy in 1994. For this year's finals, the top 60 teams were selected in regional competitions from a field of more than 2,400.

Events in the middle of the week

They should be finishing up breakfast in South Campus Hall just about now. The audience is members of the UW President's Circle "and friends", that is, high-end givers to UW's fund-raising campaigns. The speaker is Beth Weckman, a combustion expert in the mechanical engineering department, speaking on "Fire: Unravelling the Mystery".

In the co-op department, acceptance-of-employment meetings continue (for students who were matched with fall term jobs, earlier this week), and the "continuous" phase of job postings also continues (for those who weren't).

And the career development workshop series continues. Today at 1:30: "Self-Assessment, Occupational Research, Information Interviews and Career Decision-Making".

At 12 noon today, the Employee Assistance Program presents a talk on "Renting to Students: What You Need to Know". "The topic will include information on the Tenant Protection Act, the rights and responsibilities of landlord and tenants, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of leases or boarders." The speaker is UW ombudsperson Marianne Miller; the location is Math and Computer room 1085.

A software engineering seminar starts at 2:15 this afternoon in Math and Computer room 6091A. The speaker: Martin Glinz, of the University of Zürich, Switzerland, on "A Lightweight Approach to Consistency of Scenarios and Class Models".

"3rd Party", an experimental play, continues tonight in the Graduate House, with performances at 7:00 and again at 9:30. The show is put on by a "collective" of eight students who, a news release says, "worked in an improvisational setting to create characters and relationships and placed them in the same setting of an engagement party. After extensive rehearsals, the performers scripted their scenes and the delicate art of timing began. Since the actors travel from room to room, dialogue and action must be carefully choreographed." Admission is $8 at the door.

Tomorrow, the teaching resources and continuing education office presents a workshop under the title "Teaching Dossiers, Part 2". Says an abstract:

The teaching philosophy is a critical component of the teaching dossier, but it is also the most difficult to articulate. At this workshop, you will learn more about the goals of a teaching philosophy and a variety of tools that you can use to help you uncover what teaching means to you. We will do an interactive metaphor exercise to demonstrate one of the tools and then we will analyze sample teaching philosophy statements.

To prepare for this workshop, please decide on a metaphor that describes you as a teacher (i.e., gardener, architect, travel guide, sheep dog). Bring this metaphor with you to use in a group exercise.

The workshop is open to all UW instructors and is the second of two required workshops for those pursuing the Certificate in University Teaching.

The workshop will start at 3 p.m. in Biology II room 350. Participants should register in advance, on the web or with the TRACE office at ext. 3132.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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