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Wednesday, April 18, 2001

  • Businesses urge $500 million investment
  • This week's positions available
  • And a little of this and that

[Three blue-fronted cabinets]
UW's most powerful computer was turned on yesterday in the Math Faculty Computing Facility on the third floor of the Math and Computer building. The Origin 3800 from Silicon Graphics has 40 processors which can be run together as a single system, and is equipped with 20 gigabytes of memory. Bought with funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust, as well as an in-kind donation from the manufacturer, it will be used for research in multiprocessor program languages, chemical research into molecular models, and other work that requires high-performance computing.

Businesses urge $500 million investment

Leaders from high-tech businesses have again called on the federal government to invest $500 million over the next five years "to make Canada a magnet for the highly qualified people necessary to sustain the growth projected for their industry".

The call comes from eMPOWR, a technology lobby group created last fall. UW president David Johnston is one of three co-chairs of the organization.

In its latest news release, eMPOWR says the half-billion dollars "will be used to invest in the professors, students, laboratory infrastructure and R&D initiatives to ensure Canada maintains its leadership in microelectronics, photonics, opto-electronics, wireless and radio-electronics. These segments of the IT industry are currently accountable for 28 per cent of private sector research and development. And they have a strong track record of commercializing research discoveries, using them to build new products and services and world-renowned enterprises. . . .

"Yet, in spite of the Government's express intent to focus on commercializable R&D, these sectors are woefully under-represented in the current round of investments through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canada Research Chairs. Less than 3 per cent of the latter, for example, are going to professors teaching in these fields."

"We're calling on the government to make a strategic choice about where to invest," said Kirk Mandy, vice chairman of Mitel Corporation. "Canada has a superb global reputation in fields like photonics and microelectronics. The industry has made a huge contribution to building that reputation. But we can't sustain it on our own. We're asking the government to meet us half way."

The industry estimates that its investment in producing highly qualified people will amount to at least $500 million over the next five years. "This investment will take the form of university endowments, the creation of labs and faculty positions, cash grants to support university research, scholarships and internships, contributions to provincial programs, staff secondments to learning institutions as well as diverse contributions of equipment, technology, service and staff."

[eMPOWR logo] "Our industry is facing a critical shortage of the highly qualified people with the brain power to innovate and create," said Terry Matthews, founder of Newbridge and chairman and CEO of March Networks. Canadian universities graduate less than a third of the people the industry needs, he said, "and the situation is only going to get worse."

eMPOWR describes itself as "an initiative between the private sector and 20 universities to increase Canada's resource of highly qualified people". The "e" in its name stands for "electronic", naturally, and the rest of the name represents "the key enabling and emerging technologies of Microelectronics, Photonics/Optoelectronics, and Wireless/Radio engineering".

The organization is asking for "sufficient government investment" to triple the number of Canadian professors in the appropriate disciplines over the next five years, establish Canada as a magnet for world-class minds from all around the world, and "create an environment where knowledge clusters can thrive in multiple locations throughout Canada".

This week's positions available

Since there is no Gazette issue this week, here's a summary of the weekly Positions Available list issued by the human resources department.

"University Policy 18," says HR, "provides maximum opportunity for promotion of regular, internal staff members. Those interested in applying for an available position are invited to call Human Resources at ext. 2524 for more information or are welcome to visit during regular working hours to view a detailed job description. Human Resources is located in the General Services Complex, Room 130. A current resume is required with your application.

"Due to the number of applications received, we regret that we can not respond to external applicants who apply to the vacancies listed below unless an interview is scheduled.

"If there are no qualified internal applications, a decision may be made, no earlier than seven working days from the job posting, to seek external candidates. All applications received after this decision will be treated on an equal basis, without consideration of the internal status of the candidate."

Full job descriptions are available on the human resources web site.

And more from HR: "The university welcomes and encourages applications from the designated employment equity groups: visible minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and aboriginal people. For more information call ext. 2524."

And a little of this and that

The position of "director of admissions", in that Positions Available list, is there because of the retirement of Judy Awbury, as of April 1. A staff member at UW since 1985 -- first in the faculty of science and then in the registrar's office -- she has been director of admissions services since 1997. But for most of that time she's been assigned to the Student Information Systems Project, while assistant registrar Peter Burroughs has been filling in at the admissions desk.

The 34th annual Descartes Mathematics Contest will be written today by an estimated 10,000 high school students across Canada. It's used in assessing applicants to UW math programs and awarding scholarships.

Central stores will hold a sale of surplus UW property from 11:30 to 1:30 today at East Campus Hall.

"We are having another movie night," writes Chris White of the International Students Association. "This time it is a classic '80s American movie -- 'St. Elmo's Fire'. It involves a bunch of people who've recently graduated from university and are figuring out what to do with their lives. We thought that it would be appropriate given the time of year." The showing is tonight at 8:30 at the Graduate House. "All are invited."

Scheduled for tomorrow are four more presentations by graduate students working on the Certificate in University Teaching. Their topics range from "Teaching Writing to University Students" to "Problem-Based Learning in a Clinical Nutrition Internship Program"; the presentations will start at 9:30 a.m. in Math and Computer room 5158.

And finally, a small correction: in the April 5 Daily Bulletin, I referred to Elizabeth Witmer as MPP for "Waterloo". In fact, her riding is Kitchener-Waterloo.

CAR


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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