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Friday, April 26, 2002

  • More money for Innovate Inc.
  • About those 47-cent dollars
  • Happenings today and this weekend
Chris Redmond

Massacre at Guernica, 65 years ago

[Innovate logo points to microphone]

Jacques Lyrette, vice-president of the National Research Council, who signed the Innovate agreement on behalf of NRC, speaks at a Wednesday celebration of the "platinum" partnership.

More money for Innovate Inc. -- from the UW news bureau

The Business Development Bank of Canada and the National Research Council have signed a joint agreement to become "platinum investor members" of UW Innovate Inc. This $250,000 membership, to be shared equally by BDC and the NRC, will be disbursed at a rate of $50,000 per year for the next five years.

"We welcome the joint support of BDC and NRC," said Doug Sparkes, director of UW Innovate Inc. "Not only will this partnership support our programs, but it will also give credibility to Innovate Inc. and its unique approach to supporting entrepreneurship and creating new ventures out of a university community."

The goal of UW Innovate Inc., a company recently launched by UW, is to provide a unique approach to commercializing intellectual property generated within the university community via "pre-incubation." These pre-incubation activities will build upon and reinforce university policy concerning intellectual property, and the UW mandate to transfer knowledge and technologies. The company is wholly owned by the university and based on campus.

"We are very proud to join forces with the National Research Council in this partnership initiative thus encouraging and nurturing entrepreneurial activities within the University of Waterloo in itself and the community at large," said Michel Vennat, president and CEO of the Business Development Bank of Canada. "This agreement will facilitate the emergence of innovative product and service ideas which will certainly contribute to the growth of the Canadian economy," he added.

BDC and NRC, both federal government agencies, "have a tradition of collaboration to further the commercialization of research and this particular partnership will enhance the entrepreneurial activities at the University of Waterloo," said Jacques Lyrette, vice-president, technology and industry support, of NRC. "Our common objective is to bring research results to the commercialization phase as quickly as possible to create spin-offs and start-up companies."

NRC is involved in the commercialization of university research through its Industrial Research Assistance Program, which has funded 42 per cent of university spin-offs in Canada. IRAC is a federal catalyst that links a diverse network of institutions, organizations and programs to help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop and exploit technology in a competitive, knowledge-based economy. The NRC is the federal government agency that supports scientific research, development and innovation in every region of Canada.

The Business Development Bank of Canada is a financial institution wholly owned by the government of Canada. BDC plays a leadership role in delivering financial, investment and consulting services to Canadian small business, with a particular focus on the technology and export sectors of the economy.

About those 47-cent dollars

The National Post reported this week that
The Ontario government quietly told university administrators last week that it will provide only $25.8-million to cover the cost of enrolment growth this year, less than half of what the universities expected. . . .

"We have a serious problem. It's like you enter into some sort of understanding that there will be a certain amount of dollars flowing in our direction if you take in more students," Amit Chakma, vice-president academic and provost at the University of Waterloo, said yesterday. "Now, we're getting 47 cents on the dollar."

The news isn't all that startling, really, as universities have feared all this year that they wouldn't be getting "full-cost funding" for the latest round of enrolment increases. UW president David Johnston has regularly quoted the 47-cent figure publicly.

But it's seen as a slap in the face to institutions that are trying to absorb a tidal wave of students. Bob Rosehart, president of Wilfrid Laurier University, said he wanted an apology after reading one government comment reported in the Post:

Bruce Skeaff, a senior ministry spokesman, said the government has upheld its commitments. "We've funded them based on the projections of enrolment; the $25.8-million was based on their projections and they got that money. We've done our part in paying for what was projected."
After all, university leaders say, they weren't the cause of the baby boom echo and the double cohort, both of which are putting pressure on university admissions. The demand for more university spaces is coming from students, parents and the government.

A year ago, Dianne Cunningham, minister of training, colleges and universities, told the Ontario legislature that "when we decided to implement a new four-year high school program we made a promise that we would provide the funds needed to ensure our colleges and universities were prepared to meet the increased enrolment demands created, in part, by the double cohort." With an announcement of extra funding to keep up with enrolment projections for 2001, 2002 and 2003, she said, "We have kept the promise we made to parents and students."

The province said it would increase its university grants by 1.6 per cent in 2001, 3.9 per cent in 2002, and then 13.2 per cent in 2003-04, the year the "double cohort" was expected to put sudden enrolment pressure on the campuses. But enrolment went up 3.4 per cent last fall, not just 1.6 per cent, as the double cohort tide began to roll in early. Applications are up even more for this coming fall, and UW has already said it will increase admissions to help meet the demand.

As a result, the $28.5 million that was provided to cover the cost of the new students across Ontario ended up covering not quite half of it, and universities have been asking the government for more.

And as the government asked universities to rethink their enrolment plans to make room for even more young people, institutions have been responding that plans for enrolment expansion over the next two years will depend on the government's credibility in providing full-cost funding. Chakma told UW's senate in February, for example, that there's "one big assumption" behind all such planning: "That the government will live up to its promise of full funding for the growth."

Thanks to various collisions between the formula and the actual enrolment, UW officials estimate that one-tenth of this university's students don't bring in government grants. "Ontario has failed to provide full funding for all students currently enrolled in the university system," Chakma said in his budget memo this spring. "For Waterloo, this means approximately 10% of students do not generate any funding from the government and represents an estimated annual shortfall of $8M."

He told the senate finance committee that a vital line in the budget, representing government grants, is still based on guesswork -- the prediction that government funding for the cost of increasing enrolment will end up at 75 per cent of the real cost in the coming year. That would be short of the 100 per cent promise, but well ahead of the past year's 47 per cent.

Power shutdown tomorrow

Most of the campus will be without electrical power all day tomorrow, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., as work is done to install new high-voltage services.

As a result, pretty much everything will be closed, including the libraries and the stores of retail services. The shutdown covers the southern half of the campus, including the science buildings, Needles Hall, and all of arts and engineering -- but not the Davis Centre, Math and Computer, the Student Life Centre or buildings north of there.

"Waterloo Polaris and Waterloo Nexus will be unavailable for most of this weekend," writes Erick Engelke of engineering computing. "Waterloo Nexus office users will be able to log in and work locally on their workstations as long as there is power in their offices. But certain applications, such as e-mail, will not be functional at times. Faculty file servers, authentication servers, e-mail servers, web servers, etc., will be turned off earlier in the weekend in anticipation of the outage, and will be turned on following the outage."

Much of the library's electronic service won't be available, but the Trellis catalogue database will continue to be available through a direct URL, trellis1.tug-libraries.on.ca. "We expect to have full library services and resources available by the time the Porter and Davis libraries open at 12:00 noon on Sunday," writes systems manager Linda Teather.

And I have a message from a graduate student living in the Minota Hagey Residence who isn't too happy about the prospect of managing "without kitchens, hot water, lights, computers and so on" all day tomorrow. "We think this represents not only a nuisance, but also a safety risk (no lights inside the residence during the night)." He advises students who are still living on campus -- and yes, there are some -- to be very careful tomorrow.

Everywhere on campus that's likely to be affected by the shutdown, it would be smart to turn off computers as people leave for the weekend.

Happenings today and this weekend

A correction first: I said yesterday that orientation for next fall's residence dons was taking place this weekend in Ron Eydt Village. Well, the word "dons" was correct, anyway. The current orientation session is for spring term dons, and it's being held in Mackenzie King Village, since REV is under construction just now.

The undergraduate calendar for 2002-03 is now available on the web. Paper copies will be available "in a few weeks", says Bonnie Lee Bender of the registrar's office.

Music at the Hildegard Marsden Co-op day care centre will be a little above the Skinamarink level today. Members of the K-W Symphony will be there at 9:45 this morning to perform for kids from Marsden and the nearby Clemmer day care.

Hot and cold water will be shut off from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Davis Centre, the plant operations department warns.

The Guelph-Waterloo Center for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry will hold its annual general meeting, seminar, graduate student poster session and awards presentation today. Events take place in the Davis Centre. The keynote talk is "Surface Elecrochemistry -- Surface Science with a Joy Stick", starring Guelph's Jacek Lipkowski, at 3:00 in Davis Centre room 1301. Everyone is welcome.

Here's a reminder that the bookstore, the computer store, Techworx at both locations, and the UW Shop are closed today for inventory.

UW Place (formerly the Married Student Apartments, for those with short memories) will hold its annual spring yard sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The event takes place in the playground, just off Seagram Drive. "There will be treats and movies for the kids to enjoy while their parents wander around," writes residence life coordinator Will Pascoe. "People from the University of Waterloo and the surrounding community are welcome to attend."

A funeral service for John Lam, one of the two engineering students killed in a car crash on Bearinger Road last Friday, will be held on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at North York Chinese Baptist Church, Don Mills Branch, 99 Scarsdale Road, in Toronto (phone 416-446-0088).

Former students of Merrick Jarrett's "traditional folk music" course at Conrad Grebel College, which he taught from 1974 to 1991, are invited -- along with other friends and fans -- to a concert Sunday afternoon in celebration of Jarrett's life-long contribution to folk music. He'll be performing himself along with friends ("a few famous ones, too") and former students. The concert, a benefit for the HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre, will start at 2 p.m. Sunday at Waterloo North Mennonite Church on Benjamin Road; tickets ($15 regular, $10 student, $5 child) are available at the door.

The Waterloo Potters' Workshop, which involves many people with UW ties, will hold its spring sale this weekend at the Waterloo Recreation Complex between campus and downtown. The sale operates from 1:00 to 9:30 today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

This weekend in the Humanities Theatre: the Rhythm Dance Festival continues today and tomorrow; a "Croatian celebration" is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

And a couple of promises for next week:



April 26, 1969: After debate, students' council agrees that students will take part in the search for a UW president to succeed Gerry Hagey.

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