Volume 95, Issue 95

Thursday, March 4, 2002
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Mideast violence hurts universities

Science happy, arts not so happy

The chem lab, the chem lab, the chem lab was on fire

Soon more places to have sex in library

Students fly high

Last Chance U. has cheetahs

Silly colleges, trying to be more like us

News Briefs

Science happy, arts not so happy

By Daren Lin
Gazette Staff

The Canadian government announced $84 million in scholarship and fellowship funding for natural science and engineering students last Thursday. While the science world rejoiced, those in social sciences and humanities expressed frustration.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada holds an annual competition for students, awarding winners with research funding, explained to NSERC spokesman Arnet Sheppard.

The federal budget allotment for NSERC student awards has increased by roughly 10 per cent this year, Sheppard added.

Cedric Briens, associate dean of research for Western's faculty of engineering, said the funding will help his faculty recruit and retain engineering students to conduct research.

Duncan Hunter, associate dean of research for Western's faculty of science, said NSERC – the base funding resource for Canadian science researchers – also provides 90 per cent of his faculty's research funding.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada spokeswoman Dore Dunne said although the SSHRC received the same percentage increase to their total budget, the actual dollar amounts are far from equal.

"Traditionally, SSHRC only gets 11-12 per cent of the federal research money," she said, adding NSERC received a $36 million increase while SSHRC received $9.5 million.

Jessie Greener, VP-external for Western's Society of Graduate Students, said he is uncomfortable with the federal government's willingness to fund science and engineering over the humanities and social science.

"In Canada, 11.5 per cent of research money goes to SSHRC which has 53 per cent of researchers," said Paul Ledwell, executive director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.

As a result, SSHRC cannot support masters' students and can only extend minimal support to doctoral candidates, he said. Ledwell said he believes an equitable research grant success rate is in line.

"Although research in the humanities and the social sciences may not reap so immediate or visible returns, they are essential in creating an educated citizenry that understands and can address social, political and economic issues in our society," he said.

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