Call for Participants – UBC’s Response to Federal Science Review and Innovation Agenda

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Participate in UBC’s Response to Federal Science Review and Innovation Agenda

You are invited to participate in a campus-wide consultation in response to the recently announced federal government panel on innovation and review of fundamental science.  We have arranged roundtable sessions at which we would like to hear your perspectives and advice on UBC’s submission to the two federal initiatives.
Sessions are planned for both campuses, and are open to UBC faculty and staff across all disciplines.

This is an important opportunity for UBC to inform Canada’s approach to research and innovation.  I encourage you to join in this consultation, and thank you in advance for your time to participate.


Yukon conference hears of uneasy relationship between science and traditional knowledge

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Yukon conference hears of uneasy relationship between science and traditional knowledge

‘It is a battle to train young biologists to try and understand our ways of thinking’

By Philippe Morin, CBC News Posted: Sep 30, 2015 7:00 AM CT 

Billy Archie of the Aklavik Community Corporation said he's often had to re-explain his knowledge of arctic char to different biologists who come and go.

Billy Archie of the Aklavik Community Corporation said he’s often had to re-explain his knowledge of arctic char to different biologists who come and go. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Aboriginal hunters and members of wildlife management boards are in Whitehorse this week, talking about how traditional knowledge can be better incorporated into scientific research.

The Yukon government hosts the Yukon North Slope Conference every three years, in partnership with the region’s Wildlife Management Advisory Council.

One panel at the two-day conference gathered Inuvialuit harvesters from the Mackenzie Delta region of the N.W.T., who discussed their experiences with scientists and research teams.

Some had good things to say — while others described a confusing and sometimes insulting process.

Billy Archie of the Aklavik Community Corporation said he’s often had to re-explain his knowledge of arctic char, as many different biologists — working for government or universities — come and go from the region.

“I lost count now,” Archie said. “It is a battle to train young biologists to try and understand our ways of thinking and what we see.”

Douglas Esagok, an Inuvik-based director with the Inuvialuit Game Council says some academic researchers often visit communities only once.

“They come and they go and you never see them again. It’s a flash in the pan,” Esagok said.

Integrating traditional knowledge

The Yukon North Slope Conference is not looking only at the relationships between communities and visiting researchers.

There’s also a larger issue being considered — how traditional knowledge, a term which encompasses family stories, first-hand observation and even stories told over multiple generations, can be incorporated into scientific research.

‘The tendency is that scientists will listen to what’s being said and only some of that is considered valid,’ said Brenda Parlee, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Brenda Parlee, an assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, says there’s often a disconnect between the scientific community and the northerners whose lives and environment they study.

“A lot of traditional knowledge has yet to be documented in a format where it’s easily included in decision making,” Parlee said.

“The tendency is that scientists will listen to what’s being said and only some of that is considered valid.”

Parlee argues that traditional knowledge is scientifically valid and deserves more consideration.

“People have been hunting in the same places, watching the same kind of indicators, doing the same kind of land use activities for generation after generation after generation,” Parlee said.

“If you look at the litmus test for what is good rigorous science, that is good rigorous science.”

Randall Pokiak, a harvester who helped negotiate the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, said the relationship between scientists and aboriginal communities is ideally a two-way street. He said science can help explain what traditional knowledge cannot.

Randall Pokiak told the conference that communities need science to explain what traditional knowledge cannot. ‘Climate change really made a big difference,’ he said. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

“Climate change really made a big difference,” Pokiak said. “Our knowledge was good until the about the mid-1980s. After that, now we don’t know what’s happening to that changing environment.”

“We’ve got to start basically gaining some new knowledge.”

Job – Assistant Professor Science/Environmental Education, Due: Oct 15, 2015

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The Faculty of Education, University of Regina is inviting applications for a Full-time, Tenure-Track Position appointment beginning ideally May 1, 2016.

The Faculty of Education seeks an individual who can contribute to the Science and Environmental Education subject area. The Faculty has a strong orientation towards social and environmental justice issues in education and is committed to enacting the themes, vision, values and mission of the University’s Strategic Plan – peyak aski kikawinaw: Together We Are Stronger. Consistent with this orientation, the Science and Environmental Education subject area supports students to critically engage with science and environmental education practices in K-12 settings. The subject area is committed to science and environmental education inclusive of Indigenous ways of knowing.


The individual will be responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in science, environmental education and core studies, supervising undergraduate students in field experiences, supervising graduate students, assuming active involvement in collegial governance and Faculty endeavors and engaging in individual and collaborative scholarly research.


The successful individual will possess, or be near the completion of, a Ph.D. degree with a focus in science and environmental education. The individual should demonstrate successful teaching experience in K – 12 schools and university environments and have an active research agenda. Bilingualism is an asset.

Salary Range:

Depending on qualifications and experience, salary is normally in the Assistant Professor range ($81,587 – $104,371).

Starting Date: Between May 1 and July 1, 2016

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Paul Clarke, Associate Dean, Faculty Development & Human Resources, Faculty of Education E-mail:
Tel: 306-585-5353
Fax: 306-585-5330


To Apply:

Applicants should send a cover letter, current curriculum vitae, photocopies of transcripts, teaching philosophy, description of research interests and projects, and the names and contact information of three referees by October 15, 2015 to:

Dr. Jennifer Tupper, Dean Faculty of Education University of Regina
3737 Wascana Parkway Regina, SK S4S 0A2

Canadians and permanent residents will be given
Priority; however, all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. The University of Regina is committed to achieving a representative workforce. Qualified diversity
group members are encouraged to self-identify on their applications.

Survey on Science Engagement for UBC

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Survey on Science engagement for UBC

UBC would like to recommend that you take a 10-15 minute survey that gets to the heart of what it means to be a scientist/researcher (a measurement of excellence in science engagement/outreach).

A working group at the Global Young Academy (where Dr. Kai Chan is a UBC representative) is a launching a novel effort to understand how engagement is assessed in our jobs and how we perceive it. It also seeks to assess how these perceptions about engagement, measurement, and importance, differ between researchers and their managers/heads of department, etc.
Link for university, government, NGO and industry staff with a PhD:
Link for students and postdocs:

Jobs – Graduate Research Assistant Opportunities – UBC Faculty of Science, Due: June 26, 2015.

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Graduate Research Assistant Opportunities – UBC Faculty of Science

GRA for the Writing Across the Curriculum Program and GRA for new courses in the Department of Chemistry

The GRA is expected (but not limited to) to do the following duties:

  • Review literature to gather published attitudinal surveys of similar nature to help guide the survey development process
  • Develop the survey tool (which may include the adaption of statements from existing surveys)
  • Run interviews to validate the survey
  • Finalize the survey for full implementation
  • Administer the survey and analyze data
  • Organize and conduct focus groups
  • Summarize focus group data
  • Other duties as assigned

Hours may be negotiated depending on availability; pay will be commensurate with experience. Interested candidates should submit their resume and cover letter to by June 26th, 2015. In your cover letter, please indicate if you are interested in the Writing Across the Curriculum Project, the new courses in the Department of Chemistry project, or both.

For more information regarding either of these positions and for necessary qualifications please click here.

Job – Assistant Professor Science Education – McGill University, Apr 24, 2015

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Assistant Professor Science Education – McGill University

McGill University is seeking to fill a joint tenure-track position in the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Science. The candidate will be expected to develop a nationally recognized research program of excellence in science education with a view to attracting and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students who will contribute to enhancing the teaching of science at all educational levels.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in a field of science (physical, earth, life, or natural resource or environmental sciences) or Ed.D/Ph.D. in education that includes a strong science background. They must also propose a strong and innovative research agenda that addresses significant topics in science education.

A dossier should be sent electronically no later than 24 April 2015 to: Michael Canavan, Administrative Officer at: please enter “Science ED SEARCH” and your name in the subject field.

For more information on duties and how to apply please visit:

Funding – Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowship, Due Feb 13, 2015

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Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowship

The Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowships are available to Canadian citizens engaged in or about to start doctoral studies in Chemistry, Physics, or Electronics (including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) at UBC.

Annual Value: $6,000

Deadline: Friday, February 13, 2015

Please see the Graduate Awards website for more detailed information and application procedures:

Our contact at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for this competition is Joanne Tsui:

DNA analysis of sweet potatoes suggests that Polynesians reached Americas before Europeans

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New DNA analysis of sweet potatoes, which were first cultivated in the Americas, suggests that Polynesians reached the New World long before Columbus.

The prevailing theory about the “rediscovery” of the American continents used to be such a simple tale. Most people are familiar with it: In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Then that theory was complicated when, in 1960, archaeologists discovered a site in Canada’s Newfoundland, called L’Anse aux Meadows, which proved that Norse explorers likely beat Columbus to the punch by about 500 years.
Now startling new DNA evidence promises to complicate the story even more. It turns out that it was not Columbus or the Norse — or any Europeans at all — who first rediscovered the Americas. It was actually the Polynesians.
All modern Polynesian peoples can trace their origins back to a sea-migrating Austronesian people who were the first humans to discover and populate most of the Pacific islands, including lands as far-reaching as Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island. Despite the Polynesians’ incredible sea-faring ability, however, few theorists have been willing to say that Polynesians could have made it as far east as the Americas. That is, until now. Read More…