Jun 26, 2003

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NSERC approval rate rises
SFU VP-research Bruce Clayman is pleased with the university's overall success rate in the most recent competition for operating grants offered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Sixty one of 66 applications were approved, a 92.4 per cent success rate, versus last year's 83.1 per cent. The total value of new discovery grants at SFU is $2.14 million.

Province awards $1.8 million for reserach
Researchers at SFU have been awarded almost $1.8 million in provincial grants to advance their research in the fields of health and high-tech development. The B.C. knowledge development fund will provide capital funding for research and facilities for nine SFU projects, including: $529,169 for a facility to conduct research in X-ray crystallography and biophysics that will determine the three-dimensional structure of proteins; $200,000 to establish a nuclear magnetic resonance facility; $199,992 for a laboratory to research visual functioning; $198,000 to establish a centre that will research cell and developmental biology; and $190,000 toward a centre for injury prevention, mobility and aging. The Canada Foundation for Innovation, as well as private contributors, are also supporting the projects.

Gill wins volunteer award
Ginjeet (Gina) Gill, who graduated in October 2002 with a bachelor of science from SFU, is the recent winner of a Volunteer Vancouver leaders of tomorrow award. Gill, who enters UBC's medical school in September, has volunteered since 1995 with the Surrey Memorial hospital, Canadian Blood Services, Northwest Care centre and the Indo-Canadian society as a fundraiser, activities coordinator and event planner. At SFU, Gill volunteered with the faculty of science mentorship program and she continues to volunteer with the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology.

Success rate drops
SFU grad students did not fare quite as well in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council's (NSERC) 2003-04 competition for scholarships as they did the previous year. While the national success rate for lower level graduate students (first-second; second-third year) applying for NSERC postgraduate scholarships was 60 per cent, the success rate at SFU was 56 per cent (39 applications at SFU). That's down from an 87 per cent success rate at SFU last year, when the national success rate was 68 per cent.

The success rate of SFU candidates competing for upper level scholarships (third-fourth; fourth-fifth year) matched the national average, 60 per cent (20 applications at SFU). It was down from a 67 per cent success rate at SFU last year.

In the last five years, SFU's aggregate performance in both scholarships has exceeded the overall national success rate three times. A SFU graduate studies committee handpicks the university's entrants for the national competitions, based on their internal academic ranking. Two of 10 doctoral graduates who applied for NSERC postdoctoral fellowships at SFU this year were successful. The national success rate was 32 per cent. Lower level postgraduate scholarships are valued at $17,300 annually. Upper level at $19,100 annually and postdoctoral fellowships at $35,000 annually.

In the June 12 issue of SFU News, Michelle Haskins was incorrectly reported as having earned a master of arts degree rather than a master of science degree.

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