May 20, 1999 Vol . 15, No. 3

100 per cent success rate in NSERC awards

SFU is adding three more female scientists to its faculty of science, thanks to its 100 per cent success rate in a national competition sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

According to Charmaine Dean, the director of statistics in SFU's faculty of science, "SFU's results in the annual competition for the University Faculty Awards (UFA) will have a huge impact on female representation in our faculty. Currently, it has one female full professor, Kathy Heinrich, a previous NSERC UFA winner. With this year's UFAs, the faculty will have one more female full professor and two additional female assistant professors to add to our current 12 female associate and assistant professors."

Commenting on SFU's success rate in the competition for the 1999 UFAs which was four times higher than the national average of 26 per cent, Bruce Clayman, SFU VP-research, says, "The fact that three UFA winners wanted to join SFU's faculty of science points to the attractiveness of our teaching and research environment. The new female faculty members will provide superb role models for our female undergraduate and graduate students and increase the chances of interesting them in science and engineering careers."

NSERC funds scientific and engineering research at Canadian universities. The federal government agency's UFA program is designed to increase the representation of women in faculty positions in the natural sciences and engineering at universities nationally.

The program subsidizes the appointment of promising women researchers to tenured or tenure-track positions. Eligible recipients must be nominated by Canadian universities. Females currently hold about 12 per cent of natural science faculty positions across Canada.

Each UFA provides $40,000 in annual salary support for up to five years, as well as a substantial grant. This year NSERC handed out 19 UFAs worth a total of $3.75 million.

Overall, the largest number of faculty awards went to SFU and Dalhousie-each is hiring three women.

SFU's 1999 UFA winners are: Erika Plettner, Jinko Graham, and Karen Kavanagh (see stories).

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