International science ‘superstar’ walks away from $10-million grant

Published: November 14, 2012

Diabetes researcher Patrick Rorsman gave up $10-million research post at the University of Alberta and returned to England. Credit: UofA

By Margaret Munro
Postmedia News
A European scientist widely described as a “superstar” when he was lured to Alberta with $10 million from the federal government, has aborted his Canadian experiment.

After just seven months at the University of Alberta, Patrik Rorsman returned to England, forfeiting his $10-million Canada Excellence Research Chair.

Rorsman was one of 19 foreign men awarded lucrative deals at Canadian universities in 2010 as part of a $190-million Canada Excellence Research Chair program, the federal government’s ambitious science talent drive. Continue reading →

When federal cuts kill thousands of living things; Across Canada, scientists are aghast at cuts

Ottawa Citizen Mon May 14 2012

By Margaret Munro 

Federal cuts are a life-and-death issue for Lynne Sigler.

As curator of one of Canada’s largest collections of fungi, Sigler has 11,500 strains of living organisms under her care, from the fungi killing North American bats with white nose syndrome to soil microbes that help rare orchids thrive.

The microfungus collection and herbarium at the University of Alberta has been nurturing fungi for more than 50 years. And since 1990 it has been considered a “unique” national resource worthy of federal money.

No more. Funding for the collection, and dozens of other “major” and “unique” science facilities and resources across Canada, has been hit by federal cuts in what is being described as a “disaster” for Canadian science.

“It’s very dismaying,” Sigler says of a moratorium the federal government has slapped on the program that pays for the technician and supplies that help keep the fungus collection alive. Continue reading →