Press release: FoR Vancouver Symposium 2017

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On February 20th 2017, Future of Research Vancouver is hosting a symposium for early-career researchers from British Columbia. Current job structures in science, and opportunities for funding, training, and support, make careers in research unpredictable and insecure for many of the young scientists in Canada. However, a more sustainable career environment could secure world-leading science in Canada and B.C., which will be vital to deal with the health, environmental, agricultural, and economic challenges to come.

Policies in Canada to support early-career researchers are not keeping up with those in the rest of the world. The Future of Research organization in the U.S. has successfully advocated for federal policy changes, including compliance of U.S. universities with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Without similar policy changes here in Canada, postdoctoral researchers continue to remain in a void as neither students nor employees and forfeit the benefits available to either group.

Additionally, with the changing structure and distribution of research funding in Canada, the growth and sustainability of academic research may be compromised. Recent changes in funding opportunities have disproportionately affected early-career researchers due to a shift toward funding established investigators, and several training programs, including MD/PhD fellowships, have been cut.

Future of Research Vancouver aims to discuss and develop recommendations for policy changes that are needed in Canada to retain the most promising and skilled researchers. Emerging from years of research-funding cuts under previous administrations in Canada and witnessing the current trend toward anti-truth and anti-science in the U.S., there is an opportunity for Canada to become a world leader in science and innovation. To do so, we need to recruit and retain the very best early-career scientists, which can be achieved by developing a supportive research environment.
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Speakers include:
Dr. Santa Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of British Columbia

Dr. Terry Thomas, Chief Scientific Officer, STEMCELL Technologies

Dr. Liisa Galea, Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Lara Boyd, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia

Dr. Eric Hsu, Lead for Data Science, Istuary Innovation Group

And a video message from:
Honourable Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education, British Columbia
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Sponsors for Future of Research Vancouver include:
SFU Office for Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows

UBC Postdoctoral Fellows Office

Zymeworks

Stemcell

AbCellera

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

UBC Postdoctoral Association

Genome BC

WestGrid

Mesentech

Centre for Blood Research

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The Future of Research Vancouver Symposium will be held at Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre February 20, 2017 from 1:30pm – 7:30pm. If you are interested in interviewing speakers or organizers please contact brianne.kent@ubc.ca.

Register on our Eventbrite page.

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Founded in 2014, early career researchers in Boston hosted the first Future of Research event at Boston University. Subsequent events have been held in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. Representatives from the various groups formed a national non-profit organization to advocate for change and develop recommendations for moving toward an equitable, sustainable research enterprise.

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