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Presentation - September 25, 2014

Speech
Economic Club of Canada – Ottawa

Paul Davidson
President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Check against delivery

[Greetings]

Thank you David, and thank you to the Economic Club.

It is great to see so many friends of higher education, research and innovation here.

En français, one speaks of this time of year as “La Rentrée” – the return – back-to-school, back-to-Parliament, back-to-work. It is good to be back. The work we are all doing together is important to Canada.

One iconic image of “La Rentrée” is the yellow school bus picking up students and taking them to school. It is a reminder that Canada’s public education system, publicly funded, publicly delivered, and open to all is one of Canada’s great competitive advantages. And one of our greatest achievements.

And I want to speak both of achievement and ambition today.

Let me start with a question this afternoon. How many of you have just seen a child off to university or college? It’s a peculiar mix of pride and panic, isn’t it?

Paul Davidson President of AUCC Economic Club Speech September 25 2014

Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

You probably had some advice for your new student. I have three sons — one in university and two completing high school. I know the temptation. Your advice was probably based on your own experience.

I’m in a bit of a unique position as head of AUCC. I’ve visited over 80 campuses across the country. I’ve met with students, professors and administrators and I’ve walked through their labs, sat in their lecture halls and, yes, eaten the on-campus food.

I’ve heard about their successes and where they need help. Even in just five years at the helm of AUCC, I have seen tremendous change and growth on university campuses across the country.

It’s all with an unwavering focus: to equip students with the critical thinking and knowledge-based skills they will need to launch their careers and contribute to this great country.

As for the advice we’re giving our children, I’ll let you in on a secret. If you have a kid old enough to be in university, your own university experience will not resemble theirs in any way.

Let’s go back to the 1980s.

Ferris Bueller and his friends were heading off to university. They were using landlines, electric typewriters or maybe a Commodore 64.

Research was done almost exclusively in the library or lab.

As for me, I had left my family home in Toronto landing down the highway at Trent University in Peterborough. While it felt like a different world, let’s be honest. The language, food and basic culture really didn’t demand that much of an adjustment.

Times have changed. To help illustrate that, we are fortunate to have with us this afternoon a group of high school students and teachers from the Ottawa area. A special welcome to you.

Yes, we are all looking at you now, and, again, as a dad, I know how awkward that is. But I do want to provide a picture of where you might be headed. You are probably thinking about what to do after high school. If university is on your mind, you may be worried about exams, marks, and competition to get into the program you want.

You may also be struggling with making a choice. Do you stay close to home or do you cross the country? Humanities or science? On or off campus? Co-op or concurrent?

Let me help you out with your decision. The answer to all of those questions is yes.

Il n’y a pas de mauvais choix. Les universités canadiennes offrent plus de souplesse et d’options que jamais. Elles n’ont jamais été plus visionnaires qu’aujourd’hui.

À l’université, vous allez fréquenter d’autres étudiants et des professeurs du monde entier. Plus de la moitié d’entre vous pourrez faire des stages ou vivre des expériences à l’étranger, qui vous prépareront à votre carrière. Vous allez développer votre esprit critique, vos capacités à rédiger et à raisonner. Vous allez participer à des activités de recherche, qui vous seront utiles sur le marché du travail et qu’on n’aurait jamais pu imaginer.

Our kids may create businesses or work in fields that don’t yet exist. As they move forward, they’ll need labour market data from reliable and reputable sources to help make future career and course decisions. Decisions that are based on facts.

I didn’t ask our students in the room if you are worried about jobs. I’ll bet your parents have thought about that.

Some people would have you believe that there are no jobs for university grads. That you’ll be painfully underemployed. It’s a myth. It’s a corrosive myth.

Over the last six years, more than twice as many net new jobs were created for university grads than for college and trades grads combined. During their careers, university graduates will earn $1.3 million more than graduates of high school. And yes, a high income advantage is shared by arts grads.

That’s not to say that Canada doesn’t need all kinds of postsecondary graduates to build our economy and society – apprentices, colleges and polytechnics, and university.

In fact, I’m pleased to say that in just a few days, Canada’s university and college leaders will sign a new agreement to strengthen the collaboration, partnerships and pathways among our institutions.

Because we need to harness the talent of all Canadians to be successful in the 21st century.

How else have universities changed since the 1980’s? Far more students are gaining experience through co-ops. Right now, there are more than 1,000 co-op programs at 59 Canadian universities.

Today’s students recognize that co-ops and internships are one of the best paths to the labour market. Enrolment in those programs has jumped by 25 percent in recent years from 53,000 to more than 65,000 students.

Some of these students will do several co-ops or internships. Vanessa Stofer, a BA writing graduate of the University of Victoria, tells us she discovered what she did not want to do through one of her first co-op placements. That’s a valuable lesson. Her next placement hit the mark. She was hired by the employer, and is now doing what she loves, telling the stories of an organization she believes in.

We know that a significant percentage of co-op students are offered employment by their placement host. Employers have had a chance to “test drive” a potential hire. They know the skill set and have already invested in training the candidate on the corporate culture and job requirements.

You’ll also have access to research internships that benefit not just students and employers, but whole communities.

Megan MacGillivray is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. She has a wealth of experience in the lab, but was looking for some practical applications.

Mitacs is a not-for-profit research outfit that connects organizations with student interns.

Through Mitacs, Megan worked with SideStix Ventures Inc.. It’s a very small B.C. company that makes forearm crutches. They’re commonly used by people who have had an amputation that won’t accommodate a prosthetic leg.

SideStix had developed a new crutch that has built-in shock absorbers – similar to a mountain bike. But the company had limited funds for research. That’s pretty common for a small venture.

Through Mitacs, SideStix had access to Megan’s expertise and Megan learned real world applications.

Megan’s research showed that the crutch helped users to walk farther with less pain.

The project had benefits for all sides. Sales went up. More importantly, users of forearm crutches gained from an advance in technology.

Megan’s story is just one example of student, university and community collaboration that makes a difference for all of us.

What else is new? Canada’s universities conduct nearly $1 billion of contract research for the private sector each year. They also conduct more than $1 billion of research a year with community and non-profit groups, particularly in the area of health.

We all benefit from the results, whether it’s a new procedure for joint replacements, a more accurate means of testing water quality or a clearer interpretation of our history. Canada’s universities are not isolated in some distant, ivory tower. They are in your community finding solutions every day.

It takes a series of investments in discovery and research, graduate student support and infrastructure to make that happen. Canada’s granting councils are essential to our success. Having state-of-the-art equipment and tools makes a difference. Those tools include laboratories, databases, computer hardware and software, and facilities.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation was created by the Government of Canada to build the country’s capacity for world-class research and technology development. Its support has helped advance leading- edge research in everything from skin-sensitive sunscreen to earthquake-resistant retaining walls.

Ongoing, sustainable funding for research and research infrastructure will ensure that Canada’s researchers excel, our students develop the research skills they need, and that Canada continues to attract top researchers from around the world.

Un financement soutenu et prévisible de la recherche, contribuera à préserver la dynamique existante, à créer davantage d’emplois de grande qualité, à renforcer la position du Canada dans l’économie actuelle du savoir. Il contribuera à doter les étudiants des compétences en recherche dont ils auront besoin tout au long de leur carrière.

L’expérience acquise aujourd’hui par les étudiants les prépare à intégrer le marché mondial de l’emploi. Les universités canadiennes créent des partenariats dans le monde entier qui permettent aux étudiants d’aller à l’étranger.

As a country, we have moved forward in increasing the number of international students coming to Canada. We’ve seen the benefits. They generate well over $8 billion a year to Canada’s economy and they bring us a glimpse of different cultures, languages, traditions and economies. It leads to a fresh perspective on our campuses and in our communities.

Those international students are getting a clearer view of the world. Canadian students need that too.
Currently, just 12 percent of Canadian university graduates have a study-abroad experience. That’s about 25,000 students a year. We can do better.

Many in this room shared our excitement when the late Jim Flaherty and Ed Fast established an expert panel to create an international education strategy for Canada.

avid Barnard AUCC Board of Directors Chair and University of Manitoba President Economic Club Speech September 25 2014

David Barnard, board chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and president of University of Manitoba introduces Paul Davidson.

Led by Amit Chakma, President of Western University, the panel of business and postsecondary leaders called for the creation of 50,000 opportunities per year for Canadian students to go abroad for study and cultural exchanges.

We know there are barriers, cost being among the largest.

The panel also called for a partnership among governments, academic institutions and the private sector in helping fund Canadian students to become global citizens.

Listen to what Mark Wiseman said to graduates at Queen’s University in the spring. You’ll know Mark as president and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Here’s what he had to say in a convocation address:

“It used to be that immigrants to this country were at a disadvantage. Today, those who aren’t bicultural or multicultural need to get up the global curve and fast. At CPPIB we look to hire people who have global experience. If you grew up in north Toronto, went to [a Toronto university] then worked at a downtown bank and your view is that the Far East is Oshawa, you need not apply… A student in China can, just as easily as you, apply to a job posting for a company in your own backyard. Figure out how to get a job in their backyard.”

By the way, in just one month, 1,700 people from 20 countries visited the Pension Plan Investment Board’s career page.
Now that doesn’t mean we forget about Canada. Let’s come back to that younger me. Even Toronto to Peterborough was farther than most students travel for their postsecondary education.

In a country that covers 9.9 million square kilometres, most students receive all of their education from kindergarten to university within 50 kilometres of the place they call home. Just one in 10 crosses a provincial border to study in another province. It’s understandable. Comfort, familiarity, important bonds with family and cost are all factors.

Now imagine adding a wider Canadian perspective to impressive graduation credentials. That too would benefit us all. Wouldn’t it be better to have an urban planner who understood small communities and large cities? A teacher who had lived and worked and learned in an Aboriginal community? An engineer who has seen what’s happening in another part of Canada?

Finding a creative and collaborative means of resourcing new opportunities for domestic mobility could reshape what it means to be a Canadian.

As plans are under way for Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017, universities are looking beyond.

How will Canadians define ourselves? Will we be open to a much bigger concept of home and community? Will we be ready to go where the jobs are, to where our skills are really needed?

We also need to ask: Will we ensure that every Canadian has an opportunity to achieve?

Fewer than 10 percent of Aboriginals between the ages of 24 to 64 have a university degree. That’s one-third the rate of non-Aboriginals.

Nous savons qu’une formation universitaire rapporte au Canada et aux Canadiens. Actuellement, le faible taux d’accès des Autochtones à l’université les empêche de participer pleinement à notre économie et à notre société. Il nuit à la cohésion sociale et prolonge les inégalités historiques.

Les universités canadiennes ont établi de nombreux partenariats avec les Premières nations, les Inuits et les Métis. Elles offrent aussi des cours, des activités de sensibilisation, et de l’aide financière. Les étudiants des Premières nations, inuits et métis peuvent obtenir des conseils et du soutien, et maintenir les liens avec leur culture.

Many also run successful outreach programs in Aboriginal communities, providing support and mentoring to students as early as elementary school.

James Harper, for example, was a high achiever and scholarship recipient. He didn’t imagine he’d need support at university but something was missing. He felt out of place. A friend at the University of Manitoba sent him to the Engineering Access Program. It’s a community of support for students of Aboriginal ancestry. It offers a lounge, a lab, and tutoring for students working to qualify for the engineering program.

James liked the atmosphere immediately. He tells us:

“It was very easy to relate to people because many of us have stories of similarity, stories that I want to hear, stories that I want to build off of like going from reserve life and adjusting, getting over the culture shock barrier and graduating.”

That program has graduated the most Aboriginal engineers in Canada — 99 at last count, and growing.

We need more of that. And Canada’s universities can contribute to better outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Canada’s universities are making extraordinary contributions to this country. The one million Canadians who are working towards their first degree will most likely be in the workforce when Canada reaches our bicentennial in 2067.

That’s why I ask you to join us in our call to increase opportunities for young people, commit to sustainable funding research and research infrastructure, and to support the full participation of Aboriginal communities in higher education. To create smart skills, for a smarter Canada.

These actions will ensure that the young people with us here today and their cohort across the country will benefit for decades to come. It’s not just that they will benefit. In fact we will all benefit.

Thank you.

Commentary - September 10, 2014

The following op-ed was published in Embassy News, September 10, 2014

By Perrin Beatty and Paul Davidson

For all its connectedness, today’s global marketplace requires much navigation. Understanding the nuances of international commerce, politics, culture and language has become increasingly important to Canada’s economy. Whether it’s to pitch a new product, analyze trade patterns, or navigate licensing, the business need for globally aware graduates of higher education has never been greater.

Increasingly, Canada has those graduates. And in the federal government’s International Education Strategy, we see a critical commitment to internationalize the education of more Canadians and recruit more students from abroad who may meet our talent needs. This strategy has the potential to strengthen Canada’s hand in the competition for global talent, while improving our research linkages around the world.

The first comprehensive plan of its kind, the International Education Strategy is designed to bolster Canada’s international reputation for excellence in higher education and research. It aims to double the number of international students in Canada by 2022 and lays out a blueprint for enhancing Canada’s education brand abroad, particularly in six priority markets: Brazil, India, China, Vietnam, Mexico and North Africa/the Middle East, including Turkey.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomed the strategy as a positive step toward making Canada more innovative in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. As we develop and implement the best mechanisms needed to make a solid impact, we are ready to add our input and expertise.

Recognition of the importance of international education is growing. As a relatively young country of immigrants, Canadians know how doors can open when there is a common understanding among communities. That understanding comes from a well-educated workforce with global perspective and experience. The federal government’s Global Markets Action Plan, a global commerce strategy acknowledges that by targeting education as a priority sector and the attraction of talent as a goal.

Students today who have chosen to include studies beyond our borders as part of their education have broadened their view and seen the potential of the world. As graduates and new employees, they will know what it looks and feels like to work in another country.

Far from a luxury, industry needs students to have global experiences, to gain a cultural awareness that can’t come from a textbook, and to equip themselves with languages driving commerce in growing overseas markets.

Sending Canadian students abroad is one side of the coin. The other side is opening our doors to students from abroad. Beyond the diverse perspectives and experiences these individuals bring to Canada, international students could be a source for talent acquisition for Canada’s future labour market, helping us to address skills shortages and slowing labour force growth.

International research is an equally valuable focus of the strategy, fostering partnerships for Canada’s top scientists to collaborate with the best minds in the world and help us attract top foreign talent. With new funding for international research, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund is a tangible recognition of the connection between a vibrant, innovative and competitive Canadian economy and a world-class research system that always sets its sights higher.

Our universities are the subject of global attention for everything from innovation in nanotechnology to understanding the human genome. The attention is well-earned. Canadian university faculty members are among the most collaborative in the world.

As we work out the details that will make this new strategy as effective as it can be, all parties must be at the table – government, business and higher education. Now is the time to move Canada’s International Education Strategy forward. Now is the time to get it right. The consequences of doing anything less are too high. The global marketplace is contending. We cannot be outpaced.

As representatives of business and universities, we have separate memberships and our own organizational goals. But our paths cross as we work as representatives of Canada. Whether it’s connecting on a trade mission or working with governments, the bigger picture emerges in our shared desire to keep Canada competitive and prosperous.  We want graduates of higher education to have the global skills imperative for our changing world, and the International Education Strategy will help accomplish this.

It’s time for Canada to invest in making the vision of the International Education Strategy become a reality. As partners in education and business, we’re on board.

Paul Davidson is president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Perrin Beatty is president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

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Media release - September 9, 2014

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Canada today boosted its research and higher education ties with Mexico as the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada renewed its memorandum of understanding with its counterpart organization in Mexico, the National Association of Universities and Institutions (ANUIES).

Dr. Martha Navarro, Dr. Enrique Fernández Fassnacht and Christine Tausig-Ford at Mexico Mission signing ceremony.

Dr. Martha Navarro, deputy director general for Academic and Scientific Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mexico; Dr. Enrique Fernández Fassnacht, executive director General, ANUIES; Christine Tausig Ford, vice-president, AUCC.

The five-year agreement aims to broaden Canada-Mexico cooperation in higher education in areas of information exchange, joint events, policy dialogue around internationalization and the promotion of two-way student mobility. AUCC and ANUIES have worked together since 2005.

Canada’s universities have long been committed to working with Mexican universities to advance our mutual research and innovation agendas,” said AUCC vice-president, Christine Tausig Ford, who was in Mexico for the signing. “The announcements and agreements made today by AUCC and Canadian universities are a clear signal that our universities put a priority on building education, research and innovation links.”

A delegation of Canadian universities is in Mexico September 8 to 12 to reinforce existing research and institutional partnerships and bolster student mobility between the two countries. Led by AUCC and organized with strong support from the Canadian Embassy in Mexico, the delegation consists of presidents and senior representatives from 14 universities, as well as representatives from Mitacs, a Canadian organization that provides research internships and fellowships to university students, and Languages Canada.

Mexico is a priority country in Canada’s International Education Strategy and Global Markets Action Plan. That means Canada is using trade policy tools, including building on international education linkages, to enhance our commercial interests.

Participating delegates from the University of Regina, Lakehead University, Université du Québec à Montréal and Mitacsalso announced new or renewed agreements with Mexican partners. The announcements include the launch of programs and scholarships to promote two-way mobility of Canadian and Mexican students for the purpose of academic exchange, language study, collaborative research, industry internships and strengthening linkages between our countries’ aboriginal and indigenous populations.

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university degree-level colleges.

ANUIES is the national and international voice of Mexican universities, representing 180 higher education institutions.

Media contacts:

Helen Murphy
Assistant director, communications
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 238

Nadine Robitaille
Communications officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 306

News release in Spanish

Media release - September 8, 2014

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – A delegation of Canadian university leaders is in Mexico this week to bolster research and institutional partnerships and to encourage greater student mobility between the two countries.

From September 8 to 12, presidents and senior representatives from 14 universities will meet with institutional partners, government officials and Mexican and Canadian private sector stakeholders. Organized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada with strong support from the Canadian Embassy in Mexico, the delegation includes representatives from Mitacs, a Canadian organization that provides research internships and fellowships to university students, and Languages Canada.

This mission builds on February’s North American Leaders’ Summit, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed to boost academic exchange and student mobility within North America. During this meeting, Mexico committed to increase the number of students it sends to the U.S. each year by 100,000; targets for Canada have not yet been established.

“Canadian and Mexican universities have a lot in common,” says Christine Tausig Ford, vice-president of AUCC, who is leading the delegation. “This visit will strengthen our ties. We’ll be focusing on forging new research and innovation partnerships, and encouraging students to learn more about – and study in – each other’s countries. Stronger higher education links drive increased trade between our countries,” Tausig Ford adds.

During the visit, AUCC will solidify linkages by renewing an agreement with its counterpart organization in Mexico, the National Association of Universities and Institutions (ANUIES), which brings together 180 Mexican universities.

The agenda also includes meetings with senior Mexican government officials, Canadian and Mexican business leaders and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico. The delegation will have a significant presence at ANUIES 20th annual meeting for international education leaders at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas. Canada features prominently on the agenda, including a presidential discussion on Canada-Mexico Aboriginal higher education, and a number of sessions designed to enhance international partnerships.

Media invitation:
Members of the media are invited to attend the AUCC-ANUIES MOU signing event September 9, 4:00−4:30 p.m. at the Mexico Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores (Plaza Juárez 20, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06010 Ciudad de México) where Canadian university leaders will also make announcements on new programs and scholarships and sign new institutional agreements with Mexican partners.

Interview opportunities are available with Christine Tausig Ford, vice-president of AUCC, Brian Stevenson, president of Lakehead University, and Mike Mahon, president of the University of Lethbridge, as well as other members of the delegation.

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university degree-level colleges.

Spanish version of media release

- 30 -

Media contacts:

Helen Murphy,
Assistant director, communications
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 238

Nadine Robitaille
Communications officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 306

Commentary - May 7, 2014

This op-ed was published in Research Money May 7, 2014

By Christine Tausig Ford 

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper met recently with European leaders last fall, he signalled to the world that Canada and the European Union are entering a new era of cooperation. The Government of Canada reached an agreement in principle to establish a Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). It has also identified Europe as a priority business market in its recently unveiled Global Markets Action Plan. Transatlantic research cooperation between our regions is critical to leading this charge.

Canada’s universities and businesses recognize that today’s most pressing challenges transcend national borders. International research collaboration allows Canadian universities to further strengthen the work they do, and connects faculty, staff and students to the brightest minds around the world to work on the most pressing issues. For Canada’s private sector, working across borders enables companies to combine different research and development strengths, leading to increased productivity and improved commercialization of new discoveries.

Canada is a recognized leader in research and innovation. When the federal government announced the $1.5-billion Canada First Research Excellence Fund in Budget 2014, it sent a clear message that Canada is ready to make its mark. This bold new research and innovation initiative will allow our researchers to build partnerships with leading minds around the world. It speaks to the importance of international collaboration and acknowledges that a world-class research system is a critical for a vibrant, innovative and competitive economy.

The European Union also understands that international cooperation is vital if research is to reach its full potential. On January 1, the European Commission launched its latest research funding program, Horizon 2020. With a budget approaching €80 billion ($115 billion) over seven years, this transformative research initiative provides funding for research and innovation activities that focus on fostering scientific excellence, increasing economic competitiveness and addressing the EU’s societal challenges.

International cooperation is a key component of Horizon 2020. We can only admire the EU’s policy commitment to invest in research and innovation and open this investment to the world, particularly in a climate of tight fiscal constraints. By making it possible for international partners to work with Europe, Horizon 2020 presents a tremendous opportunity for Canadian universities and businesses.

Europe values research cooperation with Canada. The European Commission wants more partnerships with Canada. And there are many sectors where there is clear mutual scientific interest.

Meetings held between Canada, the EU and the United States in Galway, Ireland last summer resulted in the establishment of a transatlantic research alliance for marine and arctic research. Its work is expected to contribute to improved food security and increased economic outputs through better management of the Atlantic Ocean’s resources.

Already, collaborations between Canadian and European researchers are yielding impressive results. The INTERACT International Monitoring Network, an alliance of research stations and researchers studying environmental changes in the Arctic, is helping us better understand the world’s rapidly changing cold regions. Together, scientists from 14 countries are documenting, identifying, predicting and responding to diverse fluctuations in temperature throughout the Arctic. Their work is helping governments and key economic sectors such as fisheries and the oil industry adapt to climate change.

International research collaboration such as this enriches academic, scientific and business relationships between Canada and the EU. Our participation in Horizon 2020 will strengthen research collaboration for innovation-driven economic development and increase Canada’s visibility in, and access to, global networks. The EU has opened the door for Canada’s researchers and innovators – it is up to Canada to seize the moment.

Christine Tausig Ford is VP, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. AUCC is member of the ERA-Can+ consortium, which seeks to promote research and innovation collaboration between Canada and the European Union.

Commentary - February 24, 2014

This op-ed was published in Research Money on February 24, 2014

By Paul Davidson
President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Budget 2014 sent up a flare to the world: we are on our way with a bold new research and innovation initiative that will advance Canada internationally. To the community within our borders, it signals a new narrative, one that focusses on opportunity.

The newly-announced Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), coupled with the largest support of the country’s research granting councils in nearly a decade, represents a catalytic investment.

First, the budget recognizes the nature of research. Government budgets traditionally have projected no more than two years forward. This commitment of $1.5-billion over 10 years to the research excellence fund — and enhanced ongoing funding for the granting councils and indirect costs of research provides certainty, sustainability and predictability. Planning well into the future is now a possibility, allowing for a continuum of discovery, building on previous or soon-to-come knowledge.

The CFREF also recognizes that research excellence takes place at universities of all sizes and in all regions of the country. University presidents called for an open, competitive and peer-reviewed program. This initiative will reflect that. So any university can compete, no matter its size or location. What will matter is the level of excellence, knowledge and talent being brought to the research and innovation table. The benefits will be shared by faculty, students and communities across Canada.

And on a third level, the research excellence fund speaks to the importance of international collaboration. It acknowledges that a world-class research system is a critical element of a vibrant, innovative and competitive economy. We can compete. But in today’s global village, collaboration is what moves us forward. As we bring up our game, we can look forward to a continued building and leveraging of global partnerships that are already under way.

The newest generation of Canadian university faculty members has laid the groundwork. They have studied abroad and are connected with colleagues around the world. They think in global terms. They are twice as likely as researchers elsewhere to produce jointly-authored international work, which makes them among the most collaborative in the world. In fact, top-cited international researchers recognize their Canadian peers as leaders in terms of the originality, impact and rigour in their field of research.

The new fund will allow Canada to continue expanding that. We know the opportunities are there. Last year, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the Association of University Heads, Israel agreed to collaborate to promote the internationalization of higher education and to work towards increased research links with Israeli universities.

International outreach

An unprecedented AUCC-led mission of university presidents to Brazil—a nation spurring prosperity by investing heavily in research and innovation—resulted in more than 75 new university partnerships and scholarship programs. A similar AUCC-led mission of presidents to India in November 2010 raised Canada’s higher education profile in that country, and forged connections that continue to enhance academic and research collaboration.

Those connections are being further deepened during Governor General David Johnson’s current state visit to India. I will be accompanying the Governor General as we visit universities, talk to innovators and entrepreneurs, and discuss how best to address global challenges during an innovation roundtable in New Delhi.

Canada was early out of the gate in establishing international linkages, and our universities are building on these. Canada protected investments in research during the economic downturn. Our universities have been able to stem the historical brain drain and attract outstanding faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. New investments will allow us to pick up speed and hold on to our advantage.

As this program rolls out, universities will have the resources to build their performance in key areas: global excellence, talent and knowledge translation. Funding from the CFREF will build Canada’s reputation as a destination and a home for innovators, research talent and cutting-edge discovery. Universities receiving support will have the flexibility and nimbleness they’ll need to respond quickly to dramatic advancements or valuable partnerships in select areas. The potential for clusters of research excellence in concentrated fields is tremendous.

This new investment goes beyond spurring academic successes. The research excellence fund will heighten Canada’s capacity to attract and retain the best talent from Canada and around the world to remedy emerging shortages of highly skilled labour. We’ll be better able to stimulate the rate of ground-breaking discoveries. We’ll see increased opportunities to establish Canadian universities as preferred partners for the best international research institutions. Universities will also be able to enhance their efforts to reach out to businesses that are ready to adapt and exploit discoveries. And that will help Canadian businesses become more globally competitive.

Our universities are making those connections. They already conduct nearly $1-billion of research funded by the private sector in Canada each year, providing the “intellectual raw material” that drives innovation and builds prosperity.

An even larger share of research, more than $1-billion, is conducted by universities with funding from community and non-profit groups, particularly in the area of health. With secure, reliable and predictable support behind them, just imagine what they can achieve.

We all benefit from the results, and so for Canada, this is a pivotal moment.

We couldn’t be more ready for this bold investment. Half of the faculty members working at Canadian universities have been hired in the last decade. Together with more senior colleagues, they are making large contributions and are ready to do more. We’ve also seen dramatic growth in the number of graduate students at our universities of almost 90% since 2000.

That bench strength, combined with this new certainty, gives Canada’s universities the flexibility to pursue their priorities and missions and perform at their best. Driven by quality research and innovation, Canada will do the same. 

Media release - January 15, 2014

OTTAWA — Canada’s universities welcome the federal government’s new International Education Strategy (IES), announced today at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone. This is Canada’s first comprehensive international education strategy, designed to strengthen the country’s international reputation for excellence in higher education and research.

“Today’s announcement is an important advance in branding Canada as a destination of choice for top students and researchers around the world,” said Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “International education and research partnerships build prosperity in communities across the country and strengthen Canada’s global connections for trade, innovation and diplomacy. Having students from around the world on Canadian university campuses enriches the educational experience of all students, as they bring  unique perspectives, languages and cultures to the learning environment.”

The new strategy reflects the vision and many of the recommendations made by the Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, chaired by Amit Chakma, president of Western University. Dr. Chakma was joined on the panel by Dr. Colin Dodds of Saint Mary’s University and a member of AUCC’s Board of Directors. AUCC and its members played a significant role in providing input to the federal government to encourage the panel’s broad vision for international education.

The IES – a key component of Canada’s recently announced Global Markets Action Plan – aims to double the number of international students in Canada to more than 450,000 by 2022. It lays out a blueprint for enhancing Canada’s education brand abroad, particularly in six priority markets: Brazil, India, China, Vietnam, Mexico and North Africa /the Middle East, including Turkey.

The IES also supports study abroad for Canadians, to ensure our graduates have the knowledge and skills to achieve their potential in a globalized economy.

Canada’s universities support the goals of the IES and look forward to continued collaboration with the federal government and other partners to achieve them.

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Media Contacts:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director of Communications
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-3961 ext. 238 or cell: 613-608-8749

Nadine Robitaille
Communications Officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613-563-3961 ext. 306

Media release - November 27, 2013

OTTAWA – Canada’s universities welcome the federal government’s launch of a renewed foreign policy and trade plan which highlights education and the promotion of Canada’s research and innovation advantage abroad among its top priorities.

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, announced the launch of the report entitled the Global Markets Action Plan: The Blueprint for Creating Jobs and Opportunities for Canadians Through Trade today in Ottawa.

Canada’s universities are pleased with the report’s identification of international education as a priority sector that will strengthen Canada’s trade, investment and people-to-people ties in priority markets.  Canadian universities are recognized as world-class institutions that provide excellent education and research opportunities to Canadian and international students and are a key resource in attracting the world’s best and brightest to Canada.  The Action Plan also highlighted the value of Canadian universities in fostering research linkages.

The university sector looks forward to the government’s forthcoming launch of an international education strategy to build Canada’s brand of excellence in education and research.  Advisory panel recommendations to the government included doubling the number of international students coming to Canada, establishing a new mechanism for supporting international research collaboration at scale, and creating a new program to send 50,000 Canadian students abroad annually by 2022. 

“International education is one of the few sectors to have grown constantly through the recession, to a value of $8 billion per year in communities large and small across the country,” said AUCC president, Paul Davidson.  “The federal government clearly recognizes the benefits that international students bring to Canadian university campuses and their communities, and the economic and trade advantages they bring to the country as a whole.”

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university degree-level colleges.

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Media Contact:

Nadine Robitaille
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613-563-3961 ext. 306

Media release - November 26, 2013


OTTAWA — A new Canadian-European initiative aims to raise awareness of the growing partnership opportunities for Canadian and European researchers and innovators. The ERA-Can Plus project will promote science, technology and innovation collaboration between Canada and the European Union through policy dialogues, research exchanges and information sharing about funding opportunities.

The initiative, launched in early October, begins just as the EU is set to start its Eighth Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, also referred to as Horizon 2020, with an expected budget of more than €70 billion (CAD $92 billion) between 2014-2020. The signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement in the same month also underscores the important economic and research ties between Canada and the EU, and the role of science and technology for promoting innovation-based economic growth.

“Canada is a valued partner for the European Union in a wide range of cooperation areas and our partnership in research and innovation is particularly strong,” said European Union Ambassador Marie-Anne Coninsx. “ERA-Can Plus will further contribute to deepen the already existing strong ties. In particular, this joint initiative will be instrumental in facilitating enhanced cooperation in the new mutually agreed priority areas of arctic and marine research.”

ERA-Can Plus will raise awareness of the multiple research and innovation program opportunities for Canadians in Horizon 2020 and for Europeans in Canada’s research programs. The project will tackle societal challenges by helping bridge the gap between research and the market and will also enrich the Canada-EU policy dialogue by identifying research areas of mutual interest. It builds on two previous ERA-Can projects that have made significant inroads in expanding Canadian and European research collaboration and improving bilateral relations between Canada and the EU.

 “Building on the recently announced agreement-in-principle on an historic Canada-European Union trade agreement, ERA-Can Plus is yet another bridge that will help us take our 21st century relationship to the next level,” said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade. “Enhancing the science, technology and innovation collaboration between Canada and the European Union, key features of our landmark trade agreement, will contribute to new jobs and new opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“The ERA-CAN Plus project objectives and its Canadian and European partnership correspond to the new international cooperation strategy for research and innovation of the European Union,” said Maria Cristina Russo, Director in DG RTD for International Cooperation in the European Commission. “It will support the implementation of our policy dialogue for example as follow up of the Galway Statement signed by Canada and the EU.“

The consortium brings together seven leading associations and organizations for research, innovation and public policy discussions from across Canada and Europe. The Canadian partners are the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and the Public Policy Forum. The European partners are the Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea in Italy, the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in France, the Project Management Agency at DLR in Germany, and the Zentrum für Soziale Innovation in Austria. The Italian partner will act as the coordinator for the project.

The project is largely funded by the European Commission. 

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For more information:
Martina de Sole 
Coordinator APRE   
info@era-can.net

Commentary - November 11, 2013

This op-ed was published in The Chronicle Herald on November 8, 2013

By Colin Dodds

International students account for one out of every 10 undergraduates studying at Canadian universities. Nova Scotia, often referred to as Canada’s education capital, has achieved significant success in attracting international and out-of-province students.

My own institution, Saint Mary’s University, has one of highest proportion of international students in the country. Nearly 30 percent of our 6,400 full-time students are from abroad creating a globalized campus with immense benefits for all students, faculty and the broader community.

Across the country, the educational experience of Canadian undergraduates is enriched by the presence of students from around the world. They bring new perspectives, cultures and languages to our campuses and communities. Together with study-abroad opportunities, this international exposure provides students the global awareness that many employers demand as they face the increasingly global competitive trade and investment landscape.

International students have an equally important impact off-campus. According to a 2012 federal government report, they generate approximately $8 billion in spending across Canada. To put it in perspective, that’s more than the value of our exports in wheat or softwood lumber. In Atlantic Canada, their total economic impact was estimated at about $565 million in 2009-2010. In Halifax, international students mean job creation and economic growth. It is important to note that the international student sector is expanding around the world – one of the few sectors that has seen growth during the recession.

Many of our international students join local business organizations and attend events organized by the Greater Halifax Partnership, the Chamber of Commerce and Nova Scotia Business Inc. Some become Canadian citizens after graduation. In fact, a number of our international graduates now work in Canada’s information technology, banking and finance, media and education sectors. Others have started their own businesses in these sectors, generating much-needed new economic activity in our region.

More would love to stay in Nova Scotia, including in the more rural parts of the Province. So we need more internships and coop opportunities, particularly with the small/medium sized businesses for our students to gain the experience many employers require. Additionally, some international students have access to external capital sources that could lead to more opportunities for succession as the baby boomer entrepreneurs seek to sell their businesses.  The final report of the Bragg-Ivany Commission on Our New Economy may have more to say on these important issues.

Last year I was a member of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy and it proposed a vision for Canada “to become the 21st century leader in international education”, but not by compromising quality. It made 14 recommendations on how to develop and implement this.  Among our recommendations, we called for increased study abroad opportunities for Canadian students and a doubling of international students by 2022 in what is now a very competitive recruitment marketplace.  For example, more than 20% of students in Australia are international and countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and China are staking their claim to be centres of international education to compete with the traditional providers, such as the USA and UK.

As a member of the panel I engaged in cross-country consultations and was struck by how each region of Canada benefits from international students in its own way. In Atlantic Canada the reality of our ageing population and out-migration has brought us to a demographic precipice. To ensure the continued economic and social vitality of our region, the solution lies, in my opinion, in part with the contribution that international students make to our region and in our capacity to attract these students and help them achieve their potential.

Progress has been made – I applaud Budget 2013’s announcement of $13 million over two years to the Mitacs Globalink Program.  The government program, which attracts highly promising students from around the world to Canadian universities for short-term research placements, will now allow Canadian students to take advantage of training opportunities in key countries abroad. The $42 million earmarked for temporary resident visas, which may have an impact on international students, and the $10 million allotted to marketing the Canada brand internationally are other steps in the right direction.

No one sector – universities, government or business – can on its own reach Canada’s potential in attracting top international students and helping them achieve their goals, including staying in Canada. But working together we can make it happen.

The more opportunities we create for our talented graduates, the more we are able to retain international students who have so much to offer to our region and to our country. In addition to those who stay and contribute to our economy domestically, many international students return to their home countries and act as ambassadors for Canada, helping to build important linkages in trade, investment, diplomacy and education.

Higher education is now the global currency and it’s very encouraging that students from around the world are increasingly choosing to study in Canada. It’s time to do more – as a community, a region and a country – to leverage these assets to build prosperity and strengthen our educational brand around the world.

Colin Dodds is president of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Media release - September 30, 2013

OTTAWA – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes news of a tentative agreement in the labour dispute between the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) and the federal government, as announced Sept. 26. 

“We are very happy to see both parties come together to settle this dispute,” says Christine Tausig Ford, vice president of AUCC. “Canada’s universities have worked hard to build the country’s reputation as a top destination for international students, and we are pleased that Canada can continue to welcome international students, visitors and permanent residents, without delay.”

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities, at home and abroad.

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Media Contacts:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director of Communications
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613 563-3961 ext. 238 or cell: 613 608-8749

Media release - September 16, 2013

AUCC is pleased to announce that it is once again a recipient under the Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA) program.

Part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)’s Global Commerce Support Program, GOA provides contribution funding to support national associations undertaking new or expanded international business development activities, in strategic markets and sectors. GOA facilitates AUCC’s work in identifying new international opportunities for Canada’s universities, opening doors for increased student mobility, research collaboration, institutional partnerships and global engagement.

GOA funding in the 2013-14 fiscal year will support partnership-building activities in Brazil, Mexico and Europe, as well as the production of a new multi-lingual brochure. AUCC thanks Minster of Trade Ed Fast and DFATD for its ongoing commitment to the internationalization of Canadian higher education.

For more information contact:

Rachel Lindsey
AUCC Senior Policy Analyst
(613) 563-3961 ext. 280
rlindsey@aucc.ca

Media release - July 8, 2013

Canadian universities strengthened ties with leading academic institutions in Israel today, paving the way for heightened research collaboration and improved student and faculty mobility between the two countries.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Association of University Heads, Israel (AUH) during the visit of six Canadian university presidents to Israel July 4th to 11th.

Canada and Israel already collaborate in a range of sectors including energy, solar power, waste management and medicine, and their universities share research interests in a number of key areas, such as brain research, water technology, renewable energy and biotechnology.

“Canada and Israel share a common commitment to educational attainment and research excellence, and are among the best in the world in these important indicators of global leadership,” says AUCC Vice-President Christine Tausig Ford. “Increased collaboration with universities in Israel will strengthen the research and teaching missions of Canada’s universities and benefit both countries’ economies.”

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities. AUH represents seven Israeli universities.

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Nadine Robitaille
AUCC Communications Officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613-563-3961 ext. 306

Commentary - June 28, 2013

 This op-ed appeared in the June 28 edition of Embassy

By AUCC President, Paul Davidson

As convocation season concludes across the country, universities are opening their doors to international counterparts eager to learn more about Canada’s success in achieving accessibility and excellence. Recent guests include visitors from China who wanted to learn more about Canada’s success in teaching the humanities and social sciences – an aspect of higher education China realizes it must develop and strengthen in order to maintain its competitive position in the future. The Brazilian government is so pleased with the quality of education being provided to Brazilian students on Canadian university campuses that they are actively encouraging more students to come to Canada. And new research collaborations are emerging between Germany and Canada — an example of the excellence of the German system seeking out the excellence in Canadian higher education.

Our international competitors are eager to learn about Canadian innovations in teaching, momentum in research, and collaboration with the private sector and civil society. Their strong interest, however, begs an important question: Are other countries seeing in Canada’s higher education sector something we overlook ourselves?

Unfortunately, yes. Our university sector is an undervalued asset in Canada. And in this competitive global economy, we can ill afford to neglect key assets.

Universities are among only a handful of institutions to have existed since the Middle Ages, yet in Canada they are among our most dynamic global actors – advancing knowledge, fostering prosperity and helping to brand our country around the world. And the world is noticing.

The last decade has seen Canadian university enrolment increase by more than 50 per cent in response to signals from government and business about the growing need for highly qualified talent in a competitive market. And despite anecdotes to the contrary, those graduates are getting well-paying jobs. In fact, through the worst of the recession (July 2008 to July 2012) there were more than 700,000 net new jobs for university graduates.

Another competitive advantage is our new generation of faculty – more than half of those teaching at university today have been hired since 2000. Many have studied and worked abroad and participate in international research networks, making them amongst the most global workforce in any sector of the Canadian economy.

The student experience is changing. At one time co-operative education was an unusual offering – but today more than half of all undergraduates have an internship, co-op, or community service learning placement. Hands-on research has also become the norm in today’s undergraduate experience. Technological advances are facilitating new ways of delivering courses that place a premium on student-faculty interaction. In the inverted classroom, for example, lectures and background material are shared online in advance of class, so class time is freed up for discussion and debate, along with collaborative work on assignments.

Growth in student enrolment has been mirrored by growth in research capacity and ambition. We are now ranked fourth in the world in terms of global research quality – just behind the US, UK, and Germany.  This is all the more remarkable given the significant research investments being made in emerging countries.

Data show that Canadian researchers are highly productive, and are twice as likely to work with international colleagues than academics in other countries – extending Canada’s reach and reputation abroad.

Canada’s enrolment in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math) has grown more rapidly than in any other OECD country – especially at the graduate level. Enrolment in computer science is also up, while enrolment in areas of lower demand has decreased 15 per cent. Students respond to market signals and universities respond to students.

International students have an immediate economic impact of about $8 billion annually in communities large and small across the country. That’s more than the value of our export of wheat or softwood lumber, making the provision of international education one of the few sectors to have grown constantly through the recession. That’s coupled with the longer-term benefit of attracting outstanding new Canadians, for those who stay, and creating lasting relationships with those who return home after their studies.

As stated by Dominic Barton, worldwide managing director at McKinsey and Company, “In this increasingly globalized world, ensuring that Canadian university students have access, not only to the best education in the world but also to the best international students in the world, is crucial for our long-term competitiveness and success.” Canada should be championing our university sector, but instead many institutions are struggling with budget cuts and uncertainty.

This week global leaders in higher education will meet with Canadian university presidents in Ottawa to discuss innovative approaches to teaching and research at a time of increasing global competition, fiscal pressures at home, and great technological change Education leaders from emerging nations such as India, China and Brazil are joining our traditional partners from the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia to consider global trends affecting universities around the world.  They are here to learn more about how we have been able to ensure both accessibility and excellence. And Canada’s universities are eager to learn about promising new developments that will help keep our institutions at the top of their game.

Canada’s universities are committed to pursuing this global advantage with the support of our partners in government, the private sector and civil society. Leveraging universities’ contributions gives Canada a competitive edge – and that’s a real asset in today’s world.

Media release - June 26, 2013

International higher education leaders gather to discuss innovations in teaching, research and operations

OTTAWA – Higher education leaders from around the globe are gathering in Ottawa today for a summit with Canadian university presidents and vice presidents. From June 26 to 28, more than 80 educational leaders – from countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – will discuss shared challenges and promising practices for strengthening the academic mission in a time of fiscal constraint and changing international trends.

Co-hosted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the University of Alberta, “Canadian universities in a global context” is an opportunity for Canadian universities to share their experiences with higher education leaders from around the world, while also learning about innovations in teaching, research and university operations in other systems, including new approaches to education in emerging nations.  

“Higher education is in the midst of a sea change being driven by worldwide demand, technology and the imperatives of the global labour market,” says Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University in Massachusetts and past chair of the American Council on Education. “Every college and university — in Canada and throughout the world — will be grappling with the implications, which is why it’s so vital that we are joining together for this important dialogue.”

Indira Samarasekera, president of the University of Alberta, agrees: “Canadian universities are definitely at a crossroads, facing growing pressures from global competitors. This conference marks a timely occasion to explore the risks and opportunities, make some bold proposals and spark some rethinking about how Canada’s higher education system currently functions.”

Higher education around the world is dealing with a rapidly changing environment, and new challenges to sustain quality and be globally relevant.

“Higher education leaders from around the world see Canadian universities as a model,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. “International counterparts recognize Canada’s ability to achieve both accessibility and excellence, and in order to sustain this success Canada’s universities continually seek best practices from around the world. This gathering promises to break new ground in terms of how we share strategies and collaborate with other institutions and systems of higher education.”  

“Knowledge is global,” says Sir Drummond Bone, master at Balliol College, Oxford University. “Increasingly students expect access to an international educational experience, and increasingly employers expect students to have had such an experience.  Types of international education will become more and more varied, and the experience – both in delivery and reception – more and more complex.  This conference will be important in addressing these complexities.”

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Follow the discussions on Twitter:  #GlobalTrendsHE

The sessions are closed to media, however delegates – including Dr. Aoun, Sir Drummond Bone, Mr. Davidson and Dr. Samarasekera – will be available for interviews during the summit.

To schedule interviews, please contact:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238

Nadine Robitaille
AUCC Communications Officer
nrobitaille@aucc.ca
613-563-3961 ext. 306

Media release - March 21, 2013

OTTAWA – The federal government’s investments in university research, skills and talent will help to make Canada more innovative and competitive, says the organization representing Canada’s 97 universities across the country.

“One million young people will graduate from Canada’s universities by the year 2017,” says Stephen Toope, president of The University of British Columbia and chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “They’ll be equipped with the knowledge, experiences and skills Canada will need for decades to come. And they’ll have gained the ability to adapt to the jobs of today – and tomorrow.”

“Canada needs more university, college and trades graduates to compete in the new global knowledge economy,” adds Paul Davidson, president of AUCC. According to a recent CIBC report, most jobs in high demand in Canada require a university degree, including managers in health, education, social and community services; human resources and business service professionals; and supervisors in manufacturing and processing.

The federal government’s research investments have made Canada a top research nation. “Even in difficult fiscal times, the government recognizes that university research fuels a competitive advantage for Canada,” says Mr. Davidson. “Over successive budgets, the federal government has increased support for research and innovation in Canada –investments that nurture talent, create jobs and make us more competitive internationally.”

Canada’s universities also welcomed the importance that today’s budget places on international education initiatives. “Investments in international education leverage economic benefits of more than $8 billion a year – and they benefit every region of Canada,” Mr. Davidson points out. “Employers tell us they want a versatile international workforce. Canada benefits – and Canadian students benefit – from a global outlook.”

AUCC is part of an education sector-led consortium that has urged the government to enhance international education efforts to drive Canada’s global competitiveness, and is ready to work with partners to help ensure the international education strategy advances.

A new element of the international education efforts announced today is enhanced funding for Mitacs’ Globalink Program, which brings top undergraduate students from around the world to Canadian universities to undertake research projects and will now allow Canadian students to go abroad for research experiences. “This is an opportunity for Canada’s universities to enhance their profile and attract the brightest international students to our campuses,” says Mr. Davidson.

University leaders also welcomed a new scholarship program that will improve access and achievement for Aboriginal postsecondary students. The budget provides funding to be matched by the private sector for new scholarships for Aboriginal students through an initiative of Indspire, in collaboration with Canada’s universities.

“Aboriginal youth is the fastest growing segment of our population, yet Aboriginal university graduation rates lag far behind those of the non-Aboriginal population,” notes Mr. Davidson. “These measures are a concrete step towards closing the education gap.”

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For interviews and information, please contact:

Helen Murphy
Assistant Director, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
613.563.1236, ext. 238
Cell: 613.608.8749
hmurphy@aucc.ca

Nadine Robitaille|
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613.563.3961, ext. 306
Cell: 613.884.8401
nrobitaille@aucc.ca

Media release - March 21, 2013

Read the media release of the Consortium for International Education Marketing.

Commentary - December 18, 2012

This op-ed was published in Embassy magazine on December 18, 2012.

By Paul Davidson
President
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

As part of the Governor General’s delegation to Mexico this month, I heard His Excellency David Johnston’s call for “the diplomacy of knowledge.” He describes this as the willingness and ability to work together—across disciplines and across borders.

That diplomacy, making people-to-people connections, is powerful. Reaching around the world to connect and collaborate on ideas will move us forward as a country. But instead of global competition for talent, we should think about global collaboration for talent.

We travelled to Mexico to promote further co-operation in innovation, technology, education and local development. It’s a start. Real change will come from developing more hands-on working relationships – those people-to-people connections.

On the academic front, there are compelling reasons to increase co-operation through student and faculty mobility and international research, not just with Mexico, but globally. China, India and Brazil, in particular, offer a growing wealth of opportunities on many fronts. And there is a certain urgency around our need to seize those opportunities.

Our workforce is aging. During the next 20 years, six million Canadians, the baby boomers, will be poised for retirement. But the working world they are leaving is vastly different from the one they entered. Our new entrants must have skills and knowledge far beyond the local markets we once served. The generation we are educating now must develop global skills. Their preparation will determine Canada’s prosperity for the next 50 years.

Part of the solution lies in attracting more international students. They enhance the educational experience of Canadian students by bringing global perspectives, languages and cultures to our campuses. They also have a tremendous economic impact on communities across Canada. While our country has plenty to offer, the lure of the United States is strong. So our efforts to attract people from around the world have to be bolder and louder.

Mexico, for instance, should be a natural recruiting ground. Geographically, it’s close. We have enjoyed nearly 70 years of diplomatic relations and cooperation in higher education. About 44,000 Mexican students pursued higher education abroad in 2008-09. The lion’s share of them, more than 14,000, went to the U.S. Fewer than 2,000 came to Canada, ranking us sixth, behind countries as far away as Germany and France. And even Australia is ramping up its efforts there.

I encouraged the students we met in Mexico to consider Canada. We offer an excellent education, coast to coast. Our universities and student living costs are affordable. And we welcome diversity on campus.

There is also plenty to commend in Canadian university faculties. Half of our faculty members were hired in the last decade. They are highly qualified, young and have fresh approaches to teaching and research. They are collaborative and globally oriented. Many have international experience. Meld that with the hands-on approach of co-op, internship and work placements that have become a distinguishing characteristic of the Canadian university experience, and the opportunities for innovative research and teaching are tremendous.

Businesses around the world would also do well to look to Canada as they recruit for internships. In addition to providing practical experience for a student on the cusp of a career choice, businesses benefit from a ready source of new ideas, approaches and energy. The soon-to-be-employed graduate either leaves with a knowledgeable understanding of the strengths of the business or becomes a job-ready, pre-screened recruit.

As a case in point, I met with a vice president of Bombardier Transportation based in Querétaro, Mexico. A graduate of Université de Sherbrooke, she started with Bombardier as an intern in the mid-1990s and never left the company.

Bombardier has established partnerships with leading Mexican universities, including Tecnológico de Monterrey. For its part, TEC Monterrey has networking agreements with 24 Canadian universities, illustrating the international appeal of Canadian university talent and expertise.

These kinds of people connections create opportunities for our students and researchers, and drive bilateral economic growth. Our federal government can help make more of them happen through a sustained, sophisticated and resourced strategy; a strategy that is sector-led and linked to national goals.

To dream big we must go beyond incremental improvements. Change will come not just from the number of agreements signed or visits made, but through a transformed relationship that is matched to the challenge and opportunity before us, in both scope and scale.

Commentary - November 16, 2012

This op-ed was published in the Globe and Mail, November 15, 2012

Paul Davidson
President and CEO, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Canada’s universities combine outstanding quality, relevance and affordability. They offer safe and welcoming learning environments. In the globally competitive international education sector, this is an enviable place to be.

So why – in a recent survey of students, parents and education advisers in Brazil, China and India – was Canada not on the map?

Our competitors have offices in key markets with budgets for promoting and building brand awareness. Canada currently spends just $1-million a year to pursue a market that contributes $8-billion annually to communities across the country. Australia has been spending about 20 times that amount for about 15 years – so yes, their brand awareness is higher. The United Kingdom has invested targeted resources in addition to the remarkable reach of the British Council. And U.S. President Barack Obama has made explicit commitments to fund efforts to recruit hundreds of thousands of students from China, India and Brazil.

Even as trade talks stall, and Canada`s approach to foreign investment is clarified, Canada’s education sector has still made enormous strides in advancing Canada’s place in the world. Three years ago, Canada’s universities, colleges, public schools and language institutes formed a consortium to work together to attract more students to Canada. And the results are encouraging – international student enrollment is up 12 per cent at universities this year; enrollment from India is up 40 per cent over two years; and Brazil recently committed to sending up to 12,000 students to Canada through its innovative Science without Borders program.

Achieving that success in Brazil took years of effort and overcoming what respondents to the survey released this week said was a barrier to making Canada their destination: “The weather – COLD.” Canada’s universities identified Brazil as a priority country to pursue two years ago. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada organized a strategy session for Canadian university leaders, key Brazilian counterparts, and government officials nine months before a mission by university presidents to the country. The Canada-Brazil Science and Technology working group met concurrently to identify areas for greater collaboration, and leaders of Canada’s private sector and media were invited to share their insights. As we built momentum around a Canada strategy for Brazil, a Senate committee initiated a study of the Canada-Brazil relationship, and MPs took an active interest. The Prime Minister announced that the Governor-General would lead the mission to Brazil, and that he would be joined by two ministers, and an accompanying delegation of MPs, business leaders and others from the education sector.

Throughout the process and with the help of public servants, the sector negotiated a series of preliminary agreements that were completed in advance of the April 2012 mission over the course of three working visits. Over the 10 day, four-city mission, Canada’s universities announced 73 new partnerships and Governor-General David Johnston met with President Dilma Rousseff. The number of students Brazil would send was not confirmed until that meeting, in which Mr. Johnston closed the deal so that Canada became the second largest beneficiary of the Science without Borders program. The first thousand students are on campus now and another cohort of about 500 students are expected in January.

This is a compelling example of getting international education marketing right – sector led, with support from government, and active engagement of the private sector, tied to broader strategic interests for Canada (in this case, advancing science technology and innovation with the world’s sixth largest economy).

But there is more to do. As Ipsos-Reid, the polling company commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Department put it, Canada needs to “communicate its postsecondary education advantages” globally. Or as Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last week in Delhi, “Canada needs to be connected to an international supply of ideas, research, talent and technologies in order to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in an increasingly competitive environment.”

A sophisticated international education strategy will recognize that, even within the university sector, there are at least four different groups we want to attract – each serving a different public policy goal and requiring specific marketing tools:

Undergraduates are the largest potential pool offering immediate economic benefit to Canada, a source of high quality immigrants and proven potential for increased trade. Master’s and PhD students have demonstrated abilities from the world`s best institutions, particularly in the fields of science ,technology, engineering and math to help Canada strengthen our innovation capacity. Post-doctoral students who are outstanding new scholars require targeted measures to attract them to pursue their early careers here. And finally, young global faculty with whom we can develop international research collaborations and who in turn will ignite interest in Canada among the next generation of their students overseas.

By living with and learning from international students, Canadian students have the opportunity to acquire the global skills employers are demanding. Moreover, their presence on our campuses alerts Canadian students to the intensity of the global competition that awaits them upon graduation and creates life-long networks that will span the world and continue beyond their time on campus. Universities are ready to participate in the sustained, co-ordinated and resourced initiative to leverage more fully our global brand for excellence in education.

Media release - November 12, 2012

Ottawa – International Education Week, November 12-17, 2012 is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of Canadian universities’ internationalization efforts.

The purpose of International Education Week is to increase awareness and understanding of international education through a variety of activities and events undertaken by governments, educational institutions, stakeholder groups, and individuals.

Canadian universities are committed to the internationalization of higher education and research through the development of globally knowledgeable and engaged graduates, engagement in global research efforts with the world’s leading experts, attracting top talent to Canadian institutions, and cultivating strategic alliances and partnerships that lead to political, social and economic ties of tomorrow.

All forms of international collaboration and connectivity are valuable, including two-way international student and faculty mobility, international research collaboration, joint academic programming, internationalization of the curriculum, and engaging with communities in the developing world. Canada’s universities are building people-to-people linkages and institutional partnerships in countries around the world.

In recognition of the importance of international education to Canada’s prosperity and to enriching Canadian society, the federal government mandated an Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy to make recommendations on a national strategy. In August 2012, the panel submitted its final report entitled International Education: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity which focuses on a vision for Canada to become the 21st century leader in international education, to attract top talent and prepare our citizens for the global marketplace.

AUCC is committed to supporting our members’ internationalization efforts, and the federal government’s goal of making Canada a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research.

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and not-for-profit universities.

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For more information:

Gail Bowkett
Director, International Relations
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613-563-3961, ext. 301
gbowkett@aucc.ca

Media release - October 24, 2012

Ottawa – Canada is increasingly an education destination of choice for top university students around the world. New university enrolment figures from all provinces except Quebec show that the number of international students in these provinces has increased 12 percent this fall. (Quebec figures are expected in November.)

The increases in international student enrolment are reflected in the growth of Canadian students as well, with an increase of 3.4 percent in the graduate student population and two percent among undergraduates.

AUCC says that the overall upward trend in enrolment demonstrates the value that students continue to put on higher education in Canada.

According to federal government estimates, 75 percent of new jobs in the coming decade will require postsecondary education. Between 2010 and 2020, AUCC estimates there will be 2.1 million jobs created for university graduates. During their careers university graduates will typically earn $1.3 million more than those with a high-school education alone. The lifetime income advantage for a bachelor’s graduate over a registered tradesperson or college grad working full-time is $1 million.

“Students and their families recognize that university remains the surest path to prosperity,” said Mr. Davidson. “University graduates routinely earn much higher incomes and experience more stable employment than those without a university education.”

Having international students in university classrooms provides value for Canadian students as well.

“The presence of students from around the globe on Canadian campuses enriches the education experience for all students,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Living and learning alongside students with different perspectives, languages and cultures helps Canadian students develop the international awareness in demand by today’s employers.”

According to a July 2012 federal government report, international students pursuing their education in Canada generate 81,000 jobs, nearly $8-billion in spending and more than $445 million in government revenue.

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Media Contact:

Helen Murphy, Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canad
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238 Cell. 613-608-8749

Commentary - October 3, 2012

Op-ed published in Embassy

By Paul Davidson
President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

The vision is bold; the potential is real. But what will it take to get Canada to be a world leader in international education? It will take a high degree of coordination, decisive action and commitment to move quickly, before opportunities pass us by.

That’s the vision outlined recently by the federal government’s expert panel on international education – a bold strategy that would see Canada become a 21st century leader in attracting top talent and preparing Canadians for the global marketplace. It’s a vision whose time has come.

That’s not so say Canada hasn’t made great strides already – we have, and in many ways. Canadian universities have long embraced the importance of internationalizing our campuses, from recruiting international students, to developing joint programming with overseas partners, to finding new and innovative ways to provide international experiences to Canadian students.

There has been significant progress at the federal level. Immigration policies, for example, demonstrate a clear recognition that students are a valuable source of talent – the kind of immigrant Canada wants and needs to attract to address our labour shortages.

Forward-looking policies introduced by CIC now provide Canada with an advantage over other potential destination countries for international students. These students can now work in Canada – both on and off-campus – while pursuing their studies. They can participate in co-op programs. They can even work in Canada for up to three years after graduation. The Canadian Experience Class was introduced as a path to permanent residency for international student graduates of Canadian education institutions who have gained skilled work experience in Canada. We’ve just celebrated the 20,000th person to become a permanent resident under the program – in four short years, a remarkable achievement.

CIC has recently launched consultations on the review of its International Students Program. The review is being undertaken to improve the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, enhance accountability, and improve Canada’s reputation as a destination of choice for studies abroad. These steps are critical to keep Canada competitive in the drive to attract our share of the world’s 3.5 million international students.

Next steps

Yet issues persist and hurdles must be cleared. Having worked diligently to reduce visa processing times, they are now increasing. Our immigration officers overseas are faced with increased demand for processing study permits at a time of fiscal restraint and reduced government spending. The result is unintended delays in processing and loss of students to other countries that can issue student visas more quickly. Canada needs to find a way to ensure CIC can meet the demand. It is time to explore new ways to ensure that visa offices are adequately resourced for student permit processing, including a review of the fees charged for these permits.

From a foreign policy and trade perspective, there is growing recognition that universities are an underleveraged asset in promoting Canada to the world. The advisory panel on the development of a comprehensive international education strategy for Canada has submitted its recommendations to Finance Minister Flaherty and International Trade Minister Fast. One very straightforward recommendation is to establish a council on international education and research that will bring together senior government officials and representatives of the sector to keep our focus on this important part of Canada’s economy and link our efforts to research, innovation, commerce and human resource strategies.

The consultations to refresh Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy have heard that access to talent is a priority for Canadian employers, and central to this is attracting high-quality international students and researchers. International research collaboration is also globally recognised as a strategic investment in economic growth, bilateral trade and talent development. Given these linkages, education should be clearly identified as a priority economic sector that will actively be promoted and support by Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service.

We will be asking much of our officers overseas in taking this on – particularly those who are hired locally and who may never have experienced education in Canada at any level. AUCC and partners are ready to share expertise and enhance understanding of the education sector among staff of Canadian missions abroad.

International education – in all its aspects – is key to Canada’s success in a rapidly changing integrated global knowledge economy. The bold strategy recommended by the expert panel will benefit Canadians across the country, by giving employers access to the talent and global markets they need, enriching communities and making our country more prosperous and innovative. That’s a vision we can all support. 

Commentary - September 21, 2012

Op-ed published in Research Money September 21, 2012

By Daniel Woolf
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University
Chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s Standing Advisory Committee on International Relations

New and returning students have unpacked their things and settled back into campus life here at Queen’s University, but many graduate students have been here all summer, working alongside faculty researchers on a variety of projects. The research endeavour never sleeps.

In Canada, we’re doing well in terms of research achievements. Canadian research teams have elevated our status as a world leader in areas of expertise such as information and communications technology, health education and environmental stewardship. But we need to push further to compete in today’s highly competitive, multi-disciplinary, trillion-dollar global research industry. Our contemporaries are already focusing their resources and attention to compete in this market.

Take a look at Brazil, projected to become the fifth-largest economy over the next few years. Already, it has 5.4 million university students and produces more PhDs than Canada. Other parts of the world have become the planet’s economic drivers. In fewer than two decades, more than 40 percent of the world’s GDP will come from Asia.

A culture of collaboration among top world talent has already become both the norm and the necessity. In Canada, some 40 percent of today’s university faculty earned their first or highest degree in another country, and 30 percent of Canada Research Chairs have been recruited from abroad. Top research talents are collaborating at a record level to leverage their combined data, research and knowledge. Close to 50 percent of Canada’s research papers have co-authors from other countries – twice the rate of 15 years ago and double the world average. Now we must step up our momentum to keep pace with the changing context of global research.

The shift toward international partnerships comes as traditional world powers cope with difficult fiscal realities. The United States’ slower-than-anticipated recovery and the European Union’s ongoing economic fragility have allowed Brazil, China and India to seize the lead. In this climate of change, what remains constant is the collective global recognition that university research, as a key investment, drives both short- and long-term economic growth. Over the past decade, our competitors have been pouring considerable resources into all sectors of research.

The Royal Society of London estimates the number of researchers, globally, at seven million. In our research-driven global economy, the new challengers – with their booming populations – are very serious about research and economic growth.

As I, and others, have stated elsewhere, Canada is facing fundamental choices. Economic, social and technological revolutions are underway throughout the world. We will confront significant economic, health, and labour market challenges as a result of shifting demographics in the decades ahead. By 2030, the proportion of the Canadian population that is over the age of 65 will double, while the working age population (ages 25-64) will grow by only eight percent. To offset these differences and remain competitive in the global marketplace, we must use our considerable research assets to drive innovation and become more productive.

There are already clear results from global collaborations, and more will follow. Working as teammates, our international partnerships on pandemic research and planning mean we’ll also combat the spread of infectious diseases with greater insight and speed. Collaboration in the face of major environmental shifts and surging world populations will ensure better planetary resource management.

For example, Queen’s University partners with Fudan University in Shanghai and the Southwest University of China to offer the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology. Students from both countries do field study on aquatic environments and ecosystems along the Yangtze River in the vicinity of the Three Gorges Dam Project in China, and in the St. Lawrence River and Frontenac Arch regions of Eastern Ontario.

Moreover, Colin Funk, Canada Research Chair in Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Medicine at Queen’s, is the only Canadian scientist working with an international consortium of 39 investigators from 18 institutions and four countries to personalize drug therapy for the most common medications consumed worldwide, with the goal of reducing the risk of heart attacks, heart failure and strokes.

These examples show Canada has top talent to bring to the table. But if we expect others to view Canada as an attractive partner, we must commit to R&D as an investment priority, and make this commitment well-known across the globe. Competition is fierce. Our international colleagues seeking collaboration on highly complex issues will naturally pursue the most readily available resources, talent and investment.

As our competitors surge forward, Canada must commit more in R&D investment, particularly on the private sector side. Either we demonstrate comparable commitment, or potential collaborators will take their business elsewhere: we then run the further risk of Canadian researchers moving outside Canada.

To build prosperity at home, our international competitors must also be our allies. Competition and collaboration now go hand-in-hand. The result of doing both well will be increased innovation, productivity, social well-being, entrepreneurship and jobs for Canadians.

Commentary - September 10, 2012

Op-ed published by the Toronto Star, September 8, 2012

By Alastair Summerlee
President, University of Guelph
Ex officio director, Board of directors, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Student mobility in higher education is a two-way street. We want to attract top students from around the world to study in Canada, and we want Canadian students to benefit from study-abroad experiences. While the incoming traffic of international students is humming along rather nicely, with good growth potential, outgoing traffic is like the road to a Canadian beach in March.

Although we still lag behind key competitor countries in international student recruitment, our share of the pie has been growing. In 2011, the number of international students enrolled in Canadian universities grew for the 16th consecutive year. There are now 100,000 international students from more than 200 countries studying at Canada’s universities.

Why is this important? For starters, international students enrich the educational experience of Canadian students by bringing global perspectives, cultures and languages to our campuses. Attracting students from around the world also helps build prosperity in Canada.

There’s a myth out there that these students are a drain on our tax dollars, but that’s simply not true. International students typically pay the full cost of their education and have a huge economic impact on Canada. According to a federal government report released in July 2012, international students generate 81,000 jobs, nearly $8 billion in spending and more than $445 million in government revenue annually. That’s worth more than our export of wheat.

In the coming years, universities and their partners in government and the private sector will increasingly work together to bring more international students to Canada’s campuses. But we must also do more to expand opportunities for Canadian students to study abroad. Only 12 percent of today’s undergraduates participate in international study experiences for academic credit before they graduate. The world demands something more of us.

Canada’s future is increasingly shaped by global, fast-moving interconnected forces. To understand these challenges, we need a workforce with knowledge of other countries, cultures and languages, and an ability to establish partnerships with colleagues from around the world. Getting more Canadian students to live and learn in another culture is about developing global citizens and building the labour force Canada needs to be prosperous in the knowledge economy.

According to a recent survey by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 91 percent of employers say they value job candidates with international experience because it develops cross-cultural understanding. And 50 percent said they would hire a candidate with study abroad experience over one without — all else being equal.

International study experiences also play a significant role in students’ personal growth. For many young Canadians, university years are the most transformative time in their lives and this is enriched by exposure to new cultures, languages, communities and experiences. Students return from overseas placements with an expanded understanding not only of the world around them, but of themselves. And they come back with a better understanding of the value of being Canadian.

At the University of Guelph, I have seen hundreds of students return from global study experiences with a new awareness of what is magical about Canada, of what is incredible about living here. They come back with a sense of marvel at what we do and accomplish on a daily basis; things that they used to take for granted.

Unless we significantly boost the number of Canadian students gaining international study experiences, Canada risks being left behind. Consider what our economic competitors are doing. About 33 percent of German and 20 percent of American university students participate in study-abroad programs over the course of their university studies.

Financial considerations are often cited as the most significant reason for Canada’s dismal participation rates in international study experiences. We can do better.

A pan-Canadian international student mobility program, with both government and private sector funding, would help students gain the international experience they need to achieve their potential and contribute to the global economy. This program should include opportunities for both short-term and long-term study, work and research abroad. Private sector involvement will be key to providing students with hands-on experiences through internships and similar opportunities.

I am more confident that this will happen — and soon — with the release of the advisory panel’s report on Canada’s International Education Strategy on August 14. The panel — led by Western University President Amit Chakma and mandated with advising the federal government on a new strategy for international education — calls for a major new mobility program to enable an additional 50,000 Canadian students a year to go abroad for study and cultural exchanges, service learning and other experiential learning activities by 2022.

Global experiences give us perspective. They help our young people understand Canada’s place in the world and their place in Canada. International study helps develop the culturally aware employees that industry needs.

More importantly, these experiences nurture compassionate, globally literate, adaptable young adults who are ready to take their place in the world. And that’s what Canada needs.

Commentary - September 3, 2012

This op-ed was published in the Hill Times on September 3, 2012.

By Paul Davidson
President and CEO
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

A high quality product, affordable pricing and growing demand. That’s a typical recipe for success in business. When we think about international education, these three ingredients are a recipe for driving economic growth in communities across the country. And Canada has them all.

We are fortunate to have an outstanding offering in education at all levels. At the university level, our very high quality programs coupled with affordable tuition provide exceptional bang for the buck. Increasing demand for such excellent educational opportunities is evident in countries around the world, especially in places such as India, Brazil and China, where a rapidly growing middle class is looking for high quality education beyond domestic borders.

Our challenge – and it’s an urgent one – is how to leverage our assets in a way that will strengthen our education brand around the world, enhance international study opportunities for Canadian students, and help address changing labour market needs here at home. A new report released this week provides the federal government with a roadmap to achieve just that.

The report of the Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, released August 14, presents a robust plan for building prosperity in Canada through strategic investments and partnerships in international education.

We will only maximize our strong potential in international education when partners in government, higher education and the private sector come together to strengthen our international brand, build and grow partnerships in research and innovation, and ensure more Canadian students benefit from international study experiences. The return on investment is huge in terms of ongoing economic, social and cultural benefits.

We have a strong foundation upon which to build. In 2011, the number of international students enrolled in Canadian universities grew for the 16th consecutive year. Full-time international enrolment has increased by more than 11 percent since 2010. We have four times more international students today than in 1995. There are now 100,000 international students from more than 200 countries studying at Canada’s universities. These students are attracted by our strong reputation for high quality education, diverse opportunities, and a safe and welcoming environment.

Students from around the world add value to the educational experiences of Canadians, bringing global perspectives and cultural insights to our campuses. And their presence has a huge economic impact. According to a federal government report released in July 2012, international students pursuing their education in Canada generate 81,000 jobs, nearly $8 billion in spending and more than $445 million in government revenue. That’s worth more to Canada than our export of wheat. We’ve gone from being the bread basket of the world to being the “brain basket.”

Among the advisory panel’s most significant recommendations is a call for a major new program for Canadian student mobility abroad. Canada’s employers tell us they need people with knowledge of other countries, languages and cultures. We need graduates who can establish partnerships with colleagues around the world. We need to develop global citizens.

Unfortunately, only three percent of today’s undergraduates participate in international study experiences for academic credit in any given year. Financial considerations are often cited as the most significant hindrance to participation in international academic exchanges, research collaboration and internships. The panel’s recommendation is to create opportunities for 50,000 Canadian students a year to go abroad for study and cultural exchanges, service learning and other experiential learning activities by 2022. Partnerships are a key component to this strategy, with the suggestion that universities, provincial and territorial governments, and private sector partners join with the federal government in funding a major new student mobility program.

Canada’s universities agree that partnerships and collaboration are fundamental to our success in international education. Five national education associations, including AUCC, work together in partnership through the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing to advance Canada’s brand more effectively in the global education market. Canada’s universities also work with private sector and government partners to build international connections in education, research and innovation.

With the advisory panel’s report, the federal government has an opportunity to better coordinate its strategies for economic development, science and technology, global commerce, immigration and the labour market. It has a plan to help position Canada as an international leader in education, research and innovation. And it has the business case for investment in key areas that will build prosperity.

Ongoing market changes in global education will dictate the necessary scope, scale and urgency of Canada’s next steps. They must be purposeful, coordinated, bold and ambitious. Let’s get to it.

Media release - August 14, 2012

OTTAWA – A newly released strategy for international education presents an ambitious and achievable plan to boost Canada’s prosperity through investments in international education. The strategy, outlined in the report of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, was released today by the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, in Halifax.

The panel, led by Western University President Amit Chakma, calls for investments in international student recruitment to attract top talent and help meet Canada’s workforce needs, a major new international mobility program for Canadian students that will help them acquire a global perspective, and a series of other measures to strengthen Canada’s worldwide reputation for excellence in education and research.

“The advisory panel has laid out a bold vision to build prosperity through strategic, targeted and sustained investments, key partnerships and a coordinated approach to international education,” says Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia and chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “This report is a blueprint for preparing our graduates to be global citizens and contributing to the labour market of the future.” 

The panel’s report calls for federal funding support for new scholarships for international undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and the creation of a new Council on International Education and Research, comprised of senior government officials and stakeholders, to provide policy advice to the federal government. 

“Canada needs these kinds of bold initiatives and investments in order to succeed in a very competitive marketplace in international education,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “These are achievable goals. This is a plan that will help to align national strategies for economic development, science and technology, global commerce, immigration and the labour market. The implementation of these recommendations will drive growth in our economy and help position Canada as an international leader in research and innovation.”

“We commend the panel for its dedicated and thorough work over the past 10 months to develop a meaningful roadmap that will build on Canada’s success in international education and provide our students with enhanced global opportunities in the years ahead,” says Mr. Davidson. “Universities look forward to working with their partners in other education associations, governments and the private sector in a collaborative effort to strengthen Canada’s education brand.”

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Media Contact:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238

Media release - July 30, 2012

OTTAWA – Attracting international students to Canada has an economic impact of close to $8 billion in spending and creates 81,000 jobs in this country. Those figures were part of a federal government report released July 27 on the overall economic impact of international students in Canada — benefits that include the generation of more than $445 million in government revenue. Spending by international students has increased by $1.5 billion since 2008.

“This significant economic impact is one of the many reasons that attracting outstanding international students benefits Canada,” says Christine Tausig Ford, vice-president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “These students enrich our university campuses with their cultures, languages and unique perspectives. Along with study-abroad experiences, learning and living alongside students from around the world helps Canadian students gain the kind of global knowledge and awareness that is so highly valued by today’s employers.”

The updated report on the economic impact of international education in Canada was released by the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, at the University of British Columbia on July 27. It shows that the total amount spent by international students in Canada is more than the value of a number of important industries, including our export of wheat to other countries. The report also shows that these economic benefits are realized by communities across Canada, not only major urban centres.

“Canada’s universities welcome the release of this report, which reinforces the value of international education in building jobs and prosperity in Canada,” says Ms. Tausig Ford. She added that Canada’s universities will continue to partner with education groups, governments and the private sector to position Canada as a destination of choice for top international students. The university community also looks forward to the upcoming report of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, expected to be released shortly. The panel’s recommendations will provide valuable direction for the development and implementation of a renewed Canadian approach to international education.

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Read the report : Economic Impact of International Education in Canada – An Update

For more information or interview opportunities:

Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238

Commentary - June 6, 2012
Topics: Brazil

This op-ed was published in Embassy magazine on June 6, 2012.

By Paul Davidson
President
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Canada needs to get serious about Brazil. There are few places in the world today where the opportunities to build prosperity through partnerships and collaboration are as abundant and robust – but like all opportunities, this is a limited-time offer.

Calls for action in building stronger connections with Brazil grew again last week with the Senate committee report calling for the government of Canada to focus its relations with Brazil in areas such as education, science and technology. The report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade encourages a strategic role for the federal government, with education as a driving force in intensifying Canada-Brazil relations. Canada’s universities couldn’t agree more.

Strengthening partnerships with Brazil is a priority for Canada’s universities, as evidenced by this spring’s unprecedented international mission of university presidents, led by His Excellency the Rt. Hon. David Johnston. During visits to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia from April 25 to May 2, close to 30 of Canada’s university presidents saw first-hand the tremendous opportunity to build strategic collaboration in research, innovation and higher education with Brazil.

The Governor General was instrumental in securing Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff’s commitment to send up to 12,000 Brazilian students to Canada over the next four years through her innovative Science without Borders program. In addition, Canada’s university presidents announced 75 new partnerships and scholarship programs to deepen Canada’s collaboration with Brazil.

Government, universities and industry all see the potential in this economic powerhouse. Now our challenge is to come together to create additional partnerships that will build prosperity in both countries.

Canada’s prospects for economic growth are dramatically enhanced when our strategic assets are leveraged effectively – no individual institution or sector acting on their own can fully realize their potential or maximize the benefits to Canadians. When it comes to the Brazil connection, collaboration is key.

Why Brazil? There is limited awareness amongst the broader public about the incredible opportunities that Brazil presents. This dynamic nation has emerged from the global economic downturn stronger than many of Canada’s traditional partners. Brazil is making important investments in research, innovation and education – including student mobility – to enhance its place in the world.

Brazil recently surpassed the United Kingdom to be the world’s sixth largest economy and is set to become the fifth in the coming years. Canada has more investment in Brazil than it has with India and China combined.

The education connection is critical. Strategic collaboration in higher education with countries such as Brazil leads to linkages in trade and diplomacy. Partnerships in higher education are fundamental to our competitiveness in a global economy.

In order to build such connections, Canada needs an ambitious and sustained international education strategy that is sector-driven and built on partnerships. The university community looks forward to the upcoming report of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, which was tasked with making recommendations for a strategy that will maximize economic opportunities in international education, including building our engagement with key markets.

This international education strategy can support Canada’s innovation, science and technology objectives. Canada has invested to create a dynamic research community and research infrastructure that is globally ready and globally engaged. Developing mechanisms to achieve international research collaboration at scale will require partnerships and commitment from government and the private sector.

Canada’s international education strategy will need to move from simply international student recruitment to developing sustainable funding for Canadian students to study, research, work and volunteer abroad. In virtually every meeting with Brazilian universities, we were asked how many Canadians would be coming to study in Brazil.

Brazil is investing in strategic international partnerships. In addition to the ambitious Science without Borders program that will see 100,000 Brazilians study around the world, this country is aggressively investing in research and innovation, including international research collaboration.

In Canada, too often we introduce pilot programs to test the waters, but fail to take them to scale, or worse, cut existing programs in an effort to meet deficit-reduction targets. This approach not only lacks ambition, but weakens our brand and prevents us from building momentum and competing on the global stage.

Many other countries are knocking on Brazil’s door. Canada made important progress in positioning itself as a partner of choice through last year’s visit of Prime Minister Harper to Brazil, the establishment of the Canada-Brazil CEO Forum, and the successful university presidents’ mission.

Now is the time to build on this momentum and mobilize significant resources in government, higher education and the private sector – working collaboratively – to realize the potential of the Canada-Brazil relationship.

Media release - May 30, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Ottawa – Canada’s universities welcome recommendations that the government of Canada focus its relations with Brazil in areas such as education, science and technology. The recommendations were contained in a new report tabled yesterday by the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

“Strengthening partnerships with Brazil is a priority for Canada’s universities. This report encourages a strategic role for the federal government, with education seen as a driving force in intensifying Canada-Brazil relations,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “During AUCC’s recent mission to Brazil, Canada’s university presidents saw first-hand the tremendous opportunities to build strategic collaboration in research, innovation and higher education with Brazil. This report speaks to those opportunities and ways in which government, universities and industry can work together to build partnerships for prosperity in both countries.”

Close to 30 university presidents travelled to Brazil from April 25 to May 2, meeting with leaders of Brazilian universities as well as partners in government and industry to share ideas and strategies for bilateral university collaboration. During the mission, 75 new partnerships, scholarships and student mobility programs were announced, worth $6.7 million.

Canadian universities are already responding to the Brazilian government’s new Science Without Borders scholarship program, by taking steps to attract top Brazilian students and researchers. Canada will welcome up to 12,000 of the 100,000 Brazilian scholarship recipients who will study and conduct research at the undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels.

AUCC applauds the Senate committee’s extensive work on this study and its recognition of the crucial role that education, science and technology must play in building meaningful partnerships with this economic powerhouse. “AUCC was pleased to share our university community’s insight and expertise with the committee during its consultations and is happy to see many of our recommendations and contributions reflected in the report,” says Mr. Davidson.

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Intensifying Strategic Partnerships with the New Brazil, report by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

For more information, contact:

Helen Murphy
Manager, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel. : 613-563-1236, ext. 238    
hmurphy@aucc.ca

Commentary - May 20, 2012
Topics: Brazil

This op-ed by Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia and chair of the board of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, was published in the University World News on May 20, 2012.

Building prosperity in these challenging times requires that nations reach out beyond their borders, more than ever before, to establish strategic international connections. Increasingly, the right doors are being opened and the path to prosperity is being constructed through partnerships being forged by universities in research, innovation and higher education.

Canada’s universities recognise the need to build and strengthen international collaboration with nations that are making bold investments in education and research. High on that list is Brazil.

That’s why 30 university presidents from across Canada embarked on an unprecedented mission to Brazil from 25 April to 2 May 2012.

My colleagues and I met with the leaders of Brazilian universities and research networks, government officials and private sector partners who share our objective of advancing research, innovation and higher education connections between Canada and Brazil.

The importance of this mission is underlined by the fact that Canada’s Governor General David Johnston was asked by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lead the mission.

A fruitful investment

It was the largest-ever international mission of Canadian university presidents, and has already proved to be a most fruitful investment of time, energy and ideas. What we witnessed during our time in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia is a quickening in higher education relations between our countries.

During our week-long visit, 75 new university partnerships and scholarship programmes were announced and meaningful discussions set the stage for even greater collaboration in the years ahead.

In addition to pursuing collaborative research, both countries are keen to advance an innovation agenda. This mission included opportunities for university presidents to meet with Brazilian private sector leaders.

Canada’s private sector shares the goal of strengthening partnerships with Brazil, and in São Paulo partners from both countries explored successful models of university-industry linkages to advance research and innovation in common areas of interest.

The steps that Canada and Brazil are taking together will open the door to new worlds that we can only imagine for our students and faculty. They are investments that will benefit our economies through innovation, our societies through higher education, and the world as a whole through the creation of new knowledge through research.

The benefits of exchange

These days, vast amounts of international research and enterprise can be accomplished virtually, through computer-mediated communications, and this is a great enabler of global collaboration.

But there is something essential and irreplaceable about the opportunity for students and faculty to take actual, physical steps beyond the geographic borders of their native countries and enter a larger world.

Especially for students, the benefits include access to people, information, expertise, facilities and resources that are not readily available to them at home. But the advantages of international study in higher education extend much further than this. International study is – or should be – a transformative experience.

Different cultures, different languages and different ways of doing things have a way of expanding our minds and our capabilities. I know of no more effective way of cultivating creative, engaged global citizens capable of contributing meaningfully to their society. Our world and our economy are hungry for such people.

It is in recognition of this need that Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has inaugurated the Science Without Borders programme, which aims to help more than 100,000 Brazilian students to study abroad. We recognise the value of this effort and admire its bold commitment. Canada’s universities are ready to welcome 12,000 of these students.

One of the themes reinforced during our Brazil mission was that truly meaningful international partnerships emerge from people-to-people connections. To be effective, they have to be so much more than words on the page.

Personal connections provide durable bonds that ensure two-way flows of knowledge, innovation and business opportunities. Personal bonds not only cross borders, but are much more sustainable through time and inevitable difficulties.

This mission allowed those personal connections to take shape.

Putting words into action

Now we are back at home and mobilising our university communities to put those words into action. We are connecting researchers with Brazilian scientists and enhancing mobility opportunities for both students and faculty.

Most importantly, we are putting into action a commitment to build on the momentum of our mission, to return to Brazil and to build even stronger connections in the years ahead for the benefit of the people of both countries.

Media release - May 2, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Presidents wrap up successful visit

Brasilia, Brazil – Canada’s universities set the stage for the acceleration of bilateral collaboration with partners in Brazil during the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s presidents’ mission from April 25 to May 2. Canadian universities and their Brazilian counterparts announced 75 new partnerships with Brazilian institutions, scholarships and student mobility programs worth $6,736,800 (CAD) during visits to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia.

An additional $10.25 million investment in undergraduate internships and graduate fellowships was also made during the mission through Mitacs. Canada’s Mitacs connects university-based researchers, including graduate students and faculty members, with Canadian companies through collaborative research projects and provides research internships to top international undergraduate students.

The mission wraps up today with meetings with government officials and industry leaders in the capital, Brasilia, along with additional university and research facility visits.

“I’m immensely proud of the progress that has been made in strengthening our partnerships in research, innovation and higher education with Brazilian institutions,” said David Barnard, president of the University of Manitoba and member of AUCC’s board of directors. “We’ve taken important steps with our Brazilian university partners in opening our doors to a two-way flow of students and faculty between our countries for collaboration in key areas of study and research. Our relationships with Brazil have grown this past week; we gained greater awareness of each of our strengths and worked together on strategies for further enhancing our connections in the future.”

“Both countries are committed to building prosperity through investments in research and higher education,” said Paul Davidson, AUCC president. “In the new university partnerships and scholarship programs announced this week and those just starting to take shape, we see that commitment transformed into action. The real success of this Brazil mission will be seen on our campuses and those of our Brazilian partner institutions in the coming months and years as our bilateral collaboration expands.”

“Soon we will see more of Canada’s and Brazil’s top scientists working together to address global challenges, we will see more Brazilian students studying in Canada and Canadian students studying in Brazil, and we will see the people of Canada and Brazil increasingly as the beneficiaries of great research that drives innovation and leads us to growth and prosperity.”

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Note to editors:  A full list of today’s announcements is included in the backgrounder.

Media Contacts:

In Brazil:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238
Cell. +1-613-608-8749

Atendimento à Imprensa no Brasil
MAPA Comunicação Integrada – São Paulo
Karoline Pereira – Atendimento
karoline@mapacomunicacao.com.br
Débora Kojo – Coordenadora de Núcleo
55 (11) 6182.4881 / 5096.3137 / 2501.8374
www.mapacomunicacao.com.br

In Ottawa:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
mbechard@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 306

Media release - April 28, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Campinas, Brazil – Canadian university presidents travelled to Campinas today to visit the University of Campinas (Unicamp), a hub for research and innovation in Brazil. About 30 presidents taking part in the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s mission to Brazil toured the facilities and discussed joint strategies for transferring university research to the private sector to help build prosperity in both countries.

Eight Canadian universities signed agreements with Unicamp today in areas ranging from student and faculty mobility, to research collaboration, to the development of joint academic programs.

“Unicamp is an outstanding example of the benefits that will accrue to Canadian students and faculty, and Canadian society, through university partnerships with Brazilian institutions,” said Stephen Toope, president of The University of British Columbia and chair of the board of AUCC. “This university is an incubator of fresh ideas and entrepreneurship, a catalyst of new knowledge and private sector engagement. Collaboration with institutions such as Unicamp will help Canada cultivate the skills and talent needed to seize new opportunities in global society.”

Today’s visit began with an address by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, on the topic of transferring university research to the private sector to create innovative communities, and remarks by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology. Canadian university presidents and their Brazilian partners also took part in a panel on this topic. This afternoon they will observe a demonstration of the Synchrotron Light Laboratory Brazil (LNLS) in connection with the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan.

“Strengthening Canada’s ties to the global supply of ideas and talent is central to our science and technology strategy,” said Minister Goodyear. “The agreements signed today will promote greater cooperation between Brazilian and Canadian institutions conducting world-leading research. This will provide great benefits for companies seeking to grow through innovation, and will enhance the quality of life of our citizens, by creating high-quality jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.”

Over the past year, Brazil’s synchrotron has been adapting CLS software that enables scientists to remotely access synchrotron beamlines, analyze data and store information so researchers and their students can collaborate and exchange information and ideas half a world away. This link will make it possible for future Brazilian graduate students working at the CLS to connect with their faculty supervisors in Brazil, who can observe their experiments in real time.

“Seeing first-hand the high-calibre of facilities for research and innovation in Brazil is inspiring,” said Peter MacKinnon, president of the University of Saskatchewan and member of AUCC’s board of directors. “With so many synergies between the research capacities and interests in Canada and Brazil, we see incredible potential to accelerate our bilateral partnerships and collaboration in the months and years ahead.”

The delegation of Canadian university presidents now travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit other world-class research institutes and then to Brasilia for meetings with government partners and visits to higher education institutions and research facilities.

The AUCC university presidents’ mission to Brazil is being led by the Governor General. AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Note to editors:  A full list of today’s announcements is included in the backgrounder.

Media Contacts:

In Brazil:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238
Cell. +1-613-608-8749

Atendimento à Imprensa no Brasil
MAPA Comunicação Integrada – São Paulo
Karoline Pereira – Atendimento
karoline@mapacomunicacao.com.br
Débora Kojo – Coordenadora de Núcleo
55 (11) 6182.4881 / 5096.3137 / 2501.8374
www.mapacomunicacao.com.br

In Ottawa:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
mbechard@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 306

Media release - April 27, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Mitacs announces $10.25 million for undergraduate internships, graduate fellowships

São Paulo, Brazil – Canadian universities and their Brazilian counterparts are announcing 75 new partnerships and scholarship programs worth $6,736,800 (CAD) in university and government funding during the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s university presidents’ mission to Brazil, April 25 to May 2. Stephen Toope, president of The University of British Columbia and chair of the board of AUCC made the announcement at a news conference in São Paulo today.

New announcements made today build on the 46 agreements and 13 new scholarship and student mobility programs unveiled yesterday at the Canada-Brazil Presidents’ Roundtable in Rio de Janeiro. The total of 75 agreements, MOUs and scholarship programs also includes announcements to be made in Campinas on April 28 and Brasilia on May 2.

“The connections between our universities and those in Brazil are sparking discovery and innovation that will yield tremendous benefits for both countries,” said Prof. Toope. “These ambitious investments in research, innovation and higher education will lead us to become more prosperous economies and more globally successful nations.” These partnerships are being signed with Brazilian partners during visits to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia.

Today’s announcements in São Paulo include an additional $10.25 million investment in undergraduate internships and graduate fellowships through Mitacs. Canada’s Mitacs connects university-based researchers, including graduate students and faculty members, with Canadian companies through collaborative research projects and provides research internships to top international undergraduate students. Mitacs announced $6.75 million – co-funded by the Brazilian government’s new Science without Borders program, the Government of Canada, Canada’s provinces and several Canadian universities – to bring 450 Brazilian undergraduate students to Canada from 2012 to 2014 through its Globalink program. Brazil’s CAPES (Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education) has signed an agreement with Mitacs to support the first 100 students. The Mitacs announcement includes another $3.5 million to fund Globalink Graduate Fellowships – opportunities for student alumni of the Globalink program, including those from Brazil, to pursue graduate studies in Canada.

“We look forward to working closely with our partners to establish a closer relationship with Brazilian universities and students through Mitacs Globalink and the Globalink Fellowship Program,” said Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director of Mitacs. “By connecting countries around the world through our young researchers, we will improve the global economy.”

“These university initiatives signal a turning point in our bilateral relationship and tremendous opportunities for students and faculty in the years ahead,” said Heather Munroe-Blum, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University and member of AUCC’s board of directors. “Ultimately these are investments in people – students, researchers, innovators and, more broadly, the people of Canada and Brazil.”

Ten Canadian universities signed partnerships today with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) worth $1.18 million.

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Note to editorsA full list of today’s announcements is included in the backgrounder.

Media Contacts:

In Brazil:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238
Cell. +1-613-608-8749

Atendimento à Imprensa no Brasil
MAPA Comunicação Integrada – São Paulo
Karoline Pereira – Atendimento
karoline@mapacomunicacao.com.br
Débora Kojo – Coordenadora de Núcleo
55 (11) 6182.4881 / 5096.3137 / 2501.8374
www.mapacomunicacao.com.br

In Ottawa:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
mbechard@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 306

Media release - April 26, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – University presidents strengthened Canada’s capacity in research and innovation today by signing 35 new agreements and memoranda of understanding with 18 Brazilian institutions.  Thirteen new scholarship and student mobility programs for Brazilian and Canadian students
were also announced by Canadian institutions.

The presidents of 12 Canadian universities signed the agreements and MOUs with their Brazilian counterparts at the University Presidents’ Roundtable in Rio de Janeiro, part of the presidents’ mission to Brazil, April 25 to May 2. These partnerships range from student and faculty mobility to research collaboration in areas of shared interest. The gathering, which began with an address by Canada’s Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, was an opportunity for university leaders from both countries to explore opportunities and strategies to further strengthen bilateral collaboration in higher education.

The agreements signed involve investments of $1.72 million (CAD) from Canadian universities and $1.45 million from the Government of Canada. New scholarships and student mobility programs announced are valued at close to $1.71 million (CAD).

“This unprecedented commitment to bilateral collaboration will expand opportunities for students and researchers in both countries for many years to come,” said Stephen Toope, president of The University of British Columbia and chair of the board of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “We are all engaged in a worldwide enterprise to address our toughest problems. These agreements will help bring together some of the world’s best minds; we are up to the challenge.”

“Much of the work that universities do is borderless,” said Amit Chakma, president of Western University and chair of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy. “In Brazil our universities have found many new opportunities to advance their efforts in research and education through strategic partnerships. By working together, these universities will be able to bring great ideas to the marketplace faster and help drive economic growth for the benefit of people in both countries.”

Canadian universities are responding to the Brazilian government’s new Science Without Borders program by taking steps to attract top Brazilian graduate and undergraduate students to Canada. Announced by President Dilma Rousseff in 2011, the ambitious SWB initiative will provide 75,000 scholarships for Brazilian students to study abroad. Brazil’s private sector has stepped in to fund another 26,000 scholarships. On April 24 2012, the Governor General made a statement in the presence of President Rousseff in Brasilia to announce that Canada will welcome 12,000 Brazilian students at the undergraduate, doctoral and postdoctoral levels under the SWB program.

Canadian universities will be recruiting these scholarship recipients in a number of ways. The Consortium of the Universities of Alberta, Laval, Dalhousie and Ottawa (CALDO) has already signed an agreement with the organizing agencies in Brazil, CAPES and CNPq, to host both undergraduate and graduate students through this program. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, together with the Canadian Bureau for International Education, also has an agreement with CAPES to bring undergraduate students to Canada, with all AUCC members eligible to participate. Canada’s Mitacs will be working to bring 450 Brazilian undergraduate students to various Canadian universities through their Globalink program from 2012 to 2014.

Some Canadian universities will be offering funding to SWB scholarship recipients to complement the support they receive from the Brazilian government.

The delegation of Canadian university presidents now travels to São Paulo for the Canada-Brazil Innovation Nations Forum on April 27, where participants will discuss opportunities to strengthen university-private sector collaboration in the global economy.

The Brazil mission is being led the Governor General. AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Note to editors: A full list of today’s announcements is included in the backgrounder

Media Contacts:

In Brazil:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238
Cell. +1-613-608-8749

Atendimento à Imprensa no Brasil
MAPA Comunicação Integrada – São Paulo
Karoline Pereira – Atendimento
karoline@mapacomunicacao.com.br
Débora Kojo – Coordenadora de Núcleo
55 (11) 6182.4881 / 5096.3137 / 2501.8374
www.mapacomunicacao.com.br
In Ottawa:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
mbechard@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 306

Media release - April 24, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Guelph, ON – Close to a third of Canada’s university presidents are leaving for Brazil today on the largest-ever initiative of its kind. Their goal is to showcase Canada’s universities as among the best in the world and strengthen relationships with a rapidly growing economic powerhouse. In an unprecedented effort to promote Canada’s universities internationally, about 30 university presidents will join with their Brazilian counterparts in announcing new partnerships and memoranda of understanding to advance research, innovation and student mobility.

The delegation of university presidents will be led by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, who will deliver the opening address at the Conference of the Americas on International Education in Rio de Janeiro on April 26, 2012. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, will also be in attendance.

“This is a rare opportunity to raise the collective profile of the excellence of Canada’s universities in a country that’s our strategic partner,” says Stephen Toope, president of The University of British Columbia and chair of the board of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Many significant agreements will be announced during the mission, opening up exciting new opportunities in research, innovation and international mobility for students, researchers and faculty in both countries.”

Highlights of the mission include the Canada-Brazil University Presidents’ Roundtable in Rio de Janeiro on April 26, where presidents will discuss opportunities and challenges involved in building and strengthening bilateral university collaboration. On April 27, Canada’s university presidents will take part in an innovation forum in São Paulo to explore successful models of university-industry collaboration to enhance research and innovation in areas of shared interest.

The Canadian delegation will also visit advanced research facilities at the University of Campinas (Unicamp), and other high-end research institutes in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. On May 2, the mission will conclude with meetings between the presidents and Brazilian government officials in Brasilia.

“There are clear synergies between our two countries in important areas of research and discovery,” says Paul Davidson, AUCC president. “The strategic investments announced during this mission will help drive trade, build prosperity and enhance quality of life in both Canada and Brazil.”

The presidents are departing from Guelph today following successful AUCC membership meetings at the University of Guelph.

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Media Contacts:

In Brazil:

Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
Cell.: +1-613-608-8749

In Ottawa:

Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
mbechard@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 306

Media release - April 19, 2012
Topics: Brazil

OTTAWA – Canada’s university presidents are preparing for an unprecedented higher education mission to Brazil, April 25-May 2. About thirty university presidents will visit Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia to promote Canada as a partner of choice for research, innovation and higher education. The presidents will meet with their Brazilian counterparts and announce new research partnerships and scholarship agreements.

“This is the largest international mission of university presidents in Canadian history, which speaks to the importance of building connections with this emerging economic powerhouse,” said Stephen Toope, chair of AUCC and president of The University of British Columbia. “Our focus is on establishing and strengthening partnerships in research and innovation. We will also enhance opportunities for student mobility between our countries, providing experiences that will better prepare students in both countries for the new knowledge-driven economy.”

“This mission will build on existing Canada-Brazil relationships and catalyse new ones,” said Paul Davidson, president of AUCC. “These partnerships will address the research interests of both countries and foster long-term prosperity.”

In the next five years, Brazil is expected to become the fifth largest economy in the world. The university sectors in both countries have long recognized each other’s strengths and are keen to forge closer ties.

The Brazil mission is being led by Canada’s Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Note to Editors:

View the complete list of participating Canadian university presidents.

Additional information related to the AUCC presidents’ mission to Brazil can be found at www.aucc.ca/brazil.

Media Contact:

Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238
Cell. 613-608-8749

Media release - March 22, 2012
Topics: Brazil

OTTAWA – Canada’s universities are preparing to welcome thousands of new Brazilian students through the Canadian component of Brazil’s ambitious Science Without Borders scholarship program. Through these scholarships, more than 100,000 Brazilians will study, undertake internships and conduct research in selected countries around the world over a four-year period.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is collaborating with the Canadian Bureau for International Education to bring Brazilian university students to Canada. Through the CBIE/AUCC program and other agreements between Canadian institutions and the Brazilian government, an estimated 12,000 Science without Borders scholars are expected to come to Canada between now and 2016.

“Canadian universities will be welcoming scholarship recipients to an exceptional learning experience that is research-enriched and globally engaged,” said Paul Davidson, president of AUCC. “Attracting students and researchers to Canada through the Science Without Borders program is a key element of Canada’s efforts to build strong educational and research partnerships with Brazil now and in the future.”

In 2011, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced the plan to provide 75,000 scholarships for Brazilian undergraduate and graduate students to study abroad. Brazil’s private sector then stepped in to fund another 26,000 scholarships. The Canadian component of this program will offer a flexible combination of language training, academic study, research internships and off-campus work placements.

“AUCC plays a key role in building the Canadian brand of higher education excellence in Brazil, a vital element in attracting Science Without Borders students to Canada,” notes Mr. Davidson. “This spring’s mission of more than 30 Canadian university presidents to Brazil will generate high visibility for Canadian universities and help build a robust two-way exchange of students and faculty between our two countries.” The AUCC Brazil mission, led by Governor General David Johnston, takes place April 25-May 2, 2012.

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Media Contact:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
mbechard@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 306

Commentary - February 19, 2012

This op-ed  by Paul Davidson was published in the Toronto Star.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is one of the world’s premiere science conferences. Between February 16 and 20,  8,000 people will meet in Vancouver to learn more about some of the world’s newest scientific discoveries and will introduce new areas of inquiry that will shape science for decades to come. It is only the second time in its 164 year history that this conference has met outside of the United States – the first time was in Toronto in 1981.

Back then, I was a high school student in Toronto with a motivated science teacher who encouraged us to attend the conference. To be blunt, Canada was not on the map of leading research, and we were encouraged to attend so that we might set our sights on joining the big leagues elsewhere – the United States or the United Kingdom. Sure we had studied about the discovery of insulin – some 60 years earlier, but the underlying message was “real science happens elsewhere.”

Today, students at that same high school are doing stem cell research during co-op placements at the Hospital for Sick Children working with global leaders in state-of-the art labs. Today, more than 1 million Canadians are pursuing an undergraduate degree, and over 190,000 are pursuing graduate studies – part of a drive towards opportunity and excellence taking place right across the country.

In 1981 there was only one university in Canada conducting more than $50 million in research annually.  Today there are 26 doing that level of research, and 12 of them conduct more than $300 million in research each year. The largest of them (University of Toronto) conducts close to $1 billion in research annually. Through sustained investments, Canada has become a leader in science, technology and innovation.

Back in 1981 there were fewer than 10,000 people pursuing PhDs in Canada. Today, there are about 45,000 full time doctoral students in Canada, and they are conducting research that will shape the 21st century. This increased opportunity has helped ensure Canada has the highly talented people we need in the global economy.

Our universities today are much more global in their outlook and in their make-up. In 1981 there were just 28,000 international students in Canada, and today there are more than 100,000 from more than 200 countries. Universities are global gateways that strengthen the connections among and between nations and people.  

Consider Canada’s linkages with China. In 1981 there were only 250 Chinese students studying here – and now there are about 20,000. As Prime Minister Harper noted last week in Beijing, these global linkages are becoming increasingly important, particularly with new and emerging global superpowers.

These are all accomplishments about which we should be very proud. Looking ahead, Canada needs to continue its investments in research and innovation, and find new and better ways to collaborate in international research to harness the best minds on the world’s toughest problems.

In 1981, Toronto was a nice place to hold a conference just beyond the U.S. border. This week, when delegates come to Vancouver, they will see how dramatically Canada has changed. They will see what Canada has done to put us on the map as an international destination, partner and peer in doing ground-breaking research.

In preparing to attend the conference in Vancouver, I am delighted to see that there will be several hundred high school students attending, and I wonder what they will achieve in the next 30 years.

Media release - February 16, 2012

OTTAWA – Emerging economies around the world are transforming themselves through dramatic investments in higher education and research, and Western countries must take action now to not be left behind.

That’s the focus of a workshop hosted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver on Feb. 17. The session, “Establishing research collaborations with emerging economies: Canada’s experience in India and Brazil” will look at why and how Canada’s universities are establishing and enhancing educational and research partnerships with India and Brazil, the opportunities these collaborations are creating, and lessons that can be learned from the Canadian experience.

“International partnerships in research and innovation are vital to building prosperity in the new knowledge-driven economy,” says Paul Davidson, president of AUCC. “And in Canada, building international collaborations is increasingly about reaching out to emerging nations – countries that are building prosperity by investing in research and innovation.”

Brazil is an excellent example. This dynamic Latin American country is poised to become a top-five economy in the next five years and has set a research expenditure target of 2.5 percent of its GDP by 2022.

India, one of the fastest growing economies, will need 1,400 new universities in the next decade. It is currently sending about 160,000 students abroad annually and is poised to surpass all of the G8 in terms of research output.

The AUCC workshop will look at how Canada is positioning itself as a world leader in research and innovation – in part through enhanced partnerships and collaborations with emerging nations – and how this strategy fits with the country’s ongoing mission of attracting the best and brightest minds from around the world to its universities.

Workshop details:

Date: Friday, February 17, 2012

Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Facility: Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building)

Room: 107-108

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 NOTE TO MEDIA: AUCC president Paul Davidson is attending the AAAS Annual Meeting Feb. 16-20 and is available for interviews on this workshop topic and also the importance of hosting the AAAS gathering in Canada for our university research community.

Media Contact:

Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238
Cell: 613-608-8749

Media release - February 9, 2012

OTTAWA – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes news of increased cooperation between Canada and China in education, science and technology. The Government of Canada announced yesterday the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding related to the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program (CCSEP) and new calls for proposals under the Canada-China Framework Agreement for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation.

The CCSEP’s eligibility criteria will be expanded to include opportunities for Canadian undergraduate students and mid-career professionals to gain academic and professional experience in China (the program is currently open to graduate students and faculty members). “The renewal of this program signals the importance of higher education and research collaboration as a key pillar of bilateral relations between Canada and China,” said Paul Davidson, president of AUCC.

Canada’s universities also look forward to the upcoming calls for proposals for joint research projects, which are expected to be launched in spring 2012. A total of $18 million in funding will be available to support these initiatives, which will facilitate stronger ties between Canadian and Chinese graduate students and researchers in areas such as human vaccines and clean automotive transportation.

“Canada’s future growth and prosperity depend on our ability to be more innovative and competitive. Investments in international education and research will prepare our graduates to drive the innovative capacity of Canada’s economy and make positive contributions to their local and global communities,” said Mr. Davidson.

There are currently more than 475 active partnership agreements between Canadian and Chinese universities, facilitating student and faculty mobility, research cooperation and joint academic programming in a variety of fields. Canadian universities also hosted more than 30,000 Chinese students in 2009, which is the largest group of international students in Canada.

AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and degree-level colleges.

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For more information:

 Helen Murphy
AUCC Communications Manager
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238

Commentary - February 2, 2012

This article by James Bradshaw was published on the Globe and Mail website.

Universities have been vocal about their ambitions to lure more international students to Canada, but they are quietly worried far too few Canadian students go abroad for their own formative experiences.

Federal and provincial governments are eager to market Canada as a higher-education destination. They feel international students make the classroom more diverse and globally oriented, while also attracting new revenue.
 
But when 25 university presidents converged in Ottawa to discuss Canada’s innovation agenda with parliamentarians on Tuesday, several of them cautioned that more homegrown students need to study outside their own backyard to develop strong worldwide connections and an instinct to innovate.

“Canadian students are not big travellers in comparison to, say, Americans or New Zealanders or Australians, and they don’t even travel that much from province to province,” said Queen’s University president Daniel Woolf.

About 9 in 10 Canadian students go to university in their home province, and evidence suggests a large proportion choose a school within 20 kilometres of home. Only 12 per cent of undergraduates have an international placement or exchange experience, according to a 2009 survey – reason to fear the experience of many students is too parochial given high demand for the ability to work and think globally.

“If I look across the U.S. universities which are most like ours, it’s more like 20 per cent, or a little higher,” said Herb O’Heron, director of research and policy analysis at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “When I talk to people in Germany, more like a third of students have [such] an experience.”

Sean Riley, president of St. Francis Xavier University, was skeptical of his school’s service learning program that sent students to Guatemala to examine topics like the coffee economy, until he made the trip himself. Now he is “fanatical” about fostering international connections.

“If I had a choice, I’d take the number of students that have a significant international exposure and multiply it by 10 or 20,” Dr. Riley said. “I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think we actually have a global mindset.”

Most universities have dozens, even hundreds of partnerships with schools abroad, but only a fraction of students take advantage of them, especially early in their studies, said Dalhousie University president Tom Traves.

“It exposes you, it transforms you, changes you as a person – you never see the world in the same way again,” he said.

That was Georgia Anstey’s experience. The 21-year-old Vancouver native and University of British Columbia student stumbled on a UBC international service learning program in 2010, and spent six weeks that summer in Swaziland working on a community-level HIV/AIDS project and talking to families. She quickly switched her major from history to international relations, and now has two longer study trips planned, to Uganda and France.

“It shifted my entire direction,” Ms. Anstey said. “Looking at trends with HIV is so staggering sometimes, you distance yourself from it in a classroom sense, from a book or a report. But when you know people, it definitely makes a difference.”

Dr. Traves worries the public still sees study abroad as frivolous, making student travel a tough political sell. Most trips are funded out of strained university budgets, through in-house fundraising or out of students’ pockets.

By contrast, the Brazilian government recently promised to spend $2-billion sending 75,000 more of its students abroad.

“If you put in place a broad national strategy along these lines, I don’t think it would cost big money in the context of the total budget of the federal government – we’re talking tens of millions of dollars, not hundreds. That would be astonishing and have a huge impact,” Dr. Traves said.

“To be a global player, you have to have global understanding, and you can’t do that sitting in your basement looking at a computer screen.”

Media release - January 5, 2012
Topics: Brazil

Ottawa – Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, issued a statement today following the announcement by the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade on the six Canadian business leaders named to the new Canada-Brazil CEO Forum:

“AUCC is delighted by the announcement and the participation of these business leaders in the Canada-Brazil CEO Forum. The year 2012 represents an unprecedented opportunity to advance Canada’s relations with Brazil. In April, over 30 Canadian university presidents will travel to Brazil to increase ties in education, research and innovation, and we look forward to working with our partners in the private sector to move forward in this important relationship.”

View Minister Fast’s announcement.

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For more information, contact:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613-563-3961, ext. 306
Mobile: 613-884-8401
Email: mbechard@aucc.ca

Media release - November 2, 2011

OTTAWA – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s introduction of a new avenue to permanent residency for PhD students through the Federal Skilled Workers Program. The possibility of remaining in Canada to work and settle is very attractive to international students and a significant factor as they weigh their options to study in Canada against other countries. “This initiative will provide Canadian universities with one more competitive edge in attracting and retaining top international talent to pursue their doctoral studies in Canada,” said Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “We welcome this announcement and are committed to supporting CIC in their ongoing efforts.”

AUCC also joins Citizenship and Immigration Canada in celebrating the 10,000th permanent resident accepted to Canada through the Canadian Experience Class program. In the three years of its existence, CEC has proven to be a highly effective avenue to permanent residency for international graduates from Canadian universities and colleges.

The Federal Skilled Workers Program and Canadian Experience Class are both valuable mechanisms to facilitate Canada’s efforts in attracting and retaining top global talent, a critical element in achieving the vision of a smarter, more caring nation.

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Citizenship and Immigration Canada news release

For more information, please contact:

Rachel Lindsey
Senior Policy Analyst, AUCC
613-563-3961 ext 249
rlindsey@aucc.ca

Media release - October 25, 2011

AUCC releases 2011 national enrolment update

OTTAWA – Canadian undergraduate university enrolment surpassed one million students this fall. The latest university enrolment figures show full-time undergraduate university enrolment is up three percent – approximately 22,700 more full-time students – since 2010, while part-time undergraduate student enrolment has remained constant.

“Canadian universities made history this fall. They welcomed 1,015,000 undergraduate students onto campuses across the country,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “This kind of consistent growth in student numbers reinforces the value of a university degree. Students, parents and employers understand that a university degree is a sound investment in the future.”

When students learn in a research-enriched, globally-engaged environment, they expand their knowledge, critical thinking and analytical skills and inspire new ideas and creativity, which they take with them into the labour market after graduation. As a result, university graduates earn on average $1.3 million more over a lifetime than high school graduates, and they are less likely to be unemployed. Even during the recession, between 2008 and 2010, there were 300,000 net new jobs created for university graduates.

In 2011, enrolment figures demonstrate that demand for university education has increased at all levels of study. Full-time graduate student enrolment increased by 3.2 percent since last year, or 4,600 students, and part-time graduate student enrolment has increased 2.3 percent since 2010. There are now 195,400 graduate students enrolled at Canadian universities.

For the 16th straight year, the number of international students is on the rise. Full-time international enrolment (all levels combined) has increased by more than 11 percent since 2010, a four-fold increase since 1995. There are now 100,000 international students in Canada, from more than 200 countries.

“I’m pleased to see more international students on Canadian university campuses,” says Paul Davidson. “Canada is increasingly reliant on international trade to drive our economy, and international students are a big part of our success. Canadian universities attract students from all over the world. We engage them in our local communities, and then provide them with knowledge and skills to facilitate international linkages.”

AUCC is the voice for Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

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For more information:

Helen Murphy
AUCC Communications Manager
hmurphy@aucc.ca
Cell: 613-608-8749

Commentary - October 19, 2011

This op-ed was published in Embassy magazine on October 19, 2011

by Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

University leaders believe that Canadian students deserve research-enriched, globally engaged learning experiences in a culture of innovation. We have a long history of international engagement. More and more university students are prepared to live and work in a global economy. At the same time, Canada is a growing destination for international students and researchers, who make vital contributions to our campuses and local communities.

However, Canada is not alone in its search for the best and brightest. Our global competitors for talent are strengthening their recruitment strategies and adapting to market changes influenced by emerging economic powerhouses. Canada must seize this nanosecond of opportunity to showcase Canadian education and research excellence in order to solidify our position as a leading international education destination.

According to UNESCO, the number of international postsecondary education students increased by 77 percent between 2000 and 2009, from 2.1 to 3.7 million worldwide. In Canada, the number of international university students more than doubled over the same period, with international students making up 10 percent of the campus population across the country in 2010.

Students choose Canada for a wide range of reasons, including the excellent quality of our university programs and the welcoming nature of our communities. The opportunities to transition to permanent immigration status, and the comparatively low tuition and living expenses also help to place Canada a step above its competitors.

Important progress has been made towards the development of a coordinated, pan-Canadian approach to international education marketing. In recent years, the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has worked with provinces and education associations to develop the Imagine Education in/au Canada brand. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has also taken important steps to make it easier for international students to work off campus, and for graduates of Canadian universities to gain temporary work experience and apply for permanent residency. National education associations, including the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, have come together to form the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing, which aims to build Canada’s reputation as a destination for international students.

The 2011 federal budget allocated $10 million over two years to develop a new international education strategy, including ways to attract the best and brightest international students to Canada. Last week, a high-level advisory panel was established to make recommendations on the development and implementation of this strategy, which will be released in early 2012. Chaired by Amit Chakma, president of the University of Western Ontario, the panel will consult with key international education stakeholders across Canada in the coming months. Canadian universities look forward to actively participating in these consultations, working alongside panel members to enhance global connections for Canadian students, researchers and institutions. This coordinated strategy to attract talented students and researchers to Canada, and to promote Canadian expertise and education services abroad, will contribute to our nation’s prosperity.

Although international student recruitment is a priority for Canadian universities, other forms of international collaboration and connectivity are also essential, including international mobility opportunities for Canadian students and faculty, and international research collaboration. In our globally connected world, international partnerships help to create jobs, encourage economic growth and ensure that our labour force is ready to compete in the global marketplace.

The time is right for Canada to build new, effective and innovative research and higher learning partnerships, particularly with rapidly emerging economic powers like Brazil, India and China. Canada’s universities are helping to build enduring people-to-people linkages and institutional partnerships in these developing economies.

In November 2010, AUCC led a delegation of 15 university presidents to India. This largest-ever delegation of Canadian university presidents succeeded in positioning Canada as a partner of choice for Indian students, faculty, researchers and institutions. Since then, enrolment of Indian students in Canadian universities has increased. A second delegation of university presidents will travel to Brazil in April 2012. Led by the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, this even larger mission will focus on raising the collective profile of Canadian universities, building the brand of excellence in Canadian higher education, and establishing strategic university and research partnerships.

Emerging economies are signaling a profound commitment to higher education through significant investments in international opportunities for their students and researchers. The government of Brazil recently announced scholarships for 75,000 Brazilian students to study abroad for up to one year. With the Brazilian private sector expected to provide funding for an additional 25,000 students, this model exemplifies the importance of enhanced cooperation among governments, education institutions and the private sector. Canada wants to host our share of these students.

As high quality students from key markets around the world look beyond their borders for a study destination, Canada must become their first choice. Canadian universities are ready to welcome these students, providing internationally recognized programming at the undergraduate, master’s, PhD and post-doctoral levels, and offering a safe and welcoming learning environment.

With continued coordination and collaboration amongst governments and institutions, Canada is poised to become a top destination for international students and researchers. Vital institutional partnerships and research collaboration will also continue to multiply, bringing tremendous benefits to communities across Canada and offering new opportunities for young Canadians to gain the experience they need to succeed in today’s global, knowledge-based economy.

Media release - October 13, 2011

OTTAWA – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes the naming of the federal government’s expert advisory panel on international education, chaired by Amit Chakma, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Western Ontario.

“In today’s interconnected world, we know that investments in international education lead to ongoing economic, social and cultural benefits,” says Paul Davidson, president of AUCC. “A coordinated strategy to attract talented students and researchers to Canada, and to promote Canadian expertise and education services abroad, will contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

The panel will make recommendations on how to develop and implement an international education strategy, for which $10 million over two years was allocated in the 2011 federal budget. The Association also welcomed the strong role to be played on the panel by other university leaders and international education experts from AUCC member institutions, including Colin Dodds, president of Saint Mary’s University, who is a member of AUCC’s Board of Directors.

Canadian universities have a long history of international engagement and believe that Canadian students deserve a globally engaged, research-enriched learning experiences in a culture of innovation. “As a growing destination for international students, Canadian universities offer internationally recognized programming at the undergraduate, master’s, PhD and post-doctoral levels in a safe and welcoming environment,” says Andrée Chenard, AUCC’s government relations officer, who was commenting on the announcement at the China Education Expo in Beijing.

“The time is right for Canada to build new, effective and innovative higher research and learning partnerships with rapidly emerging economic powers, including Brazil, India and China,” says Mr. Davidson. “Canada’s universities are ready to play a leading role in making this happen.”

Over the coming months, AUCC looks forward to working with the advisory panel to enhance global connections for Canadian students, researchers and institutions.

AUCC is a committed member of the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing, whose purpose is to bring together the education sector for a cohesive pan-Canadian approach to international education marketing. Other members of the consortium are the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Languages Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International.

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

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For more information:

Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
613-563-3961 ext. 306
mbechard@aucc.ca

Presentation - October 5, 2011

By Paul Davidson
President, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Good morning. I’m pleased to be with you in Montreal, where AUCC was founded, and where we will be celebrating our centennial later this month. Looking back, we see a century of growth, dynamism and diversity. Looking forward, we see how vital high quality education and research will be to Canada’s prosperity in a global world.

I envy you. You have each earned the trust and confidence of voters in your community. And for the first time in almost a decade you have a four year mandate. Each of you has the opportunity to do something extraordinary for Canada.

Canada’s universities recognize we are facing a period of intense worldwide uncertainty. Universities are helping Canadians navigate through these challenging times.

When the last downturn hit, the government moved quickly to create the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. It showed tremendous alignment of federal and provincial governments in an area of national priority, and it has helped transform campuses.

From idea to announcement in six weeks, and from announcement to funding decisions in six months it was an example of public policy and implementation at its best.

And next month, universities across the country will open their doors to showcase the upgraded, expanded or newly-built facilities made possible through KIP. It is our way of showing Canadians the lasting value of smart stimulus. There are more than 59 public events that will demonstrate how KIP is improving the quality of the research and learning experience for Canadian students, and we hope that you will join us.

This year, Canada’s universities welcomed the largest incoming class ever – because students and their parents recognize the value of a degree. Through the last downturn, from 2008 to 2010 there were more than 300,000 net new jobs for those with a university degree – compared to 430,000 jobs lost for those with no post-secondary education.

And we are going to need to continue to increase participation even more to meet the needs of an aging society, where the number of retirees will double and the workforce will grow by just 8%.

Let me talk now about the 2012 Budget.

We appreciate the recovery is fragile and there may be the need for flexibility in the months ahead.

This government is to be commended for sustaining investments in research – even during a downturn. And those investments are yielding results for individuals and communities. In the past the committee has asked me to elaborate on these results. I am pleased to say that today we are releasing new information to all MPs about the value of university research to Canada’s prosperity.

For next year’s budget, we have three major priorities.

First, university research. Funding through Canada’s three federal granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation not only supports new discoveries, products and processes, it also allows faculty to engage students in hands-on research. And that gives students the analytical and innovative skills they need to thrive in today’s knowledge-based economy.

Second, enhancing links to the private sector and building a stronger innovation culture. We need to link university students and faculty more closely with private sector partners to build greater collaboration and networks.

What’s needed now is a new mechanism to help business engage new talent, and to help highly qualified graduates connect with Canadian enterprises. Such a mechanism will help create job experiences in the private sector for master’s and PhD graduates, and foster a culture of innovation in Canada.

And finally we need to improve Canada’s educational connectivity to the world.

Last year I spoke of India – in November, Canada’s universities committed $4 million of their resources to promote student mobility and research collaboration with India. And there is more to be done.

We are also delighted that the Prime Minister announced that the Governor General will lead an AUCC mission to Brazil in spring 2012.

Why do I keep referring to the need for greater educational connectivity? Because of scope, scale and urgency.

Brazil has just announced a scholarship program for 75,000 students to study abroad. India has 160,000 students studying abroad – but only 3,000 of them are in Canada. China has increased enrolment by two million in two years.

As a country we need to be able to seize these opportunities to connect to growing markets – especially when our competitors cannot.

That is why our third priority is a significant global research fund, focussed on priorities such as Brazil and India, enabling more students and faculty to participate in international collaborative research. And creating the linkages essential to prosperity in the years ahead.

Conclusion:

I am pleased that others have taken up our recommendation to improve access and success for Canada’s aboriginal youth, and we continue to see that as an urgent national challenge.

We need to make sure that this generation of students is the best educated and prepared to meet the challenges our country is facing. We believe that research-enriched, globally engaged university experiences within a culture of innovation are the best way for Canada to prosper as we navigate through a changing world.

Commentary - September 22, 2011

By Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

In today’s interconnected world, we know that investing in international educational experiences – whether on our campuses in Canada, or abroad – creates ongoing economic, social and cultural pay-offs. For example – international students contribute more than $6.5 billion directly to Canada’s economy every year. Even more important, they enrich the learning experience for Canadian students.

I know first-hand about the benefits of international education. In my third year of university, I travelled to newly independent Zimbabwe. I lived in residence with peers who years earlier were fighting for their country’s independence. I was taught by professors who had fled apartheid South Africa. That year changed my life and view of the world. It was an exhilarating learning experience that laid the foundation for my graduate work, and led to a wide range of career experiences. It also made me absolutely committed to ensuring more Canadian students have the opportunity for that kind of learning.

Canadian universities provide the ideal setting to nurture these 21st century skills. Universities are a gateway to a larger world – a world of new ideas, bold vision, innovation and broader horizons. A recent report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education found the single most common thing valued by Canadians about study abroad is the exposure students get to different cultures and languages. Canadians know study abroad helps students better understand the world around them, enhances their overall educational experience, increases job prospects, and contributes to Canada’s global competitiveness. When this same study asked employers, more than half said they would hire a student with international study abroad experiences over a candidate without those experiences.

Our future is increasingly shaped by fast-moving, global forces. To understand these challenges, Canada needs employees with knowledge of other countries, languages and cultures, and an ability to establish partnerships with international colleagues.

In November 2010, the largest delegation of Canadian university presidents to travel abroad undertook a seven-day mission in India. Fifteen university leaders worked to establish Canada as a preferred partner for higher education collaboration. This AUCC-led mission strengthened existing partnerships and explored new ways for Canadian and Indian universities to work together.

Next April, AUCC will lead an even larger delegation of university presidents to Brazil to encourage international research collaboration and greater student mobility between our two countries. Brazil is about to become the fifth largest economy in the world. As Brazil hosts the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, Brazil will showcase its dynamic and bourgeoning economy. Investments that Brazil is making now in infrastructure, human resource development, and research and innovation are creating opportunities for business, governments, and universities around the world.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently announced university scholarships for 75,000 Brazilian students to study abroad. Canada is ready to welcome these students. International faculty, researchers and students bring their culture and global perspectives to classrooms, labs and student residences – enriching the learning experience for all.

The time is right for Canada to build new, effective relationships with rapidly emerging economic powers, including Brazil.

Canada’s universities are ready to play a leading role in making this happen.

Media release - September 15, 2011

OTTAWA – Today’s announcement of the inaugural 70 recipients of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships will help Canada’s universities develop, attract and retain top researchers from across Canada and around the world. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced the recipients today at the Ontario Cancer Institute.

“The Banting Fellowship program is a significant investment in research excellence at Canada’s universities and other institutions,” says Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “These fellowships will help our universities attract the best and brightest researchers to our campuses and allow Canadian researchers to complete their placements at a foreign research institute, further strengthening our global research networks.”

Announced by Prime Minister Harper in July 2010, the five-year, $45 million Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program will award 70 new fellowships each year, each valued at $70,000 annually for two years. The program builds on the success of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program, the Canada Research Chairs program and the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program.

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For more information or interview opportunities:

Helen Murphy
AUCC Communications Manager
hmurphy@aucc.ca
613-563-1236 ext. 238

Media release - August 9, 2011
Topics: Brazil

Statement:

Ottawa, August 9, 2011 – Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, issued a statement today following the announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the opening of three new visa application centres in Brazil:

“AUCC welcomes this announcement. This concrete step will lead to more Brazilians choosing Canada as their preferred place to conduct research and study, as was demonstrated when similar visa application centres were opened in China and India. Improving visa processing times is a vital component of an effective international education marketing strategy, and today’s announcement will enhance Canada’s competitiveness.”

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For more information, contact:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613-563-3961, ext. 306
Mobile: 613-884-8401
Email: mbechard@aucc.ca

Media release - August 8, 2011
Topics: Brazil

OTTAWA, August 8, 2011 – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) is delighted by the Government of Canada’s announcement today of increased cooperation with Brazil in the areas of higher education research and innovation.

During a visit to Brazil on August 8 where he met with President Dilma Rousseff, Prime Minister Harper announced renewed funding for the International Science and Technology Partnership Program, and the development of a new and unique bilateral Science and Technology Action Plan focused on innovation. The Action Plan will encourage Canadian and Brazilian academic and business communities to work together to accelerate the commercialization of research and development in areas of common interest. The prime minister also announced the recipients of the first eleven scholarships granted under the Canada-Brazil scholarship program, a component of the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP).

“The focus on knowledge and innovation demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to deepening relations with our Brazilian partners,” says Paul Davidson, President of AUCC. “This kind of support for the internationalization of Canadian universities and for collaborative research and innovation drives economic growth and strengthens relationships.”

Brazil is also a country of priority for Canadian universities. AUCC and its members are making concerted efforts to improve bilateral academic relations with Brazil in a timely and focused manner. In June, AUCC led a workshop to advance excellence in strategic engagement with Brazil, bringing together senior participants from over half of Canada’s universities, their Brazilian counterparts, government representatives and other stakeholders. Canadian and Brazilian universities signalled their strong interest in reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships and a shared interest in promoting innovation.

Building on the successes of the workshop and the momentum generated by recent high-level government visits to Brazil, AUCC is organizing a mission of Canadian universities presidents to Brazil in the spring of 2012. This mission will help raise the collective profile of excellence of Canadian universities in Brazil, providing opportunities to advance the Canada-Brazil higher education and research agendas.

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For more information, contact:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613-563-3961, ext. 306
Mobile: 613-884-8401
Email: mbechard@aucc.ca

Media release - August 3, 2011

OTTAWA, August 3, 2011 – Today’s announcement of 167 new Vanier Scholars by Prime Minister Stephen Harper demonstrates the commitment of the federal government and Canada’s universities to attract the best researchers from around the world to our campuses.

“Perhaps Canada’s greatest asset during these challenging economic times is our talent,” says Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Investments such as the Vanier Scholarships are bringing the best researchers and innovators to Canada, and enhancing our competitive position globally. The discoveries and innovations of these scholars and their colleagues will help build a better quality of life for Canadians and position our country as a productivity leader in the years ahead.”

Canada’s public investments in research and innovation, such as the Vanier Scholarships, have increased through the economic downturn, and the outstanding talent pool being developed by Canada’s universities is widely recognized. Canada leads the world in the growth rate of PhD degrees in the sciences, and comes second only to Sweden in the growth of doctorates in engineering – an important competitive advantage for an economy that depends on high-level skills and talent.

Launched in 2009, the Vanier Scholarships are designed to attract and retain world-class doctoral students from Canada and around the world. This year, 167 Vanier scholars were announced at 26 universities, with graduate students from the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa choosing Canadian universities for their doctoral studies. Today’s announcement is valued at $25 million, bringing the total government investment in the program to $75 million.

Vanier scholars receive $50,000 annually for up to three years, and each is selected based on his or her demonstrated leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering or health sciences.

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For more information or interview opportunities:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel.: 613-563-1236, ext. 238
Email: hmurphy@aucc.ca

Media release - June 23, 2011

OTTAWA, June 23, 2011 – International development experiences for Canadian university students received a major boost this month, thanks to new CIDA-funded projects administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) through its Students for Development (SFD) program.

Thirty-seven Canadian university projects have been selected for the new SFD program. These projects will see 660 Canadian university students spend at least three months over the next four years working with 100 partner organizations abroad – including universities, NGOs and government agencies – and 100 students from overseas spending an academic term in Canada. The partner organizations are in 22 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas; 64 per cent of the projects are with partners in Africa.

“Canada’s universities are keen to provide their students with the kind of international experiences that will prepare them for leadership positions in our changing world,” says Paul Davidson, AUCC President. “At the same time, all Canadian university students will benefit from bringing students from developing and emerging nations to our campuses. This is an important step forward in the internationalization of Canada’s universities and their work in international development.”

This new SFD funding will also see students at 22 Canadian universities connect with students at overseas institutions through the use of new technologies.

Since its launch in 2005, nearly 1000 Canadian students from over three-quarters of Canada’s universities have participated in internships in developing and emerging countries through AUCC’s Students for Development (SFD) program.

Background information: 
Details on Students for Development’s new projects.
List of 2011-2015 projects
2011-2015 project profiles

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For more information or interview opportunities:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Email: hmurphy@aucc.ca
Tel.: 613-563-3961, ext. 238

Media release - June 16, 2011
Topics: Brazil

Ottawa, June 16, 2011 – In a world of fragile economies, Canada and Brazil have come out strong. Now is Canada’s nanosecond of opportunity to engage with this Latin American powerhouse. Brazil will soon become the world’s fifth largest economy and the eyes of the globe will turn to the south as it plays host to the World Cup and Olympic Games in coming years.

On June 14th and 15th, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) led a two-day session on “Advancing Excellence in Strategic Engagement with Brazil”, bringing together senior delegates from more than half of Canada’s universities, their Brazilian counterparts, government representatives and other stakeholders. Canada’s universities are well-positioned to play a leading role in fostering the kinds of collaborative research and innovation that drives economic growth and strengthens relationships.

In order to accelerate Brazil-Canada links, discussions focused on the importance of research and innovation collaboration and the role of the private sector. Dr. Sara Diamond, President of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, described her university’s experience in working with Brazilian universities and entrepreneurs in the digital economy. Conference attendees expressed interest in pursuing a high-level, bilateral public-private event to further social and economic development through digital tools and content.

Additionally, the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) announced a $200,000 investment to enhance support for bilateral research collaboration. FAPESP also expressed a keen interest to partner with other Canadian institutions. With one per cent of São Paulo state’s gross tax revenue directed toward FAPESP, its budget for research, including scholarships, fellowships and grants, was over $500 million (USD) in 2010.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently announced university scholarships for 75,000 Brazilian students to study abroad. Canada’s universities want to host these students.

“We have to work hard to make sure that Canada tops the list when Brazil’s best and brightest students choose an international institution,” says Paul Davidson, President of AUCC. “Succeeding at this will bring tremendous economic benefits to Canada and help build important partnerships and collaboration.”

Canada already enjoys a solid foundation on which to build; more Brazilian students choose Canada for language studies than any other foreign country. “It’s leveraging these kinds of people-to-people linkages that is going to move both countries forward,” says Davidson.

“The Brazilian Government, academic institutions and private sector are very pleased to be part of the construction of this strategic engagement with Canada and look forward to soon harvesting the fruits of the seeds we are planting,” says Brazilian Ambassador to Canada Piragibe Tarragô. The ambassador opened the conference together with Canada’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Morris Rosenberg.

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Media Contact:
Helen Murphy
Communications Manager
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Email: hmurphy@aucc.ca
Tel.: 613-563-1236, ext. 238

Commentary - June 15, 2011
Topics: Brazil

This op-ed was published in Embassy on June 15, 2011

By Paul Davidson
President and CEO
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

When Canadians think of our major global trading partners, Brazil is not usually top of mind. We need to change that.

Canadians need to pay more attention to Brazil. The rate of progress and change taking place across Latin America and particularly in Brazil is largely unheeded in Canada. Conversely, while thoughts of Canada in Brazil evoke good feelings, we are not high on their priority list. The fact that President Lula did not make a single official visit to Canada during his two mandates is very telling.

As Brazil takes centre stage and plays host to the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, the world will watch Brazil showcase its dynamic and bourgeoning economy. Investments that Brazil is making now in infrastructure and human resource development are creating opportunities for business and governments around the world to play a role in this large and growing economy.

In 2007, Prime Minister Harper rightly announced a strategy for Canada to re-engage with the Americas, with Brazil as a priority country. With a majority government, now is the time to advance that agenda. The urgency is clear: with Brazil set to be the fifth largest economy in the world, Canada must take action to strengthen our engagement with this economic powerhouse.

Canada and Brazil have much to build on. We share similar characteristics with our large landmasses, multicultural societies and workforces, diversified economies with large stores of natural resources, and significant research and development endeavours. And yet we have much to learn from each other’s cultures, languages and perspectives on plural societies.

Canadian universities are poised to take action. The university sectors in both countries have long recognized each other’s strengths and are keen to forge closer ties. Canadian universities are global institutions, with a global outlook and reach and it is only natural for Canadian universities to partner with their Brazilian counterparts when seeking the best and the brightest the world has to offer.

Beyond its economic power and vast natural resources, Brazil’s most prized commodity is its talent. Brazil already produces two times as many PhDs as Canada, especially in key areas of joint interest – clean energy, biosciences and transportation. Moreover, seven of the ten leading research intensive universities in Latin American are based in Brazil. Canada needs to strengthen links with them.

In terms of an exchange of students, today’s numbers are small; only 500 Brazilian students are enrolled in Canadian universities and even fewer Canadian students are in Brazil. We can do better. Given our hemispheric proximity, we should be natural partners in developing the global workforce of tomorrow.

On June 14th and 15th, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) will bring together representatives from over 40 of Canada’s universities to meet with key Brazilian institutions, government representatives and private-sector voices to look at concrete ways to advance this relationship. The workshop is part of AUCC’s strategy to deepen the academic and research relationship between Canada and Brazil and to establish Canada as a partner of choice for Brazil. This work will set the stage for an AUCC-led mission of Canadian university presidents to Brazil in spring 2012.

As Canada emerges from the global downturn, we have an opportunity to build new, effective relationships with rapidly emerging economic powers, including Brazil. Canada’s universities are ready to play a leading role in making this happen.

Media release - June 10, 2011
Topics: Brazil

June 10, 2011, OTTAWA – With Brazil poised to become the fifth largest economy in the world, Canada must take action to strengthen our engagement with this economic powerhouse. That’s one of the messages being delivered at a workshop in Ottawa June 14-15 on Canada’s relationship with the thriving Latin American country.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is leading the two-day session under the theme of “Advancing Excellence in Strategic Engagement with Brazil.” The workshop will bring together leaders in each country’s government and university sectors to discuss best practices around raising the profile of the bilateral relationship and helping to build mutually beneficial partnerships.

“Beyond its economic power and vast natural resources, Brazil’s most prized commodity is its talent,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. Brazil already produces two times as many PhDs as Canada, especially in key areas of joint interest – clean energy, biosciences and transportation. Moreover, seven of the ten leading research intensive universities in Latin America are based in Brazil.

“In terms of higher education, there is increasing competition to partner with Brazilian universities, so Canada has to increase its visibility in Brazil and demonstrate our tremendous learning and research opportunities,” says Davidson.

Canadian universities are poised to take action. The university sectors in both countries have long recognized each other’s strengths and are keen to forge closer ties.

“Canadian universities are global institutions, with a global outlook and reach and it is only natural for Canadian universities to partner with their Brazilian counterparts when seeking the best and the brightest the world has to offer,” notes Davidson.

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For more information or interview opportunities:
Helen Murphy
AUCC Communications Manager
Email: hmurphy@aucc.ca
Tel.: 613-563-1236 ext. 238

Media release - June 6, 2011

Ottawa, June 6, 2011 – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) applauds the Government of Canada’s continued support for university research and international engagement as announced in Budget 2011.

“We’re very pleased to see this government honouring its commitment to Canada’s universities as initially presented in the spring budget,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. “With a four-year mandate, the federal government has a meaningful opportunity to position Canada as a leader in research, discovery and innovation through investment in our university sector.”

Highlights of support for Canada’s universities include:

  • a $37 million increase in the annual investment in the three major granting councils
  • the establishment of 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs
  • a total of close to $250 million over six years to strategic research initiatives led by or involving Canada’s universities, including an additional $65 million for Genome Canada to continue its ground-breaking work
  • $10 million over two years to develop and implement an international education strategy that will reinforce Canada as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research
  • measures to build on recent efforts to strengthen connections between Canadian universities and India, including a $12 million investment in the establishment of a new Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence

“Canadian families know that a university education is the surest path to prosperity and economic security,” says Mr. Davidson. “These investments will help our universities strengthen communities and address Canada’s challenges and priorities in crucial areas such as health care, energy and climate change.

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

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For interviews and information, contact:
Helen Murphy
Manager, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
613.563.1236, ext. 238
Mobile: 613.608.8749

Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613.563.3961, ext. 306
Mobile: 613.884.8401
mbechard@aucc.ca

Media release - March 22, 2011

Ottawa, March 22, 2011 – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada strongly welcomes the Government of Canada’s continued support for university research and international engagement as announced in Budget 2011.

“We’re pleased with the strengthened investment in university research and innovation in this budget,” says Michel Belley, chair of the AUCC Board of Directors and rector of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. “This support will increase Canada’s capacity for discovery and innovation, and enhance the university learning experience for all students.”

Adds AUCC president Paul Davidson: “This budget represents tremendous progress for the university sector: more funding for the research councils, promotion of international educational marketing, additional support for students, and a range of measures to foster innovation and research.”

The $37 million increase in the annual investment in the three major granting councils (plus $10 million more for the indirect costs of research) will help universities pursue the research that drives innovation and produce the highly educated employees needed in all sectors of the economy.

“Canadians know that we have to increase productivity in order to prosper in the new global economy,” says Mr. Davidson. “These investments are leveraging university research, innovation and knowledge to make this happen.”

The university community is pleased with the establishment of 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs in the budget. The federal government has also announced a total of close to $250 million over six years for strategic research initiatives led by or involving Canada’s universities, including an additional $65 million for Genome Canada to continue its ground-breaking work, $100 million for neuroscience research, and $50 million over five years to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to support its research, education and public outreach activities.

Budget 2011 provides $10 million over two years to develop and implement an international education strategy that will reinforce Canada as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research. It also includes measures to build on recent AUCC efforts to strengthen connections between Canadian universities and India, including a $12 million investment in the establishment of a new Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence.

“Canadian families know that university education leads to rewarding careers and helps strengthen communities,” says Mr. Davidson. “Three out of four new jobs created by 2017 will require university education. Furthermore, seven out of 10 jobs vacated by retiring baby boomers will require postsecondary education. This budget signals that understanding.”

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

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For interviews and information, contact:

Greg Fergus
Director, Public Affairs
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel.: 613.563.3961 ext. 229
Mobile: 613.884.6416

Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613.563.3961, ext. 306
Mobile: 613.884.8401
mbechard@aucc.ca

Commentary - January 6, 2011

Africa set to benefit from international partnerships

Margaux Béland
Director, Partnership Programs
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

This letter was published on the Science Development Network website on January 6, 2011

There are some positive developments to share in response to Christopher Chetsanga’s argument for supporting young African scientists, put forth in his opinion article entitled Young African scientists must be able to contribute to development. A recent collaboration between Canadian and African universities, for example, announced just weeks ago in Ghana, aims to directly address the need for education and knowledge infrastructure in Africa, which, as Chetsanga points out, is so crucial to the continent’s future.

To mark African University Day on 11 November 2010, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and its African counterpart, the Association of African Universities (AAU), officially launched a partnership programme called “Strengthening Higher Education Stakeholder Relations in Africa”. These organisations have come together to forge 27 new university–industry partnerships in Africa, which will see Canadian and African researchers integrate their knowledge and help advance local and regional industries.

I am especially enthusiastic about one of these partnerships, formed by the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa, Ghana, and the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) in Canada. As an integral part of the undergraduate engineering programme, students will be trained while working in the local oil and gas industry. UMaT is the only university in Ghana mandated to train engineers in this sector.

This initiative could not have come at a better time. Ghana is beginning to produce oil expected to generate revenues that, according to the International Monetary Fund, could contribute 4–6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product over the next five years.

I was pleased to find that the programme is well placed to have a cross-border effect. At the official launch of the partnership between the AUCC and the AAU, Elias Asiam, dean of international programs at UMaT, noted that the university is training not only Ghanaian engineers but also professionals from the mining ministries of Liberia and Nigeria, among other countries. International partnerships between universities could boost the influence of such institutions on the agendas of host countries and, in this case, their neighbours.

The project is directed by John Quaicoe, dean of engineering and applied science at MUN, and a Canadian of Ghanaian origin. A visit to Ghana three years ago sparked his interest in sharing knowledge and experience with UMaT.

From my perspective at the AUCC, Quaicoe is not the only member of the developing world diaspora who is working to improve conditions in his native country. A 2008 survey of our flagship University Partnership for Cooperation and Development (UPCD) programme revealed that nearly 20 per cent of the project directors were originally from developing countries.

Since its launch in 1994, with the aim to strengthen higher education institutions in the South, the UPCD programme has funded more than 154 projects in such disciplines as education, natural sciences and the humanities. We all stand to gain from the mobility of scientists — whether from South to North, or North to South.

There has been a push for universities in the developing world to become more involved in setting national priorities since more than 100 countries signed the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. It is time for universities, including scientists and researchers from all disciplines, to use sound research and innovative technologies as a positive influence on national agendas. And this is exactly what the AUCC and the AAU aim to accomplish with their new partnership in Africa.

Commentary - December 22, 2010

This letter was published in the Toronto Star, on December 22, 2010

Paul Davidson
President
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Rick Westhead’s article highlights the reasons why Canada’s universities have undertaken an unprecedented collaboration in attracting Indian students to our country.

Canada needs to build its reputation as a top destination for postsecondary students in India. Millions more Indian families will soon be seeking postsecondary education for their children in order to assure them of a prosperous future. The Indian government has reached out to other countries to help fill this growing demand, which is far beyond its own capacity. Canada is answering the call.

Last month, 15 university presidents took part in the Association of University and Colleges of Canada’s seven-day education mission to India. One Canadian university reaching out to a nation where 550 million people are under the age of 25 is a mere drop in the bucket, but when 15 presidents along with Canada’s Minister of Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, made the journey together, they attracted the attention of the highest levels of Indian government, educators and media.

Along with our federal government’s new emphasis on trade links with India, this increasing focus on Indian recruitment holds the promise of something truly transformational for our country: The emergence of a new “super-partnership” that will position Canada as a leader in the new global economy.

Media release - November 30, 2010

OTTAWA, November 30, 2010 -– Working closely with trainee teachers and community workers at three Ghanaian universities, researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) have successfully helped reduce the stigma related to HIV/AIDS in hundreds of communities in Ghana.

“Stigma is a major obstacle in Ghana to HIV-prevention, for access to appropriate treatment and to care,” says Dr. Martin Laba, the Canadian project director from SFU’s school of communication. Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, and administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the 6-year long project has directly informed approximately 104,000 people in Ghanaian communities about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Researchers from SFU along with Ghana’s University of Cape Coast (UCC), the University of Ghana and the University of Education, Winneba, created a curriculum to demystify the disease and address its prevention and treatment. This information is then disseminated in local communities via student teachers and community workers.

Explaining the approach, Albert Koomson, director, UCC Centre for Distance Education, notes that all trainee teachers at the participating universities are required to take the course which lasts one-semester and outlines how the virus is transmitted. “Students have learned that shaking hands, sharing food, hugging or being in proximity to a person living with HIV or AIDS doesn’t pass on the disease,” says Mr. Koomson.

Researchers conducted interviews in Ghana as part of the curriculum development and found that misinformation, with its accompanying stigma, lead to such inhumane treatment as firing people from their jobs or evicting them from rental homes on the basis of their HIV-positive status.

The project ends this year and over its duration has successfully graduated a critical mass of school teachers, youth workers, students, parents and teenagers who have a more comprehensive understanding of HIV/AIDS. This cohort of thousands of informed people has collectively influenced those around them and brought about a huge reversal in trends. Now, for many, the disease is no longer associated with negative judgements on a person’s morality or even their worth as a human being.

A key element of the teachers’ training is a “portfolio” study whereby the student teachers visit two households of at least four individuals to survey their HIV/AIDS knowledge base. Students return twice more to share correct information and ensure householders have a clear understanding of the disease. In Ghana, teachers, including trainee teachers, receive special respect among community members. They are well-received and viewed as authoritative sources of knowledge.

According to Mr. Koomson, UCC efforts alone have reached almost 60,000 people directly, but the combined efforts of the three institutions have reached over 100,000 people. “The results were so impressive that the Ghana AIDS Commission now works hand in hand with us at the universities as they are very impressed by our reach,” says Mr. Koomson. Members of the project’s steering committee meet monthly with representatives from the Commission and the Ghanaian Ministry of Health.

The Ghana AIDS Commission reported a decline in the country’s prevalence rate from 3.2 percent in 2003 to 1.9 percent in 2009. This translates into around 300,000 HIV-infected people, a relatively low prevalence rate. However, this does not mean efforts should be relaxed.

“With this low rate, it is very easy for people to get into complacency mode, thinking that it’s not a major issue,” says Professor Sakyi Amoa, the Commission’s director. “ …to succeed we must intensify education and awareness. That tells you the important role of education in the whole national response.”

As World AIDS Day approaches on December 1st, the project responds directly to this year’s theme of universal access and human rights.

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For more information:

Note: B-roll (22 mins.) available. Please contact AUCC for downloadable file.

For highlights, see video below:

Interviews available with:
Project Director, Simon Fraser University:
Dr. Martin Laba, School of Communication
Tel.: (778) 782-5166
Email: laba@sfu.ca

Project Director, University of Cape Coast:
Dr. Albert Koomson, Director, Centre for Distance Education
Tel.: (233) 042 36946 OR (233) 042 36947 OR (233) 042 35203
Cell: (233) 243 887343
Email: albertkmsncce@yahoo.co.uk OR cceucc@yahoo.com
Note: Time difference between Ottawa, Ontario and Ghana +5:0 hrs;
Time difference between Vancouver, BC and Ghana: +8:0 hrs

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada:
Elizabeth Smith; Communications Manager
Tel.: (613) 563-3961, ext. 246
Email: esmith@aucc.ca

Media release - November 15, 2010

Accra, Ghana, November 15, 2010 – Universities’ role in the development of a more prosperous Africa was advanced last week with the announcement of a new $2.2 million partnership between African and Canadian universities. Officially launched to coincide with African University Day, this undertaking by the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the Association of Canadian Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) aims to strengthen ties between African universities and local and regional industries to ensure the development of the skills and knowledge to meet Africa’s current economic needs.

“The Government of Ghana is proud to be associated with this new collaborative project,” remarked Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Joseph Annan, who was a keynote speaker at the event. “The project’s objectives of strategic planning, conducting case studies on university-industry linkages and strengthening the AAU and member-stakeholder relations will not only help to deliver on the association’s mandate, but will also showcase how universities play a central role in the continent’s development,” he said.

As noted during the launch, universities are critical members of today’s knowledge economy, helping to generate a highly skilled workforce as well as the vital networks that bring people, knowledge and infrastructure together.

“With this new initiative, we see the AAU-AUCC relationship moving from strength to strength, supporting a new generation of Africa-Canada university linkages,” observed Canada’s High Commissioner to Ghana Ms. Trudy Kernighan, who also spoke at the event.

No strangers to each other, the AAU approached the AUCC because of Canadian universities’ successful track record in working with the private sector and other key stakeholders. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is providing the financial support for this three-year project.

The theme for this year’s African University Day is the Contribution of African Universities to the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

As part of the partnership, individual African and Canadian universities will team up to plan strategies for increased African university-industry linkages. An example includes the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), in Tarkwa, Ghana and Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) who will work together to establish a cooperative education program at UMaT. As an integral part of the engineering undergraduate program, the new program will train students working in the local oil and gas industry.

Ghana is on the verge of becoming an oil-producing country. Oil production is expected to start at the end of 2010 and based on proven reserves, oil revenues are expected to contribute an estimated four to six percent of GDP over the next five years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

MUN’s cooperative program is a great asset to this initiative according to Dr. John Quaicoe, the dean of engineering and applied science. This project evolved from his visit to the university in Ghana three years ago.

Apart from his Ghanaian roots, Dr. Quaicoe underlines the importance of sharing his knowledge and experience for the benefit of others. “To be able to help a developing country with the genuine desire to have an improved standard of living is the real motivation,” said Dr. Quaicoe. “I feel that we in Canada are quite blessed in terms of our resources, our way of life,” he says. “We will use our experience to work with our colleagues at UMaT to assist in the development of skilled professionals for the oil and gas industry.”

Professor Elias Asiam, dean of international programs at UMaT and a mineral engineer, was among those at the launch and also remarked on his institution’s new partnership with MUN. “We are the only university in Ghana mandated to train engineers in the oil and gas sector in Ghana and elsewhere,” he noted, adding that UMaT is training not only students from the region but also professionals from other countries’ ministries of mining, including from Nigeria and Liberia.

“We especially appreciate working with MUN as they have been there a long time and we are just starting. They will foresee our challenges and help us with them.”

AAU was established in 1967 by universities in Africa to promote cooperation among themselves and with the international academic community. With a membership of 253 higher education and research institutions from 46 African countries, the association’s vision is to maintain the AAU as the representative voice of the African higher education community.

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

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For more information:
Jackey Locke
Communications, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Memorial University
Tel: (709) 864-8287
Cell: (709) 691-5027
Email: jackey.locke@mun.ca

Professor Elias Asiam
University of Mines and Technology (UMaT)
Tarkwa, Ghana
Tel: 011- 233-244593689
Email: ekasiam@yahoo.com

Liz Smith
Communications, Partnership Programs
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: (613) 864-2891
Email: esmith@aucc.ca

NOTE: Photos available.

Media release - November 9, 2010

Canadian university presidents announce over $4 million investment in India-specific initiatives

Ottawa, November 9, 2010 – As a sign of their commitment to engaging with India, Canadian universities announced today in New Delhi funding for a series of India-specific initiatives valued at over $4 million. These investments include the new Globalink Canada-India Graduate Fellowship Program, new scholarships for Indian students, and institutional partnerships funds.

The announcement came at a roundtable for Canadian and Indian university presidents in the presence of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State (Science and Technology) and India’s Minister of Human Resource Development, the Honourable Kapil Sibal. This event is part of the historic Canadian university mission to India designed to forge mutually beneficial links between Canada and India – one of the world’s most dynamic economies. The visit is organized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and includes 15 presidents from universities across Canada.

“We all recognize the importance of a deeper engagement with India, for the individual Canadian universities that form this delegation, and also more broadly for the entire Canadian higher education sector,” said Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia in making the announcement on behalf of the delegation. “The mission has been an effective catalyst, inspiring universities across Canada to create new awards for Indian students and form new partnerships with Indian universities and institutes.”

“Thanks to the leadership of our government, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and its member institutions, Canada is becoming a destination of choice for international research talent,” said Minister of State Goodyear. “We will continue to vigorously pursue the tremendous opportunities for scientists and businesses to conduct research and invest in innovation in Canada.”

The centrepiece of the package announced today is the Globalink Canada-India Graduate Fellowship Program which will provide up to 51 awards valued at more than $3.5 million for Indian students who have participated in the MITACS Globalink program in 2010, an initiative that brings Indian undergraduate students to Canada for summer research internships.

Eight Canadian universities – McMaster University, Simon Fraser University, The University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Waterloo and The University of Western Ontario – are providing funding for these new graduate fellowships.

The additional Canadian university investments in India come in the form of India-specific initiatives by participating universities including new scholarship programs for Indian students from The University of British Columbia, OCAD University, Queen’s University, University of Regina, Royal Roads University, Saint Mary’s University, Vancouver Island University and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as funding for institutional partnerships for the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba. Details of the initiatives announced can be found in the backgrounder.

“These new investments are a concrete demonstration of Canadian universities’ commitment to partnering with Indian universities and supporting Indian students in the spirit of international education,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. “Higher education is essential to the advancement of our participation in the global knowledge economy – both for Canada and India. This type of academic cooperation and mobility facilitates that progress.”

Follow the AUCC mission to India on Twitter (@UA_magazine, hashtag #auccindia)

We are also live blogging the mission at www.aucc.ca/india

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Background on Canadian University Announcements

For information, please contact:

Robert White
Senior Policy Analyst
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel.: 613-563-3961, ext. 284
Email: rwhite@aucc.ca

Backgrounder - November 9, 2010

On the occasion of the Presidents’ Roundtable of November 9th in New Delhi, Canadian universities announced a series of India-specific initiatives valued at over $4 million CAD, including the new Globalink Canada-India Graduate Fellowship Program, new scholarships, and new funded institutional partnerships.

Globalink Canada-India Graduate Student Fellowship Program

Eight Canadian universities have come together to provide graduate fellowships for top Indian students who wish to pursue a Masters or PhD in Canada. The Globalink Canada-India Graduate Fellowship Program will provide up to 51 awards valued at more than $3.5 million CAD for Indian students who have participated in the MITACS Globalink program* in 2010.

University Number of Awards Total Estimated
Value
Term of Award
McMaster University Up to 5 Masters = $52,000 to $84,000
PhD = $148,000
MASc or MSc – 1-2 years (duration depends on program)
PhD – 4 years
Simon Fraser University Up to 8 Masters = $56,000
PhD = $104,000
Masters – 2 years
PhD – 4 years
The University of British Columbia 10 Masters = $78,000
PhD = $136,000
MSc – 2 years
PhD – 4 years
The University of Ottawa 5 Masters = $62,000
PhD = $104,000
Masters – 1.5 years with potential to renew for 6 months
PhD – 3 years with potential to renew for 4th year
The University of Toronto 10 Masters = $83,225
PhD = $167,525
MSc – 1.5 years
PhD – 3.5 years
The University of Victoria 5 Masters = $42,000
PhD = $64,000
Masters – 2 years
PhD – 4 years
The University of Waterloo 5 Masters = $102,000
PhD = $143,000 to $184,000
MSc – 2 years
PhD – 3 years with potential to renew for 4th year
The University of Western Ontario 3 Masters = $69,000
PhD = $119,000
MESc – 1.5 years with potential to renew for 6 months
PhD – 3 years with potential to renew for 4th year

* MITACS Globalink brings top undergraduate students from India to Canada for summer research internships. Established in 2009, the program aims to build Canadian research links with India while connecting with its future innovators and entrepreneurs and showing them all that Canada has to offer in terms of research and innovation. For more information, visit www.mitacs.ca and please contact:

Megan Airton-Cindric
Director of Communications
MITACS Inc.
Tel.:  604.822.3982
Email: mairton@mitacs.ca

New University Initiatives Announced

In addition to the Globalink Canada-India Graduate Fellowship Program the following individual universities have announced their own India-specific initiatives at a value of over $500,000 CAD:

New Scholarships

The University of British Columbia

  • 10 Outstanding International Student awards for top Indian undergraduate students for entry into UBC programs in September 2011 (valued at $10,000 each).
  • IIT Delhi Engineering Student Mobility program (One $5,000 stipend for an undergraduate or graduate Indian student in engineering).
  • For more information please contact: Jill Lambert, University of British Columbia: jill.lambert@ubc.ca

OCAD University (formerly Ontario College of Art and Design)

  • One International Entrance scholarship for a top Indian undergraduate student for entry into OCAD University’s Master’s programs (valued at $10,000):
    • Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design
    • Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation
    • Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial Practice
    • Master of Arts in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories
  • For more information please contact: Sarah Hildebrandt, OCAD University, shildebrandt@ocad.ca

Queen’s University at Kingston

  • Four International Entrance Scholarships for top Indian undergraduate students for entry into Queen’s programs (valued at $9,000 each).
  • Five Principal’s International Scholarships for top Indian undergraduate students for entry into Queen’s programs (valued at $20,000 over 2 years).
  • For more information please contact: Nancy Dorrance, Queen’s University nancy.dorrance@queensu.ca

University of Regina

  • 100 scholarships for Indian students wishing to enter the University of Regina in any undergraduate program. (valued at $1000 each.)
  • For more information please contact: Dale Johnson, University of Regina: dale.johnson@uregina.ca

Royal Roads University

  • Two scholarships for Indian students who will enroll in the Masters of Global Management program (valued at $5,000 each).
  • One scholarship for an Indian student who will enroll in the Doctor of Social Sciences program (valued at $12,000).
  • For more information please contact: Cyndi Mcleod, Royal Roads University: cyndi.mcleod@royalroads.ca

Saint Mary’s University

  • One scholarship for an Indian student who will enroll in a Master of Science program (tuition waiver plus $5,000/year for living expenses for 2 years. Total value is $30,000).
  • For more information please contact: Margaret Murphy, Saint Mary’s University: margaret.murphy@smu.ca

Vancouver Island University

  • One scholarship for a qualified Indian undergraduate student for entry into any program at VIU in the fall of 2011 (valued at $5,000).
  • $5000 has been put aside to facilitate new faculty exchanges with Indian institutions.
  • For more information please contact: Bruce Condie, Vancouver Island University: bruce.condie@viu.ca

Wilfrid Laurier University

  • One scholarship will be awarded to a qualified Indian undergraduate student for entry into any program at Wilfrid Laurier University in the fall of 2011 (valued at $5000).
  • For more information please contact: Kevin Crowley, Wilfrid Laurier University: kcrowley@wlu.ca

New Funded Institutional Partnerships

The University of Saskatchewan will make the inaugural disbursement from its International Partnership Fund, in the amount of $150,000 to establish a new partnership between the Uof S and Guru Angad Dev Verterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) in Ludhiana, India in the areas of public health, zoonoses and toxicology. In addition to the $150,000 provided by the Uof S, GADVASU is committing $150,000 making this a $300,000 project over the next 3 years.  The funds will be used to pay the costs of travel for students and faculty between Ludhiana and Saskatoon, and provide $20,000 stipends to up to 6 graduate students each from Canada and India.  Faculty from both institutions will participate in the teaching of graduate courses via use of distance education modalities.  GADVASU students will enroll in relevant Masters of Public Health courses offered online by the School of Public Health.  U of S graduate students will conduct part of the research for their dissertations in India.
For more information please contact: Kathryn Warden, University of Saskatchewan:  kathryn.warden@usask.ca

The University of Manitoba has partnered with the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT) and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries of India (MoFPI) by signing an MOU to train IICPT staff and students at the University of Manitoba as well as to exchange faculty members between the two organizations to build research capacity at IICPT for research into better pulse storage and processing systems. With funding of $100,000 each from the Province of Manitoba and MoFPI, the University of Manitoba will fund training of at least six scientists from IICPT for 3 to 6 months each and offer scholarships of $1000 per month for six months to at least 9 graduate students from the IICPT for their research training.  Regular exchange visits of faculty members between the two organizations will build a solid research and training program for grain storage and processing at the IICPT.
For more information please contact: Leah Janzen, University of Manitoba: Leah_Janzen@UManitoba.CA

New Partnership Agreements Signed at the November 9 Presidents’ Roundtable

University of British Columbia is renewing a long-standing student mobility agreement with IIT Delhi, which involves undergraduate engineering students spending time at each others’ institutions. IIT Delhi students have regularly received a stipend from UBC to support their studies. The renewal of this agreement marks the high-level support of this partnership at both universities.”
For more information please contact: Jill Lambert, University of British Columbia: jill.lambert@ubc.ca

University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Amal Jyothi College of Engineering 2 + 2 will sign an agreement to jointly offer a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nuclear Power degree.
For more information please contact: Lisa Banks, University of Ontario Institute of Technology: lisa.banks@uoit.ca

Royal Roads University and the Indira Gandhi National Open University will sign an agreement to establish an education partnership that will explore joint delivery of programs through blended and distance education programs.

Royal Roads University and the ACN School of Business will sign an agreement to establish a partnership on academic cooperation as it relates to collaborative exchanges, joint research and to explore the joint development and delivery of corporate and custom education programs.
For more information please contact: Cyndi Mcleod, Royal Roads University: cyndi.mcleod@royalroads.ca

Media release - November 4, 2010
Topics: India

Largest-ever Canadian university mission aims to tap into strong demand for higher education

Ottawa, November 4, 2010 – The largest delegation of Canadian university presidents ever to travel abroad begins a seven-day mission in India on November 8.

The group will forge mutually beneficial links between Canada and one of the world’s most dynamic economies. The visit is organized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and includes 15 presidents from universities across Canada.

Over the course of seven days, they will participate in a series of targeted meetings with Indian educators, government officials and business leaders. The first major event will be a roundtable of Canadian and Indian University presidents to be joined by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State (Science and Technology) and India’s Minister of Human Resource Development, the Honourable Kapil Sibal. Another key occasion will be the delegation’s participation in the higher education summit organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. They plan to return to Canada with deeper connections that will lead to creative cooperation agreements, and leave behind an enhanced profile of Canada as a key player in the global knowledge economy.

Canada has been moving aggressively in recent years to step up cooperation with India, and the two countries have signed agreements in a number of areas, including in higher education. There are enormous potential benefits in this sector, and the mission is a coordinated attempt to tap into that potential.

India, with over one billion people, is home to a growing middle class. This means that literally tens of millions of families are now in a position to offer their children a higher education. But even though the country recently decided to boost its higher education budget by about 40 per cent, the sector cannot grow fast enough to keep up with the demand. The research component at India’s universities is also experiencing phenomenal growth, and India is on track to surpass the research capacity of each G8 country within the next decade.

The Canadian educators travelling to India in November will:

  • foster the development of innovative research and cooperation agreements with institutions in India;
  • raise the profile of Canada’s higher education ‘brand’ in India;
  • better understand the implications of India’s new Foreign Education Providers Bill, legislation that sets ground rules for universities wanting to open campuses and grant degrees in India; and
  • attract more Indian students to Canada.

“Strong universities help build strong societies. They also strengthen regional economies while enhancing a country’s capacity to contribute to the world economy,” says Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia and a member of the mission. “Canadian universities can build beneficial partnerships in India to create exceptional learning opportunities for students and research collaborations that improve our societies nationally and globally.”

“In this age of globalization, it will be the formation of super-partnerships, rather than single superpowers, that will lead the way,” adds Dr. Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta who is also joining the delegation for a portion of the mission. “With a focus on education, energy, and entrepreneurship, Canada and India can lay the foundations of a formidable super-partnership.”

“We also want to raise Canada’s profile,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. “And given the vast complex nature of the Indian market, this collective effort of Canadian universities is a necessary step to maximize impact there. We are not on the radar of most of the Indians thinking of studying abroad. They need to know Canada offers quality education in a rich learning and research environment.”

“This mission is a way for us to get to know India and its needs more deeply – and to make sure that when Indians think of research and higher education, they think of us. Educators and business people in India need to know that Canadian universities are open to building successful partnerships that will enrich experiences for students, strengthen links between our countries and advance international research collaboration.”

“Next year, 2011, has been designated Year of India in Canada,” notes Mr. Rana Sarkar, President and CEO of the Canada-India Business Council. “As they get to know India better, we hope Canadians will recognize the breadth, depth and permanence of the economic changes happening there, as well as its potential. In that context, more cooperation can only benefit both countries.”

Follow the mission on Twittter @UA_magazine (hashtag #auccindia)

We’ll also be live blogging the mission at www.aucc.ca/india

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For more information:
Robert White
Senior Policy Analyst
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
613-563-3961 ext. 284
or
613-884-8420 (cell)
rwhite@aucc.ca

Media release - November 3, 2010

Canada’s universities call for international education strategy

Ottawa, November 3, 2010 – The number of international students enrolled in Canadian universities increased 10 percent this year: a trend that enriches the learning experience for Canadian students, builds global links for Canada and generates economic activity in communities across the country.

“Canada is a nation built on linkages around the world. The increased presence of international students brings both immediate and long term benefits,” said Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Today, AUCC released the fourth brochure in a series that examines in the value of a university education. Value of a Degree in a Global Marketplace shows that international student enrolment in Canada’s universities has risen for the 15th year in a row. There are now 90,000 full-time international students studying at Canadian universities – triple the number of students who came to Canada to study in 1998.

Despite this success, international competition to recruit top talent is intensifying. The United States, United Kingdom and Australia are all outpacing Canada. In 2008, the United States attracted nearly half a million international students; the United Kingdom attracted three times that of Canada with 306,000; followed by Australia with 181,000 international students – double the number of international students studying in Canada.

“Canada needs a national strategy and government investment to aggressively build Canada’s brand and to help attract the best and the brightest students from around the world,” said the AUCC president. “These graduates will help build international, economic, diplomatic and cultural ties and contribute to Canada’s competitiveness in the global market.” In recent months, Canada’s national education stakeholders have formed a marketing consortium, and all of Canada’s premiers have identified the need for an international marketing strategy as a key priority.

Download the Value of a Degree in a Global Marketplace brochure.

AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

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For interviews and information contact:
Mélanie Béchard
Communications Officer
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Tel: 613-563-3961, ext. 306
mbechard@aucc.ca

Commentary - November 1, 2010
Topics: India

By Paul Davidson
President and CEO
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

This op-ed was published in The Times of India on November 1st, 2010

A colleague was recently travelling in India and asked Indians she met what came to their mind when they thought of Canada. Invariably the answer was “cold”. While it is true our winter months have low temperatures in most provinces, we have a warm welcome awaiting Indian students, faculty and research partners at our world class universities. We want you to think of Canada’s higher education sector as your partner of choice for collaborative research or your study destination.

“Why Canada?” you might ask. To begin, Canada has strong cultural links to India – being home to over a million Indian immigrants. What’s more, we are known for our safe campuses, being bilingual (English-French, with English predominating) and are globally-oriented. Canada ranks as being among the most multicultural nations in the world. According to the World Bank, Canadian cities are among the best places to live, work and study. Besides an outstanding quality of life, Canada offers one of the healthiest economies in the world.

In addition to these factors, quite simply, Canada offers high quality university education in a rich learning and research environment. Our internationally ranked universities have great value to bring to the Indian higher education sector as partners or as a destination of study.

In addition to our universities’ internationally renowned reputation for top quality learning and cutting edge research, Canada has a vibrant high-tech sector to facilitate leading industry linkages.

Research and development in Canada is thriving and has long contributed to the country’s economic backbone. Did you know, for example, that Canada is home to such life-changing discoveries as insulin, the electron microscope, the pacemaker? Canadian universities perform more than one-third of the country’s research and contribute billions of dollars to the Canadian economy. Across Canada and every day, research institutes are being established and world-renowned research teams are setting up shop. Research, for example, in health, nanotechnology, high-performance computing and film animation is exploding. We’d like to welcome Indian partners to be a part of this. And you can be assured, with this kind of strength in research, we have found effective ways to heat our homes and offices during the winter. Get more statistics and analysis on Canadian university research.

Partnerships in higher education and research are critical in these endeavours and range from university partnerships with private companies to research projects with governments, communities, the not-for-profit sector and international partners.

Canada has a proven track record for making our campuses more global; we have welcomed tens of thousands of international students and created important long-term linkages. So far about 2,800 students have come from India, but we have room for many more.

That is one of the reasons why the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has made strategic engagement with India a priority. AUCC is the national association representing public and not-for-profit universities in Canada. It currently has 95 member institutions in more than 80 communities across Canada.

In November this year, AUCC is leading a mission of close to 20 university presidents – representing the largest international delegation of Canadian universities – to India to profile Canada as a partner of choice in higher education. The mission will include a Presidents’ Roundtable, intended to build on Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s 2009 education roundtable in Delhi, and on the Canada-India higher education Memorandum of Understanding signed by Prime Ministers Harper and Singh last June. University presidents will also participate in a partnership forum to build university-industry linkages between the two countries.

Higher education and research is essential to advancement in both countries for our respective participation in the global economy. To meet this challenge, Canadian universities are coming to India to engage with key Indian government decision-makers, business leaders and universities.

Learn more about Canadian universities, and about our mission to India.

Commentary - October 27, 2010
Topics: India

By Paul Davidson
President and CEO
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

This op-ed was published in the Vancouver Sun on October 27, 2010

Canadians are going to hear a lot about India in the coming months.

That’s partly because 2011 has been designated the Year of India in Canada, and we’re going to be exposed to Indian culture like never before through performances, exhibitions, film festivals, food festivals and other events and activities. In tandem with that, we’re also going to be hearing a lot about India as a new economic partner, and the tremendous potential for mutually beneficial partnerships between our two countries.

It is in that context that the largest delegation of Canadian university presidents ever to travel abroad (and the largest delegation of university presidents ever welcomed by India) undertakes a seven-day mission in India this November. The visit, organized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, includes 15 presidents from universities across Canada. The goal of the mission is to find new ways for Canadian and Indian universities to work together, while at the same time creating awareness of Canada’s “brand” in India.

It’s hard to exaggerate how far India has come in the last 20 years.

Characterized as an unparalleled innovation hub and an emerging economic powerhouse, India achieved average real growth of almost nine per cent per year from 2003 to 2007. Even in 2009′s recession, according to Canada’s Export Development Corp., the country’s economy grew by six per cent in the final quarter. Over the next decade, the Indian government expects that 1,400 new post-secondary institutions will be created, to serve seven million more students.

India has recognized it can’t do this alone and the country is inviting more international partnerships. Canada has signalled that it is willing to take up the challenge. Last June, as part of the G20 Summit held in Toronto, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in higher education.

Canada’s internationally ranked universities have a lot to offer the Indian higher education sector. Canadian universities perform more than one-third of the country’s research and contribute billions of dollars to the Canadian economy. Across Canada and every day, research institutes are being established and world-renowned research teams are setting up shop. Research in health, nanotechnology, high-performance computing and film animation, for example, is exploding.

Given India’s potential, we have to be mindful of the fact other countries are also sounding out partnerships. One of the goals of the visit is to establish Canada’s profile in India. We have to let people know that Canada stands for excellence in higher education and research, especially in fields of interest to India.

Canada has much to work with in seeking new partnerships with India: strong cultural links; thriving high-tech companies; a strong university research system; natural resource strengths; and a multicultural society and workforce. We are also both geographically large and ethnically diverse federations, democracies, and members of the Commonwealth using the Westminster parliamentary system. We have in common the English language. Canada is home to over a million people of Indian origin. There are already several well-established Indo-Canadian academic partnerships. Increasing Canadian universities’ contribution to India’s higher-education sector will do much to enhance Canada’s profile and social and economic leadership in the world.

Harper noted in a speech in Toronto earlier this year that the economies of Canada and India “complement each other in so many ways that the low level of trade between us seems unnatural.”

He added: “That’s something we must change. … The road to the future for both India and Canada could carry much more traffic, if we continue to work on building the bridges.” This mission of Canadian university presidents is a step in that direction.

Media release - October 15, 2010

Ottawa, October 15, 2010 – A partnership between universities in Canada and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has resulted in Congolese farmers in some 20 communities more than tripling their corn production since 2005.

As World Food Day approaches on October 16, this effort responds to one of the event’s key objectives of strengthening collaboration against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the world’s undernourished live in just seven countries, one of which is the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Congolese agronomy students from the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN) are being trained, with Laurentian University’s support, to help farmers apply cutting-edge agricultural techniques. The main food source in this country – corn – lacks nutritional value. It doesn’t have the full range of amino acids needed to produce proteins, and has its niacin (vitamin B3) bound in an indigestible complex. Yet most Congolese cannot afford to buy meat or milk products especially in rural areas where over 70 percent of people live. To redress this challenge, the project promotes the cultivation of high-yielding corn seed with better nutritional value.

Administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the project’s goal is to promote UNIKIN’s efforts to help Congolese institutions and farmers achieve sustainable food security. Caritas-Congo, the largest NGO active in the country, also part of the partnership, provides the vital link to the communities.

Through the two universities working together, Master’s and PhD-level programs in food security have now been developed at UNIKIN. Students in the graduate programs are trained in community settings in Kasai province and work directly with farmers in addressing crop production problems.

“We are trying to have rural farmers take their destiny into their own hands,” said Kabwe Nkongolo, the project’s co-director and a professor of plant and human genetics at Laurentian University. Dr. Nkongolo, who is originally from DRC, notes that the improved seed production and adoption of appropriate agricultural practices have resulted in farmers producing enough for consumption and for storage for future use for about 6,000 families. The results are particularly impressive for an investment of approximately $166,000 per year.

“I’ve seen smiling Congolese farmers express their gratitude,” he adds. “They like to share the food they cook. They bring you gifts, chicken, even a goat, as a sign of appreciation.” The CIDA-funded project comes to an end in March 2011 but Dr. Nkongolo said he is already seeing the ripple-effect of its success.

“The project is ending but the partnership is continuing,” he said. “We have already laid a foundation for the activity to continue.”

He said the Congolese partners, particularly Caritas Development Congo, have been able to leverage an additional $10,000,000 US in funding from the European Union and from the African Development Bank to extend the project beyond the 20 communities that have already benefited. Funds will be used for storage facilities for the surplus corn, as well as for maintaining and building rural roads, and food market construction. This extended food security program is led by Dr. Bruno Miteyo, National Director of Caritas Congo and Deputy President of Caritas Africa.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945. People around the world will observe this 30th World Food Day, this year’s theme is “United against Hunger”.

According to the FAO, never before have so many in the world gone hungry, with one billion people facing hunger every day. Food security, a priority theme for CIDA, was set back in 2009 with the global financial crisis which caused food prices to soar.

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For further information please contact:

Elizabeth Smith
Communications Manager
Partnership Program
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Email: esmith@aucc.ca
Telephone: 613 563-3961, ext. 246

Dr. Kabwe Nkongolo
Project Co-Director
Laurentian University
Email: knkongolo@laurentian.ca
Telephone: 705 675-1151, ext. 2307
Cell: 705 691 1140

In DR-Congo:
Dr. Bruno Miteyo
National Director of Caritas Congo
Email: directeur@caritasdev.cd OR nyengemiteyo@yahoo.fr
Cell: 243 99 99 88 725
Time difference between Ottawa, ON and Kinshasa, Congo – Dem.Rep. of : +5:00 hrs

NOTE: Photos available

Media release - June 29, 2010

Five national education associations establish the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing

Ottawa, June 29, 2010 – As a signal of their commitment to attracting the best and brightest students to Canada, the presidents of five key national education associations signed a Memorandum of Understanding today establishing the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing.

The consortium members include the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International, the Canadian Bureau for International Education and Languages Canada. The consortium, which represents the vast majority of Canadian education institutions engaged in marketing abroad, will aim to provide leadership, coordination and added value to the sector’s marketing efforts to attract international students to Canada.

Canadian education institutions face intense competition in international student recruitment from countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom which benefit from well-funded central coordinating bodies that promote their education systems around the world.

To compete on this global stage, collective action is required. This new consortium will draw on the strengths of each member and strategically align activities to improve the results of marketing efforts promoting Canada as a destination of choice to the growing pool of international students.

This sector-led initiative includes an action plan outlining innovative approaches to enhance visibility in key markets. It will align with and support the priorities of government partners, including Canadian missions abroad. The consortium will propose the action plan as a basis for a partnership with federal and provincial/territorial governments.

The consortium is committed to contributing to the national objective of welcoming more international students, who in addition to being a potential source of talent for this country, make an immediate economic impact of approximately $6.5 billion annually according to a study conducted by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

There are many benefits associated with international students, both while they are here studying and after graduation, whether they choose to return home or put their expertise and knowledge to work in Canada. Consortium partners believe that bringing the education sector together will contribute to achieving the goal of maximizing these benefits.

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For more information:

Norah Lynn Paddock
Senior Policy Analyst
International Relations Division
Tel.: 613-563-3961 , ext 321

Media release - June 10, 2010
Topics: India

OTTAWA, June 10, 2010 – When the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s two-day workshop on strategic engagement with India wraps up today, participants from more than one-third of Canada’s universities will return to their campuses equipped with strategic and practical approaches to nurturing productive, long-term, value-added relationships with Indian counterparts.

“Canada’s universities are pursuing opportunities in India that will enrich experiences for students, strengthen links between Canada and India, and advance international research collaboration,” said Paul Davidson, President of AUCC.

Coupled with its rapid economic rise, India is dramatically expanding its higher education system and is on track to surpass the research capacity of each G8 country within the decade. It is vitally important that Canada engages with India, and Canada’s universities are well placed to promote Canada and develop effective partnerships.

With its international partnership and internationalization expertise, and with the strong support of university presidents across Canada, AUCC has made strategic engagement with India a priority.

The workshop entitled Advancing Excellence in Strategic Engagement with India, builds on AUCC’s involvement with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Higher Education Summits in 2008 and 2009 and a graduate mobility workshop held in Delhi in 2009. The two-day session in Ottawa drew over 50 participants from over 30 Canadian universities and included leading experts form India and the private sector.

It follows recent missions by Prime Minister Harper, and Premiers McGuinty and Charest, where higher education featured prominently on the agenda. The event also sets the stage for a mission of 15 university presidents to India later this fall.

Workshop participants were unanimous that Canadian universities can help ensure Canada becomes a partner of choice for India and that they have great value to bring to the Indian higher education sector. “While there are many distinct models of engagement being utilized by the Canadian universities, the underlying goals for their commitments are the same: reciprocity, longevity and productivity. We see vast potential in what Canada is doing – mobilizing its expertise from diverse institutions and setting the pace for engagement that is in the best interest of both nations,” said Pawan Agarwal, Secretary to the Government of West Bengal. “We look forward to welcoming the Canadian delegation to India this fall,” he added.

Key note and other speakers urged participants of the workshop to think about long-term, substantive and sustained efforts with Indian partners as a means to create opportunities for Canadian students and faculty to gain first-hand experience. As India’s importance in the world grows, individuals skilled with engaging India will be in high demand.

To conclude the AUCC workshop this evening, the Indian High Commissioner to Canada, Shashishekhar M. Gavai, will welcome participants to his home, a networking opportunity also marking the kick-off to the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute’s annual members’ meeting commencing Friday. Earlier in the workshop, he congratulated AUCC for reaching out to India on behalf of the Canadian universities and for making major contributions to bridge the higher education sectors of the two countries.

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AUCC is the national voice for Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

For more information:

Alison Hebbs
Assistant director, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Commentary - June 9, 2010
Topics: India

by Paul Davidson
President and CEO
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

This op-ed was published in the Embassy newspaper on June 9, 2010.

A recent call for building a “Canada brand” in India by the former Clerk of the Privy Council, Kevin Lynch, is being pursued by Canada’s higher education sector. In his article, “India: An Emerging Economic Power”, published in Policy Options in April, Mr. Lynch argues there is vast opportunity for Canada to create a niche and the potential for benefits is high.

India is constantly characterized as an unparalleled innovation hub and an “emerging economic powerhouse” these days, with its population reaching well over 1.15 billion people (a full 17 percent of the world’s population), and therefore the largest democracy on the planet. India achieved steady average real annual growth of almost nine percent from 2003 to 2007. Even in 2009’s recession, according to Canada’s Export Development Corporation, the country’s economy grew by six percent in the final quarter.

This translates into a burgeoning Indian middle class, many times larger than the entire Canadian population, which is driving strong domestic demand. This demand is not limited to consumer goods – the list includes better infrastructure, more effective and transparent local government, efficient and effective application of the rule of law and better higher education opportunities.

Over the next decade it is anticipated that 1,400 new postsecondary institutions will be created to serve seven million more students. India is opening its doors and inviting more international partnerships to help mount the response.

Canadian universities are answering the call. There’s no doubt that now is the time to create opportunities for successful engagement and dialogue with key Indian government decision-makers, business leaders and universities to underscore the excellence of Canadian universities.

Canada’s universities are pursuing opportunities in India that will enrich experiences for students, strengthen links between Canada and India, and advance international research collaboration. There is much to do. For example, while there are 28,000 Indian students studying in Australia, there are only 2,800 Indian students in Canada. Thomson Reuters reported last fall that India is on track to surpass the research capacity of each G8 country within the decade. And there are many opportunities for linkages with the Indian private sector.

This is precisely why the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is gathering national, international and India experts in Ottawa on June 9th and 10th to discuss some of these successes with an aim of advancing strategies for engagement with the Indian higher education sector. The workshop is being held in preparation for a November 2010 university presidents’ mission to India that AUCC will lead.

The AUCC mission forms one building block in a series of ongoing efforts to develop a strategy for improving Canada-India academic relations that is focused and sustainable and will achieve concrete results for the benefit of both nations. During his visit to India last November, Prime Minister Harper convened a roundtable on higher education underscoring the importance of this sector to Canada’s India strategy.

More recent missions led by Premiers McGuinty and Charest also reflect Canada’s ambitions. An upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Harper and Prime Minister Singh on June 27th following the G20 may also advance the higher education agenda.

As Mr. Lynch correctly points out, Canada has much to work with in undertaking these steps: strong cultural links; high-tech companies; a strong university research system; natural resource strengths; and a multicultural society and work force. Canada is home to over a million Indian immigrants. And we already have several well-established Indo-Canadian academic partnerships underway.

We recognize the commitment must be long term and that collaboration between the two countries’ governments, businesses and research communities will be key. This week’s workshop and the November mission are important steps in demonstrating our coordinated efforts to create stronger networks among university heads and to consolidate the impact of Canadian universities’ activities in India.

Media release - June 2, 2010
Topics: India

OTTAWA, June 2, 2010

National and international experts are gathering in Ottawa June 9th and 10th, 2010 to discuss success stories and strategies for engagement with the Indian higher education sector. Join us for this dynamic forum for peer exchange and dialogue to support Canadian universities’ efforts to form productive long-term partnerships with Indian organizations. The workshop is a key lead up event to a November 2010 university presidents’ mission to India that AUCC is leading.

What: The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s workshop, Striving for Excellence in Strategic Engagement with India. Journalists are invited to attend sessions except for small group discussions. Photo and interview opportunities can be arranged with presenters. The full agenda is attached.

When: June 9 and 10, 2010

Where: Pinnacle Room, Penthouse level, Crowne Plaza, 101 Lyon Street, Ottawa, ON (public parking available under Place de Ville or in the public lot between Queen and Albert Streets at Kent.)

Who: Attendees will hear from:

  • Shashishekhar M. Gavai, Indian High Commissioner to Canada
  • Pawan Agarwal, Secretary to the Government of West Bengal and author of the book Indian Higher Education: Envisioning the Future
  • Kaustav Ganguli, Engagement Manager, Infocomm, Media and Education practice, Tata Strategic Management Group, Mumbai, India
  • Parag Diwan, Vice-Chancellor, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, New Delhi, India
  • Shobha Mishra, Director, Higher Education Group, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, India

The event is open and free of charge to the media. Spaces are limited and journalists are encouraged to register by contacting Alison Hebbs at 613-563-3961 ext. 238.

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AUCC is the national voice for Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

For more information:

Alison Hebbs
Assistant Director, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Media release - May 27, 2010

OTTAWA, May 27, 2010 – On the week that marks Africa Day, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is proud to announce it has formed a new partnership with the Association of African Universities to strengthen African universities’ relationships with local and regional industries. This project will create 27 new university-industry partnerships, with about 250 AAU member institutions benefiting.

“Universities are critical members of today’s knowledge economy,” says Goolam Mohamedbhai, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities. “They not only generate the knowledge and a highly skilled workforce, they also create vital networks that bring people, knowledge and infrastructure together.”

Through this partnership, financially supported by the Canadian International Development Agency, African universities will be linked more closely with the private sector, positioning them to better develop the skills and knowledge to meet Africa’s economic needs. African universities have faced challenges in strengthening their linkages with the private sector due to under-resourcing.

“Higher education is one of the most powerful yet underestimated instruments of development,” says Paul Davidson, president and CEO of AUCC.

Professor Mohamedbhai says his association approached AUCC because Canadian universities have successfully pioneered effective linkages with the private sector and other key stakeholders over the past several decades.

AUCC and Canadian universities, in turn, will gain enhanced relationships with African universities. With these new relationships, Canadian institutions can continue to reinforce the pivotal role of higher education in economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa.

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AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities representing 95 Canadian public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

For more information:

Liz Smith, Communications
Partnerships Programs
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Media release - May 17, 2010

OTTAWA, May 17, 2010 – Canada’s universities applaud today’s announcement that 19 world-leading international university researchers have chosen to pursue their research in Canada as a result of the new and prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs program.

“These renowned researchers are working at the frontiers of knowledge. Their work will strengthen Canada’s innovation capacity and benefit all Canadians,” says Michel Belley, chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and rector of Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

Paul Davidson, president and CEO of AUCC, added that the new CERC program is “smart and strategic: smart because research is vital to Canada’s prosperity and we’re in a very competitive environment in terms of attracting and retaining world-class researchers. It’s strategic because it is focused on the four priority areas of Canada’s science and technology strategy.”

The benefits of the CERC program will reach far beyond the successful universities. “Researchers work in collaboration, and this contributes to a stronger research community across Canada,” noted Paul Davidson

Today’s announcement demonstrates that Canada is prepared to lead in the global research enterprise. “These global leaders can work anywhere in the world, and they’re choosing to work in Canada,” said Davidson.

The CERC program also builds on Canada’s investment in research infrastructure. Budget 2009 invested significantly in new labs and research facilities as part of the economic stimulus package.

The CERC program was announced in September 2008 as part of the federal government’s science and technology strategy aimed at improving Canada’s competitiveness. It provides each chair with up to $10 million over seven years. The research must be conducted in one of the four identified areas of research: environmental sciences, natural resources and energy, health sciences and communications and information technology.

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AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities representing 95 Canadian public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

For more information:

Lyse Huot
Director, Government Relations and Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Media release - May 13, 2010

OTTAWA, May 13, 2010 –The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada welcomes today’s announcement of the 2010 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships. The Vaniers are one of Canada’s most recent initiatives to attract and retain the very best talent needed to strengthen Canada’s innovative capacity and build the economy of tomorrow.

Launched in 2009, the Vaniers are intensely competitive and reward promising students who have a track record of excellence and demonstrate outstanding potential. “The Vaniers are quickly becoming scholarships of global stature that serve as a magnet for talent,” says Michel Belley, chair of the AUCC Board of Directors and rector of Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

The Vaniers are providing opportunities for young Canadians from all parts of the country and in a wide range of disciplines. These exceptionally capable students will pursue their doctoral studies at 30 institutions from coast to coast – reflecting the diversity and strength of Canada’s universities.

The Vaniers are attracting increasing international attention, and are an important part of Canadian universities’ efforts to recruit from the global talent pool including India – one of the fastest growing research environments in the world. “The competition in global research is accelerating. These new scholarships enable Canada to attract the next generation of global leaders in research and innovation,” says Paul Davidson, president and CEO of AUCC.

Today’s scholarship recipients will pursue their studies in a wide range of disciplines at the frontier of knowledge. Their research will lead to significant discoveries, new processes and services which will benefit all of society.

Each of the 174 Canadian and international doctoral students will receive a scholarship of $50,000 per year for up to three years enabling them to pursue studies in one of Canada’s universities. The Vanier scholarships are administered by the three federal granting agencies NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR.

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AUCC is the voice of Canada’s universities representing 95 Canadian public and private, not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

For more information:

Lyse Huot, director, Government Relations and Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Media release - March 29, 2010

Ottawa, March 29, 2010 – The January 12 earthquake in Haiti devastated the country, its people and its infrastructure. The Haitian people and their government are now focused on rebuilding for a sustainable future.

Haiti’s “knowledge infrastructure” has been deeply affected. Several universities, colleges and schools and related facilities were destroyed, more than two hundred professors and teachers were killed and thousands of students were displaced and unable to continue their studies.

  • Canada and Canadians have taken a lead role in responding to the Haitian crisis. Canada’s universities and colleges and the national and provincial associations that represent them are also responding to the devastation in Haiti.
  • The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, the Canadian Bureau for International Education, the Council of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, Cégep International and World University Services of Canada are working together to achieve a coordinated response. The effort is guided by the principles of sustainability, responsiveness to local needs, mobilizing local capacity and leveraging existing mechanisms.
  • Many of our members and some provinces (for example, Quebec and New Brunswick) have taken immediate action to waive tuition and residence fees for Haitian students and provide other forms of support including scholarships, counseling services and emergency financial aid.
  • Our sector has considerable experience and capacity, as well as extensive networks on the ground in Haiti, to assist in the longer-term reconstruction and development effort.
  • Postsecondary institutions in Canada and in Haiti have a critical role to play in sharing expertise and training Haiti’s current and future leaders to address food security, basic health and education, economic recovery and governance needs.

While the immediate concerns are relief and recovery, the Haitian government and international donors will meet in New York City on March 31 to map out an action plan for reconstruction efforts over the next 10 years. The Haitian government has identified higher education as a priority sector within its broader plan of action.

Given the Canadian government’s clear commitment to Haiti over the long term, we urge that postsecondary education be a central component of Canada’s plan of action and a feature of discussion at the donors’ conference.

One step in this direction is an upcoming conference hosted by the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie – an international organization with 728 members including eight Haitian universities. On May 25-26, 2010, the Assises internationales, hosted by the Université de Montréal, will allow members, partners and key donors to develop an action plan for the reconstruction of Haitian postsecondary education based on needs and priorities identified by Haitian academic leaders.

This is a major initiative to support Haiti’s long-term development and we encourage active participation and support from the Canadian government. We and our members will contribute actively to ensure an effective and coordinated Canadian effort results from the conference deliberations.

On behalf of Canada’s postsecondary sector, we stand ready to support Canada’s efforts in Haiti and look forward to making a meaningful and lasting contribution to Haiti’s future.

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The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents 95 Canadian public and private not-for profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

For additional information on this release and AUCC, please contact:

Alison Hebbs
Assistant Director, Communications
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Commentary - November 11, 2009

This op-ed was published in the Embassy newspaper on November 11, 2009

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, released an important study last week that demonstrates how international students contribute significantly to Canada’s economy.

The report, The Economic Impact of International Education in Canada, contains some remarkable numbers, beginning with $6.5 billion – the total amount spent by the 178,000 international students in Canada last year. This figure is greater than the values of the export of coal and coniferous lumber – two of our traditionally largest export sectors. According to the report, education services are Canada’s number one export to China and the second largest export to South Korea. The presence of international students at Canadian institutions provided employment for over 83,000 Canadians and generated more than $291 million in government revenue.

The magnitude of these figures provides additional evidence to support our call for a new investment to assist our member institutions in attracting this global talent to pursue their education and research here in Canada.

These economic outcomes are only the most recent indication of the benefits associated with international students, while they are here studying and after graduation, whether they choose to return home or put their expertise and knowledge to work in Canada.

While studying here, students from abroad bring diverse perspectives, expertise and skills to Canadian classrooms and labs and contribute to creating global, 21st-century institutions of education and research across Canada. This positive effect is not restricted to just the largest urban centres. The presence of international students at our institutions in smaller communities brings together many cultures from around the world which in turn, infuses the broader community with diversity.

When they graduate from our schools and return to their countries of origin, many become business, governmental and academic leaders, creating international networks that strengthen Canada’s economic and diplomatic ties abroad.

When they choose to stay here, foreign graduates bring significant economic and social benefits to Canada as an ideal source of highly qualified people for the skilled labour market – already integrated into our communities and without any of the barriers related to foreign credential recognition. A forthcoming report from the Canadian Bureau for International Education indicates that 52 percent of university students and 71 percent of college students intend to stay to work in Canada for up to three years after they graduate. Given that international students largely graduate in business and engineering, they represent a top talent pool matched to our labour market needs.

Now added to the list of benefits is this fresh evidence of the immediate economic impact of international students to Canada. As we begin to emerge from the current economic downturn, the potential of this significant sector of our economy needs to be realized.

The Government of Canada recognizes the linkages between international students and our economic competitiveness and we welcome the Minister’s commitment to work with us to market Canada as the destination of choice for students. Progress has been made through recent government measures such as the development of a new education brand, improvements to immigration policies and processes, and the creation of the new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships. Still, the efforts of other countries continue to eclipse those of Canada through major government-funded branding and marketing initiatives.

Now is the time to maximize the many benefits of bringing Canadian education to the world. On behalf of the key national educational associations representing the spectrum of institutions across the country – universities, colleges, public school boards and language schools, we are calling for a significant new government investment in an international student recruitment strategy that promotes the excellence of Canada’s education system to the many talented students abroad.

Paul Davidson
President and CEO
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)

James Knight
President and CEO
Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC)

Karen McBride
President
Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)

Geoff Best
President
Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CAPS-I)

Calum MacKechnie
President
Languages Canada

View The Economic Impact of International Education in Canada report (pdf) (399 KB)

Media release - June 15, 2009

Ottawa, June 15, 2009 – More than 85 African university students will graduate with a degree in computer science from Université Laval this week without ever visiting the Quebec campus.

The students from Francophone West Africa have earned their Canadian degrees in their own countries – studying long distance through an award-winning program funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), in partnership with the African Virtual University (AVU).

“Computer scientists and programmers are highly desirable knowledge workers for West Africa. By setting up new businesses, creating jobs and attracting foreign investments, they not only improve their own economic future, but contribute to their countries’ economic growth,” says Walid Madhoun, Director of International Technical Cooperation at AUCC.

“The PILAF program is an excellent example of an effective intervention to help reduce poverty and CIDA is to be lauded for its innovative and effective approach in this project,” added Mr. Madhoun. Canada’s involvement with the program ends this year with the strategic realignment of CIDA’s priorities.

The Programme d’Informatique de l’Université Laval à l’Afrique Francophone (PILAF) program was recently named a finalist in the category of online learning and knowledge management and received the OCTAS sweet heart award recognizing excellence in Quebec’s information technology industry. Each year Réseau ACTION TI rewards individuals, companies or organizations for their creativity, vitality and exceptional contribution to the growth of the industry.

The degree level Programme d’informatique de l’Université Laval en Afrique francophone has been delivered to two cohorts of Francophone African students in a partnership between Université Laval and eight universities in Africa. Through this virtual university program, Université Laval professors deliver lectures to African students by webcast. Students are able to see the professors’ power point presentations, ask questions and listen to questions from students in other countries. Local tutors at their own universities support the students.

The first cohort of students began the program in 2004 and 50 graduated in June 2008. The second cohort of more than 125 students began their studies in 2006 and 150 will graduate in eight countries by the end of the program.

The majority of graduates from the first cohort of the program stayed in their home countries and contributes to the local workforce. Many of the graduating PILAF students intend to pursue their studies at the Master’s level, some in Europe and others in Canada.

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For more information:

Walid Madhoun
Director
Technical Cooperation Division, International Affairs Program
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada