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SSH News: Congress 2014 registration, SSHRC Storytellers competition deadline, International Education Strategy, ERA Can+ info sessions, Apprenticeship harmonization, Big Thinking

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

It has been a full week of launches and announcements to support higher education and apprenticeship programs. Registration has opened for the 2014 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Held from May 24 to 30, 2014 at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario, the Congress program is continually being updated, with new and exciting programming, including Congress Expo and the Big Thinking lecture series.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has extended the deadline for its Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers competition! SSHRC will be accepting submissions until Friday, January 31, 2014. Initially launched last year, the contest invites students from across the country to submit a digital presentation describing a SSHRC-funded research project happening at their institution. Tell your compelling research story in three minutes or less and you could be one of 25 finalists to win $3,000 and attend the 2014 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, launched a new International Education Strategy designed to maintain and enhance Canada’s global position in higher education on January 15, 2014. The comprehensive plan sets targets to attract more international researchers and students to Canada, deepen the research links between Canadian and foreign educational institutions and establish a pan-Canadian partnership with provinces and territories and all key education stakeholders, including the private sector.

Furthering these efforts, the Canadian partners to ERA-Can+ will be hosting a series of information sessions about Horizon 2020, a European funding opportunity that is accessible to Canadians working in science, technology, and innovation. Horizon 2020 is a multi-year (2014-2020) program whose main goals are to encourage scientific excellence, increase the competitiveness of industries, and develop solutions to societal challenges in Europe and abroad. These sessions, held across Ontario the last week of January, will explain the structure of research funding in Europe and provide information on upcoming funding opportunities and the mechanisms by which Canadians can participate.

Increasing opportunities for workers in the skilled trades were also addressed in a January 15, 2014 announcement by Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, regarding a federal-provincial initiative to harmonize apprenticeship systems across the Atlantic provinces. Presently, apprenticeship systems offered in Atlantic Canada each have their own set of requirements for training, certification and standards. Ideally, the harmonization of these will lead to increased availability of training, higher apprenticeship completion rates and increased labour mobility for apprentices. Jason Kenney stated this week that this "will create well-paying jobs by helping employers hire the skilled apprentices they need and by helping apprentices take advantage of job opportunities” in Atlantic Canada.

On February 11th in Ottawa, Joseph Heath of the University of Toronto will present “Reason versus passion in politics” in the first Big Thinking lecture of the year. His discussion will address how we are able to state with greater precision what we are sacrificing when we allow our political system to be dominated by appeals to passion rather than reason. Registration for Heath’s lecture is now open! The presentation will be in English and takes place from 7:30-8:45 a.m. in the Parliamentary Restaurant on Parliament Hill.

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Congress 2014SSHRCResearchBig ThinkingEducation