31 August 2007

Three links: Science, Technology and Innovation Council; IP and You; Research Intelligence

The three stories below come from the latest KMDiary. The third, on the research intelligence portal, is very much like the Innocentive community, and is what I wrote about some time ago regarding the need to match researchers with industrial partners, funders and the like.

Canada Creates New Science, Technology and Innovation Council
This new council will provide the government with policy advice on science and technology issues and will produce regular national reports that measure Canada's science and technology performance against international standards of excellence.

Useful Links For Those Wishing To Learn About IP
In an effort to raise awareness and increase knowledge of IP in the education sector, CIPO has compiled a list of links that will be useful for students wishing to learn about IP (1)
(1) http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/cipo/learn/learn-e.html

Research Intelligence Portal
The Research Intelligence Portal deployed by Calit2 which promises to "aggregate to inform” offers the latest in Web 2.0-type technologies designed to help the institute's scientists and engineers find new funding opportunities and research partners (1). The site's tools offer information and insight that go well beyond what faculty members traditionally have relied upon to learn about available grants and collaborators for new research initiatives. Check it out.
(1) http://www.calit2.net/newsroom/article.php?id=1093

27 August 2007

George Brown trades program in the news

Trades program offers lesson on repairing lives gives us a look at aninnovative program for women survivors of violence that trains themfor work in trades. Anna Willats, mentioned in the article, is workingwith George Brown faculty members Mandy Bonisteel and Jaswant Kaur onan applied research project for this program. A funding applicationhas been submitted; watch this space or contact us for moreinformation as things progress.

21 August 2007

George Brown professor featured on The Nature of Things

George Brown College professor Gerry De Iuliis is featured on an upcoming episode of The Nature of Things. Gerry, a biologist, is part of an international scientific expedition team of experts "who belong to the most important giant Sloths specialists on the planet." They uncover previously unknown facts gleaned from the discovery of fossils from the bottom of a flooded cave.

This is an excellent example of the variety of research conducted by College faculty. The Mystery of the Giant Sloths Cave airs Saturday August 25, 2007 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld.

09 August 2007

Integrity, collaboration, ideas

The idea of collaborative knowledge building has come up a lot recently with colleagues with whom we are composing a CONII NCE Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research application. The goal is to facilitate knowledge creation around innovation clusters and applied research. This happens already, but recent publications like Wikinomics are bringing to the fore the notion of using web n+1 technologies to further open source learning and knowledge generation in a collaborative effort to take ideas from innovation to market.

There is a central tension here around balancing the open sharing of ideas and the need to protect intellectual property. Ideas in this sense are currency that have value only insofar as they are taken up and situated within social contexts. Social contracts around who "owns" an idea are precarious. Ideas emerge in discussion and within a context, just as innovation and invention evolve incrementally and involve many people building on others' ideas. Knowledge building works well within an innovation framework where there is a free flow of ideas, though ownership of these ideas can fast become an issue in the absence of trust and integrity.

The protection of IP is a topic of concern for the music industry, as we all know. Copyright in academic and research circles also has a long history. As the link to the article on the ecology of innovation makes clear, we need to incorporate IP and tax law within the social contexts of learning and idea formation as part of the function of research commercialization.

Legitimate peripheral participation, part of the theory developed by Lave and Wenger in their discourse around communities of practice, allows for a process of collaborative learning in which mentorship plays a key role. The business of innovation requires some basic protection of copyright, as well as a general collegial responsibility to acknowledge others' contributions. Are these two aspects of innovation commensurate with each other?

All research institutions subscribe to a policy of integrity in scholarly research. The fast scrum of innovation and ideas, establishing ownership of these ideas, and collaborating with integrity all require a careful balance between invention and disclosure in the complex matrix of collaboration. Learning from and with one another, and working towards common goals require us to foster open dialogue. There is great potential to "open source" the rapid development of ideas. But collaborating to compete together can prove difficult, requiring a high degree of trust and integrity, or else up front non-disclosure agreements that set some ground rules for the sharing of ideas in the first place. If nothing else, a clear understanding among all parties of expectations and roles is essential.

01 August 2007

More on college+university transfer

Here's another article on the impending post-secondary enrolment crunch facing the GTA, and the suggested solution of articulating college+university programs to increase capacity throughout the system. The article suggests looking west for models - specifically Alberta and British Columbia - that show how an articulated system can work to students' advantage. As I've noted twice before, this is how I completed my undergraduate education.

As today's article says, smaller class sizes is among one of the reasons students opt for this choice, which may aid in the transition from high school to advanced education. Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin advocates for increased articulation of post-secondary programs such as that in the west. Alberta's and BC's approach is to create provincial blocs of post secondary education providers that competes together. In fact, Alberta and BC earlier this year signed a Credit Transfer Protocol (part of the Alberta-BC Protocol of Cooperation) that is signed by individual institutions and "improves opportunities for students to receive appropriate transfer credit when moving between the two provinces' post-secondary institutions." While some have said that this would never work in Ontario's larger system, there is much to be learned from the collaborate to compete model that is open sourcing education.