Universities

A budding cannabis research cluster in Fredericton

The city’s two universities create new research chairs related to cannabis.

A new research cluster will soon be sparking to life in Fredericton as the city’s two universities each begin their search for a researcher to fill a new chair in cannabis research, reportedly the first two such chairs in the country.

St. Thomas University’s new chair will focus on the social impact of cannabis, both as a medicinal and recreational drug, while the University of New Brunswick’s chair will tackle the pharmacology and biochemistry of cannabis. Read more in University Affairs.

At smaller universities, fundraising is a challenge of scale, not technique

With a limited alumni pool and resources, small- and medium-sized universities leverage personal connections to find donors.

In fundraising, it’s the personal relationships that matter, says Susan Montague, senior campaign advisor at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. “People give to people.”

Those personal relationships will be vital in the coming months, she says. In December, UNB launched its latest major fundraising campaign – the largest in its history – seeking $110 million to boost scholarships and bursaries, improve facilities and support research. The campaign has already secured $77 million in pledges and has set a deadline of April 2018 to meet its target. And, for the first time, the university will be relying solely on private donations; previous campaigns relied on the provincial government kicking in around 20 percent of the total. Read more in University Affairs.

‘Ransomware’ cyberattack highlights vulnerability of universities

Staff at Canadian university given little guidance on how to mitigate future problems.

The first Patrick Feng knew about a cyberattack on his university was when one of his colleagues told him that her computer had been infected by hackers and rendered unusable.

Feng, who studies technology and sustainability policy at the University of Calgary in Canada, immediately checked the Dropbox folder that he was sharing with that colleague — and found that it, too, had been compromised.

“The hackers had created encrypted copies of all my Dropbox files and deleted the originals,” he says. “And there was a ransom note demanding bitcoin to unlock them.” Read more in Nature.