06/02/2010 09:28 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Canada's 'Soft' Scientists Miffed By Shutout

Canada's recently established Research Excellence Program scatters endowed chairs at universities across the country and pledges to fund the nation's most brilliant minds. The prestigious positions require a two-part application process; winners are eligible for up to $10 million in federal funding each. But the first batch of honorees, announced earlier this month, has given some scholars pause: all 19 come from the 'hard' sciences, and all 19 are men.

Members of Canada's Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 9,000 of whom are meeting for a conference this week, are concerned by the oversight.

The Globe and Mail has more:

"It's discouraging and I think it is going to inform a lot of the conversations we have this week," said Noreen Golfman, president of the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences, organizers of the conference. "This gives us an opportunity to talk about what is going on and how we make sure the value of what we do is recognized."

Gerri Sinclair, a high-tech entrepreneur who began her career as a scholar of Renaissance drama and recently headed Vancouver's Centre for Digital Media, believes governments and the public are too quick to draw a line between hard and soft disciplines. And she said some scholars fall into the same trap.

According to Maclean's, the CFHSS wrote letter to the CERC program Industry Minister Tony Clement recommending more attention to "multidisciplinary approaches."

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