At his NeuroDojo blog, Zen Faulkes calls the Canada Excellence Research Chairs programs' "rigorous peer review" and selection of 19 chairholders — none of which are women — "a scandal. …Not just for the agency, but for our discipline worldwide." The CERC program offers $10 million over the course of seven years to the 19 researchers and is "directed at specific areas that fit the government’s innovation agenda," according to the Globe and Mail. Blogger FemaleScienceProfessor has a hard time swallowing the explanations that the Globe and Mail reports from "three leading female academics," commissioned to examine the issue by Industry Minister Tony Clement, which cite "no deliberate attempt to shut out women, but concludes the tight deadlines for the competition, the areas picked for research, and a competition where candidates on the short list had only a 50 percent chance of winning probably all worked against female candidates." FSP writes that the short list — a compilation of 36 senior researchers recruited from around the globe — also did not include any women, therefore "resulting in a 100 percent chance that the final list would be 100 percent men," not a 50 percent chance; FSP says the reports reasons contain "CERCular" reasoning. Clement told the Globe and Mail that "it was a combination of factors. …We didn’t know we had a problem. It just never occurred to us that it would be 19 men and zero women. I’ve got to say it was a total shock to me."
'We Didn't Know We Had a Problem'
May 24, 2010