Investing in post-secondary math and science education
For almost a decade, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has strongly recommended that Canada take steps to increase the proportion of students studying science and technology. With only 20 percent of new degrees being awarded in science and engineering, Canada risks losing its competitive edge.
“The skills of our workforce are Canada’s most strategic asset,” says Monica Samper, president of the Imperial Oil Foundation. “Investing in a high quality education system for our young people is one of the most important investments we can make for the future of our country.”
Imperial has made a long-standing commitment to help strengthen education in mathematics, science and technology in Canada and has contributed more than $20 million to support math and science education programs over the years.
The company has provided millions of dollars in grants to universities such as Queen’s, Western, and Dalhousie to support elementary and secondary school outreach programs – all designed to foster an interest in further math and science education.
Innovation and creativity is key to sparking students’ interest and the University of Waterloo’s Seminar in Computer Science for Young Women program, which Imperial has supported since 2002, exemplifies this approach. The program is designed to attract young women attending high schools across Canada to the field of computer science. The seminar, which is geared towards students in grades nine and 10, has recently expanded to the University of Calgary.
“At a time when women in computer science are significantly underrepresented, programs like ours are a very important way to increase diversity in the field in the future,” says Sandy Graham, Director, CEMC Seminar in Computer Science for Young Women.
McMaster University has also introduced an innovative approach to outreach and is using a grant from Imperial to support a geomatics program designed to foster high school students’ interest in geology, mining and earth sciences. Geomatics is the digitizing of geographic data to provide visual representation, such as through a GPS unit. The grant also funds the Imperial Oil 3D Imaging Laboratory-- one of only two labs in Ontario that incorporates geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and geophysical software packages.
“This grant is a big boost to our long-standing commitment to public education and outreach. With facilities of this calibre, we can attract young, bright high school students interested in the sciences to our campus, who may someday become undergraduates,” says John Capone, dean of Faculty of Science at McMaster University.“
For more information on other Imperial university program grants, please see our detailed grant list.