On Campus

Harper drops in on Stephen Hawking

PM announces 70 post-doctoral scholarships

Stephen Harper dropped in on famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking on Tuesday bearing scholarly gifts — a new post-doctoral scholarship for Canada. The prime minister announced 70 fellowships a year will be awarded, with a total value of $45 million over five years.

“We must invest in the people and ideas that will produce tomorrow’s breakthroughs,” Harper said. “The Banting post-doctoral fellowships will give scholars in research institutions across the country the support they need to explore and develop their ideas to the fullest.”

Hawking took up residence at the Perimeter Institute for theoretical physics last month and will continue his work through July. Harper thanked Hawking for coming to the institute and praised him as an “inspiration” to Canadian scientists. Hawking was to have visited the southwestern Ontario institute last summer as a research chair but illness forced him to cancel. The research institute is a public-private partnership that receives funding from the Canadian and Ontario governments as well as individual donors.

The author of “A Brief History of Time” retired from Cambridge University in England last year at age 67.

Harper also announced $20 million to help establish five science, math and technology centres in Africa. “This is a revolutionary approach to development,” the prime minister said. “It aims to nurture the brightest minds in Africa.”

The Canadian Press