Unexpected benefits of the Olympics

The opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Winter Olympics is a mere 49 hours away, and (except for the trifling matter of a shortage of snow at some venues and the developing hula-hoop crisis), we are ready! Let The Games Begin!
The Olympics coincide with the usual February frenzy of CIHR operating grant deadlines. These grants are the life blood of Canadian biological sciences research, the equivalent of the US NIH R01 awards.
Grant wranglers such as myself were delighted to hear that the CIHR has updated their procedures for this round, meaning that original signatures are no longer required. All we need are the original or scanned signatures of all co-applicants – the principal applicant and institution are now deemed to have signed when they hit their respective “submit” buttons. Hallelujah!
This news is especially good for off-campus researchers, like “my” PIs; in the past I’ve spent whole days at the unfamiliar and confusing UBC campus, juggling maps and lists of guidelines to make sure the signatures were obtained from the right people, in the right offices, in the right order.
However, my delight was soon tempered by the realisation that the internal forms (three different kinds, each requiring multiple signatures, in the right order) had not kept pace with the CIHR’s updates. I resigned myself to fighting the crazy Olympic traffic and the crowds coming and going from the ice hockey venue on the UBC campus.
“Due to the Olympics”, we have a) been permitted to use scanned signatures on the internal forms, and b) been granted an extension to the internal signature deadlines!
The former is something that’s been discussed for years. Let’s hope that this unexpected Olympic benefit becomes one of the much-vaunted Legacy Projects.
The latter is just gravy.
Thank you, CIHR and UBC!

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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15 Responses to Unexpected benefits of the Olympics

  1. Alyssa Gilbert says:

    Wow – looks like everyone is jumping on the “let’s just forget about it until after the Olympics” bandwagon! Hooray!!
    Can’t wait to hear your experiences of the games. I was in Calgary for the 1988 games and, from what I can remember (I was 9), it was amazing! My dad was one of the official volunteers at Canmore, so we got free tickets to a few events (opening ceremonies – where it was about -35 Celsius, the ski jump, and the cross country events).

  2. Cath Ennis says:

    Hooray indeed! “Let’s do it after the Olympics” is a very common phrase around these parts! There are also a lot of people taking vacation days, meaning that there’ll be more peace and quiet for me to get my work done while live streaming Olympic events.
    It’s getting very exciting. Did I mention I’ve decorated my bike?
    From VWXYNot?
    I will mostly be writing about the Olympics on my other blog. Mostly. Starting with seeing the torch come past my work tomorrow afternoon – if the grant deadlines will let me leave my desk!

  3. Åsa Karlström says:

    woho!! 🙂
    Friday it starts. And soon it will be hockey, and other snow things… 🙂 did I mention that I am excited too?! (As long as I don’t dwell too much on the times some of the more interesting things are shown…. in the middle of the day?! – I get it though, the Europeans are happy that they can see some of it before midnight)
    Again Cath, that bike of yours is smashing!

  4. Alyssa Gilbert says:

    Hehe! Yes, I saw your bike on your other post – very cute 🙂

  5. Cath Ennis says:

    Yep, just one more sleep! We’ve got reservations to watch the opening ceremony at our favourite pub, can’t wait! This being Canada, it’s going to be cheesy, but I’ve heard from friends who’ve gone to the dress rehearsals that it’s good cheesy rather than embarrassing cheesy.
    I first arrived in Vancouver on the day the 2002 Salt Lake City games started, and my department had a TV set up to show all the daytime events. I met a lot of people on coffee and lunch breaks in my first week! Hopefully there’ll be a TV set up somewhere in my building…

  6. Kyrsten Jensen says:

    I bet you $5 that either a beaver or a RCMP officer in dress uniform will make an appearance at the Opening Ceremonies.
    My friend Rob has a condo with a huge patio overlooking Science World (Russia House), and we’re all booting it over there with champagne to watch the athletes parade past from Olympic Village to the Opening Ceremonies. I’ve been enjoying wandering around town – there are a lots of cute, fit snowboarders with accents. Almost like being in Whistler, only I can still afford to EAT here.

  7. Cath Ennis says:

    There’d better be more than one mountie in dress uniform! One mountie good, a few hundred mounties better!
    Your venue sounds better than ours – we’re just going to Fets! But it’ll be excellent fun. Are you coming to City Hall this afternoon to see the torch relay come through?

  8. Åsa Karlström says:


  9. Kyrsten Jensen says:

    Cath, I’d invite you to come to Rob’s with me, but after I informed him I’m bringing 6 ppl with me (a few other orphans who didn’t have anywhere to go), I was cut off by inviting any others.
    Asa – there are enough Olympic grinches around here that will grumpily look up and bet against anything, just because they are in a negative frame of mind.
    Apparently the Opening Ceremonies are going to be good. I know about 10 ppl who have already seen the Dress Rehearsal, and at least one of them who got kicked out for text messaging.

  10. Cath Ennis says:

    Yeah, six more (plus baby) might be a bit much then…
    The Olympic grinches need to learn how to enjoy themselves. Sure, there are legitimate arguments against hosting the games, but the time to make them was before the public referendum and IOC decision. Trying to disrupt the torch relay and opening ceremonies is just plain dumb – cutting off your nose to spite your face, and preferring to be proven right than to have the games be a success. The best arguments I’ve heard are all financial – so surely a successful Olympics will mitigate the budgetary problems?!
    Did you see Kimli on Global News btw? Talking about the embellishing of the national anthem rather than the getting kicked out… apparently the tune is almost unrecognisable!

  11. Kristi Vogel says:

    I’ll envy Vancouverites for the next two weeks – I really enjoy watching the events after a long day at work (I set my U-verse DVR to record the ones I miss during the day). Olympics grinches and other sports grinches are pretty common in academia; for some, it’s like a point of pride to be anti-sport. “Whatever”, says I. The only winter sport with which I’ve had any actual experience is cross country skiing, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying watching all the other events.
    I’m entered in two events for Ravelympics on Ravelry; I’ll be knitting in the Scarf Super-G and the Sock Hockey events for Team TARDIS. 😀

  12. Kyrsten Jensen says:

    Kristi, you are on Rav too? Wow. There is a surprising number of scientists on Ravelry. Most of my knitting gals are casting on tonight for the Ravelympics, but I’ll be too busy with a glass of champagne (hmm, I wonder if popping a champagne cork off a 7th floor balcony over the heads of the parading athletes will cause a minor disturbance? Maybe I should just enjoy wine?).
    The great thing is that through Rav, all the knitters that are coming to the games are meeting up for brunch next week. Last I saw, we’re going to have at least 40 of us at a local restaurant. I don’t know how people are going to react to 40 peeps knitting with mimosas 😉

  13. Kristi Vogel says:

    @ Kyrsten: The Ravelry Olympics brunch sounds great; I’ve noticed a resurgence in public knitting here in the US, on public transport, in waiting rooms, in airplanes (though that was quite restricted for awhile). Someone from NN (Cameron Neylon? Or was it Matt?) used Ravelry as an example of a social networking site at one of the Science Online meetings – I’m sure I saw a photo or report here. My graduate department had loads of knitters – that’s when and where I learned to knit, though I gave it up for many years (until fairly recently).
    Gees Minor and Minima, and myself, crocheted and beaded sea urchins, snakes, and nudibranchs last year, as part of CISB ’09. My crochet hooks, needles, and beads were in my checked bag when I flew to London, but I did have a knitting project in the carry-on … maybe as a sort of PSA I’ll write up a post collating information about what knitting/crochet stuff can and can’t be taken on board. Short cable circulars and small wooden dpns are OK, in my experience; metal crochet hooks, probably not. I would probably want to pull my limbic system out through my ears, if I couldn’t knit or crochet on a long trans-Atlantic flight.

  14. Åsa Karlström says:

    Kyrsten: I count 9 RCMPs carrying the flag!
    And that the anthem is sung by a girl from Montreal; French ftw 🙂
    darn, I should’ve found some of those people to bet against – I found no one here to bet against it. All said “of course there will be, what else do they have”? 😉

  15. Taylor Burns says:

    I think the next two weeks are the worst to be a Canadian expat. This post and comment thread has confirmed that. Enjoy it – even the “anti-Sport” folk – for us who are drowning in rain and poor Olympic coverage on BBC2 (I bet you don’t miss that). If you actually are blogging about the Olympics on your ‘other blog,’ then you now have a dedicated fan.
    Oh what I would give to see the Canadian hockey team play live…

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