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Date: June 16, 2008

Graduate Fellowships Given To Ten Top Students

Government of British Columbia News Release

VICTORIA - Ten graduate fellowships have been awarded to top master's and PhD students who will spend up to two years researching key issues affecting the province, and then join the B.C. Public Service after they earn their degrees, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

"We are committed to continuing to improve support for graduate students through scholarships that will help our four research-intensive universities attract and retain the best and most accomplished students," said Campbell. "As we celebrate Public Service Week in B.C., the Pacific Leaders Graduate Student Fellowships program will support tomorrow's research stars while ensuring talented B.C. academics have a place in the public service when they graduate."

The fellowships are part of the Pacific Leaders program announced by the Premier last spring to give the BC Public Service a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining top employees. This year, graduate students from B.C.'s four research-intensive universities - Simon Fraser University, the University of B.C., the University of Northern B.C. and the University of Victoria - were eligible for the fellowships, worth $20,000 a year.

Fellowship winners include specialists in resource and environmental management, forestry, Aboriginal history, social work, communications, health care, political sociology and statistics.

Research funding through the fellowships includes mapping the effect of residential wood smoke in small mountain-valley communities to ultimately improve air quality, best practices guidelines for mine site regulation, increasing public participation in the democratic processes of the British Columbia government and cost effective concurrent addiction and mental health treatment models.

"Graduate students are a tremendous resource," said Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell. "The research expertise being developed at the province's universities and colleges will ensure British Columbia's future success when they enter the public service."

To be eligible for a Pacific Leaders Graduate Student Fellowship, students must have at least an A-average over the past two years of full-time study and demonstrate potential to become excellent researchers. They must be enrolled in a program consisting of at least 75 per cent research that will help government address public service or public policy issues in areas where the government is experiencing skill shortages. They must also agree to work for the BC Public Service for the same length of time they were in receipt of the fellowship.

Other components of Pacific Leaders include a program to forgive all B.C. student loans for employees who work in the public service for three years, scholarships of up to $7,500 for employees who are pursuing further education, and up to 60 scholarships each year of $2,500 for children of public service members.

The BC Public Service is the largest employer in the province, with over 30,000 employees in more than 280 B.C. communities, providing such services as public health, management of the province's natural resources, policing and correction, licensing, transportation infrastructure and vital statistics.

For more information about career opportunities with the BC Public Service, visit www.employment.gov.bc.ca.

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Media contacts:
Bridgitte Anderson, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier
604 307-7177

Linda O'Connor, Communications Manager, Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400; 250 812-4418 (cell)

Backgrounders:
Graduate Fellowships Given To Ten Top Students

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