Thursday, 18 December 2008

RAE 2009

Analysis done by the Times Higher Education suggests that the results of the 2008 RAE show no major changes to the overall research landscape, 'the biggest research-intensive-intensive universities are still clustered at the top of the table of excellence, followed by the smaller -research-intensive institutions'.

However, there were some significant ranking changes for individual institutions. Cardiff University dropped out of the top ten to 22nd place. THES reports that it may have sacrificed its quality rating my submitting a high volume of staff which may help when it comes to research funding allocation. Southampton fell from 11th to a tie at 14th while Hertfordshire rose from 93rd to 58th.

Research top 20: (Average research score on numbers - source The Guardian)

1. Cambridge 2,975
2. Oxford 2,959
3. London School of Economics 2,957
4. Imperial College 2,943
5. University College London 2,844
6. Manchester 2,823
7. Warwick 2,799
8. York 2,780
9. Essex 2,772
10. Edinburgh 2,747
11. Queen Mary and Westfield 2,726
12. St Andrews 2,724
13. Bristol 2,723
14. Durham 2,721
15. Southampton 2,715
16. Leeds 2,715
17. Sheffield 2,715
18. Bath 2,711
19. Lancaster 2,711
20. King's College London 2,693

The Guardian reports that 'some of the best universities have large numbers of low-performing researchers... About a third of research by the top six universities was rated two-star or one-star. Some 28% of Cambridge's researchers scored one and two stars, as did 34% of UCL's.' However, Cambridge has the highest proportion of outstanding research in the UK. Of the 2,040 staff whose work was submitted, 71% was deemed to be world-leading or internationally excellent.

Information about subsequent funding allocation will be released on 4 March 2009.

Read The Guardian article in full.

Read the THES article in full

Visit the official RAE site.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Birmingham is the chosen one

HEFCE has selected the University of Birmingham to host the national higher education programme for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The programme aims to increase the number of graduates with skills in these disciplines in order to fulfil employer needs and boost the UK economy.

The bid was coordinated by one of the largest integrated STEM teams in the UK, the University's College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. The College comprises the Schools of Chemical Engineering, Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy and Chemistry and Computer Science .

Read more information on the University of Birmingham website.

The results are in...

A survey by Laboratory News and Science World have found that 'life as a scientist in the UK is a mixed bag'. Some key results include:

  • Nearly 70% said that life in their lab was good

  • Only 5.7% said that salary attributed to job satisfaction

  • 40% said it is harder to get funding for work compared to five years ago

Read the survey results in full at the Laboratory News website.

Science from inside

Scientists at the University of Dundee have been collaborating with artist Gordon Dawson, 'to convey to the widest possible audience through the art-form of film, and web video accessible from anywhere in the world, films about research, research technologies, collaboration and inspiration that enable advances in medical science and human health.'

The six short films are aimed at providing a non-scientific audience a real sense of what scientists do and how they do it. The subjects of the six films are:

  • Research

  • Microscopy

  • Proteomics

  • Computing

  • Communication

  • Inspiration

All films can be watched online, free of charge at the GRE - Sharing Science website.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Lab coat off, dancing shoes on.

The winners of the 2009 AAAS/Science "Dance your PhD" contest have been announced. The contest encourages science PhD students to think about their research from an entirely different perspective, the medium of dance. There are four categories:

  • Graduate student
  • Post-Doc
  • Professor
  • Popular Choice
The winners are paired with a professional choreographer and a dance piece is created, interpreting one of the winners peer-reviewed research articles. The piece is performed at the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago in February 2009.

2009 Graduate Student Winner - Sue Lynn Lau (University of Sydney, Australia)
PhD Title: "The role of vitamin D in beta cell function"

See all the 2009 AAAS/Science winners.

Friday, 5 December 2008

EPSRC funds new wave of scientists

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has today announced plans to fund 44 new centres for doctoral training which will train over 2000 PhD students over the next five years.

The centre for doctoral training will 'bring together many areas of expertise, building relationships between teams in universities and with industry. Students receive taught coursework to develop their technical knowledge and broaden their skills as well as carrying out challenging PhD-level research projects'.

Read the story in full on the EPSRC website.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Welcome to the Blogosphere!

Doug Kell, Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, has started a blog. In his first post, he outlines the purpose of the blog, "I shall almost certainly use this space to discuss issues of general interest to our community, and to complement my discussions with colleagues at institutes and universities."

The blog is fully moderated and comments can be made, after first completing a quick registration form.

Visit Doug Kell's blog.