What Will The Budget Mean For Research and HE?

There has been quite a lot of speculation recently on the implications of last week’s budget for the UK Higher Education sector in general, and research funding in particular. ResearchResearch.com reports on two responses to this question:

Universities fearful of £400m cut to DIUS (accessible on campus or if you have an account)

Both express reservation at the cuts in DIUS’ budget, though UniversitiesUK is generally positive about the commitment to improving the UK skills base during the recession. The 1994 Group of smaller research intensive universities, which includes Bath, York and Leicester, are more critical, warning that any reduction in teaching and research capacity would be damaging for the UK economy in the long term.

On Twitter, @CameronNeylon – a chemist based at Southampton University – pointed out that Research Councils are expected to “save and re-invest” £106M (see p136). The re-investment must be made in “key areas of economic potential”, which could be taken to further underline HEFCE’s commitment to ringfencing funding for science and techonology subjects. One might also expect that funding will be shifted from standard responsive mode grants to RC strategic/priority areas. Whatever happens, it serves to highlight the ongoing Research Council commitment to funding research with a direct and measurable economic impact.

JISC Funds Chemistry.FM At Lincoln

Joss Winn has just blogged about the successful JISC bid for Chemistry.FM. JISC have committed £18K to this which follows on from work carried out under the CERD-funded Fund for Educational Development Scheme. See below for more details:

The university has successfully bid for £18,000 project funding under JISC’s Open Educational Resources Programme. The project will release all educational resources used in Year 1 ‘Introductory Chemistry for Forensic Science’ (total of 30 credits). The course is designed to cover all the major areas of chemistry (inorganic, organic and physical).

Last year, through internal, competitive bidding, the Centre for Educational Research and Development funded the production of high quality, student-produced videos, which help explain difficult concepts using a mixture of animation and live action. Due to interest from other institutions, the videos are now available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence. The project will extend this approach to all resources for this course. In addition, we will work with Siren FM a campus-based community radio station, employing their recording and broadcasting expertise to develop additional multimedia resources with students and apply current online broadcasting methods to the creation and delivery of these materials. All resources will be made available through our JISC-funded Institutional Repository, third-party Web 2.0 services and via a dedicated website powered by Siren.FM. By employing both students and a campus-based enterprise, we will demonstrate a sustainable and innovative approach to the development and dissemination of OERs.

The university recognises the potential that free and unfettered access to educational resources offers to the local and wider community and welcomes the opportunity to examine how technology and an emerging legal framework can promote creativity and the sustainability of the open educational resources we produce. Our interest in OER is set within a broader framework of debates about pedagogic innovation and the role and nature of universities in the 21st century. One of the intended impacts of our proposed project at Lincoln will be to inject elements from the debate on curriculum design into the OER movement in HE.

The 12 month project will be led by the Centre for Educational Research and Development, working with colleagues from the Department of Forensic and Biomedical Sciences, Lincoln School of JournalismLincoln Business School and Siren FM. A full project plan will be available on the project blog before the end of May.

Library Support to Increase Visibility of Your Research

Paul Stainthorp just blogged this on The Winch. The Repository is an important way you can make your research more “visible” to the wider academic community, and the support provided by the Library will be invaluable in facilitating this:

We want to make your research easier to find, so the Library’s team of two professional cataloguers have now been appointed for an additional 2 days a week, to catalogue and improve records on the University’s repository of scholarly work.


“The University of Lincoln’s Institutional Repository exists for the permanent deposit of research and conference papers, e-theses, student projects and teaching and learning materials produced by our community of staff and students. Repository content can be browsed or searched through this website or through searching Google. Wherever possible, repository content is freely available for download and use according to our Copyright and Use Notice.”

Now, when you deposit your work in the repository, the University Library will create a full item description and record (analogous to a bibliographic record in the University’s library catalogue), using any outline data you provide on deposit, combined with accurate cross-referenced information from a range of bibliographic sources.

  • This is important because a work deposited in the repository is made publicly accessible (by default), and becomes almost immediately ‘findable’ by academic search services such as Google Scholar. People searching for scholarly work in your field will be much more likely to discover your own work if it is properly described and catalogued.
  • This ‘findability’ benefits you because analysis has shown that citation rates increase by between 25% – 250% when a paper is deposited in an open-access Institutional Repository. Recently, the HEFC have stated that metrics (including citation rates) will play an important role in the next research exercise (the REF or Research Excellence Framework).
  • The cataloguers will also work to ensure that deposited items are not in breach of publishers’ licence conditions, and that their presence on the repository does not breach copyright. Journal publishers are generally supportive of researchers who want to deposit a version of their work in a repository, though they will often attach conditions to such deposit.

If you’d like to discuss the description of your work in the repository with the cataloguers, please email: eprints@lincoln.ac.uk

There’s a simple guide to depositing material in the repository available online.

BAM Training: Writing a Successful ESRC Research Grant Proposal

The British Academy of Management is offering the below training opportunity open to both members and non-members. If your research is in the area of Business and Management it is well worth attending.

Title: Writing a Successful ESRC Research grant proposal in the Area of Business and Management

Location: BAM Office, 137 Euston Road, London

More details: Click here

Description: Following the popularity of BAM grant-writing workshops in recent years and the success of previous workshop participants in gaining grants, a new workshop has been designed for 2009. It will be offered in two locations: London and Edinburgh. The workshop will provide a comprehensive introduction to writing proposals under the ESRC small, first and standard research grant schemes, and ‘walking’ delegates through the process of dealing with this ‘blue chip’ funding body. Those who have been successful in gaining research grants and those who have participated in the grant boards making the funding decisions will be there to offer their advice. We are fortunate to have Professor George Boyne, Management representative on the ESRC Research Grants Board, as just one of our speakers this year. You will be encouraged to work on your own draft proposal by considering how to develop a convincing argument, to demonstrate how your proposal fully meets the assessment criteria, and to incorporate secrets from previous successful applicants.

Deadline for Applications : Monday 4th May 2009
Fees: Non Member : 330.00 GBP Member : 250.00 GBP
Contact : Natasha Fay, nfay@bam.ac.uk

Date: 2009-05-18

New Interdisciplinary Programmes Unveiled by Research Councils

ResearchResearch reported yesterday on three new collaborative cross-council programmes unveiled by the seven UK research councils aimed at addressing “emerging challenges” faced by the UK.

From researchresearch.com:

The three themes, which were announced at a Research Councils UK meeting at the Royal Society on 6 April, are food security, fostering economic recovery and connected communities, which focuses on opportunities and challenges posed by today’s interconnected and mobile society. The councils previously identified these themes in an unpublished joint submission to Paul Drayson, the science minister, in response to his call for a debate on which areas of science the UK should focus on to promote economic recovery and national competitiveness.

This marks another move towards the councils working together to fund interdisciplinary research which addresses the “grand challenges” facing society. Researchresearch also reports that the chief executive of the MRC, Leszek Borysiewicz, called for more engagement with European funding institutions and instruments. Research Councils are already looking ahead to Framework Programme 8, focusing on ways in which research priorities can be shaped across the European Research Area.

The details of the three cross-council intiatives are yet to emerge, but they are expected to be similar in scope to existing large-scale programmes such as Digital Economy, which involves EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, MRC and the Technology Strategy Board.