Graduate School Conference A Great Success

Last Friday I was mainly live-blogging the University of Lincoln Graduate School Conference 2011.

As you’ll see from the posts on the day and feedback left following the event, it was a great success. The range of topics covered in the student presentations was incredible: from critical art theory to fingerprint analysis, from the role of pubs in sustaining local communities to technology use in golf coaching. The day showcased the diversity of postgraduate research taking place at Lincoln.

The quality was high throughout and presenters did an impressive job of moulding their research to the theme of the conference: transitions, community and networking. Nicola Streeten was the deserving winner of an I-Pad for her entertaining and insightful presentation on “Making Friends” and networking in academia and beyond.

In the afternoon three parallel workshops tackled three different stages of postgraduate research: starting the journey, managing the supervisory relationship, and writing up and submission. I attended the latter and took part in stimulating debate which took in the highs and lows of finishing the PhD. Many of the points raised (e.g. difficulty knowing when it’s done; ownership of your work; preparing for the viva) were familiar from my own experiences of writing up in 2006.

In short, a fantastic conference well worth attending. Well done to the staff from the Graduate School for organising and running the event. I’m looking forward to next year!

Above are just a few of the photos taken on the day by Joss Winn and others. You can see more here.

HEFCE Announces REF Panel Members

HEFCE has announced who will make up the expert panels for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

REF panel members announced

Panels are made up of a mix of academic experts and so-called “users” of research, as well as members with an international perspective. The full membership list is available in the PDFs here:

Research News Digest for February 23rd

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Je-S System Update

A new version of the Je-S System used by Research Councils was released on Tuesday 15 February.

The main changes are detailed below:


ESRC and STFC grant processing will move to the SSC (Shared |Service Centre) on Monday 21 February. This will result in some changes within Je-S:

Pre Award Tracking: ESRC and STFC proposal information will be available week beginning 21 Feb. The Tracker will be available within the ROMasterID and the PIs accounts to track progress of applications from the point of submission.

Status Reporting: The information for ESRC and STFC has been frozen since the beginning of the month, updates for these councils will start from the 28th Feb.  Offer letters/Start Certificates: will be available through Je-S for ESRC and STFC (EPSRC and NERC currently available)

Grant Maintenance: All requests for changes to current grants must be made through this functionality for ESRC, STFC, EPSRC and NERC ( there may be a few days delay for ESRC and NERC as the Status Reporting data has to be available – by 28 Feb)

Expenditure Statements:

ESRC statements will now be handled through Je-S.

The document list now includes the Due Date information (on right hand side of the list).

Email alerts will now include the RO reference number and PI details.

Confirmation of Access to document emails: A comment is now mandatory (in response to users querying with Helpdesk why they are being given access to a document).

Proposal Classification section: New section will appear in the forms for ESRC and STFC (already in place for NERC, not used by EPSRC).  

Accessibility: Further changes to the look of the System have been implemented, notably under the Pool Admin functionality.

AHRC Specific Changes:

Project Student Stipend: Amended in Je-S in line with rates used by other councils: £13590 (London rate £15590)

 Annual Cost Profile: The requirement to break down the costs for items for each year of the proposal has been removed.

Social Media Guide For Researchers

The Research Information Network (RIN) has published a useful guide for researchers who want to find out more about how to use social media to better communicate and collaborate in your research:

Social Media: A guide for researchers

It is aimed at researchers who have either not used social media before, or who have not considered the potential of using it in their professional lives. The Guide includes an overview of basic tools which enable blogging, networking and sharing, and then explores how these can be of benefit to researchers. Case studies have been used to illustrate the document with real-life experiences from researchers. Common criticisms are also addressed, such as the association of some social media tools with trivial conversations or the perceived loss of privacy.

The Research Office, along with staff from the Library and CERD, run two monthly training sessions on related topics for University staff: Understanding Google Apps and Working on the Web. Both aim to show how free and easy-to-use web tools can be helpful in both collaboration and communication of research. If you are a member of University staff you can book a place by emailing