What to do with data? Most academics have been trying to avoid the questions but they keep coming. Special issues in Nature and now Science highlight the excitement of new research paradigms in data mining, correlation and visualisation.
The bad news is that there are now very few who don’t worry about information overload and how to manage it all, from academic journals to micro-blogging, lab books to personal photo collections.
Philosophy, history and classics are more than the icing on academia’s cake, says Martha Nussbaum, professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago. Elizabeth Gibney finds out why she believes we ignore them at our peril.
It is somewhat paradoxical that, just as the European Commission is striving to simplify access to European research programmes, Europe's research landscape is growing ever more complicated. This is a central question both for the Commission’s green paper on Research and Innovation and the next European Association of Research Managers and Administrators event in Brussels on March 2. Why has this complexity arisen, and what can be done about it?
University heads face more hardship following the publication yesterday of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s letter detailing their financial awards for 2011-12.
The letter confirms the outline figures revealed in the budget guidance which the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills gave HEFCE in December 2010. But the letter to vice chancellors still held some unpleasant surprises—notably that the projected cuts will start to take effect in the current academic year.
To many observers, cross-research council funding programmes were particularly vulnerable to government cuts. So how did they do? Andrew Watkinson of the cross-council funded Living With Environmental Change programme says growing pressure on funding makes partnership working increasingly important for LWEC and others.
The UK lacks a research strategy for meeting the targets set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act, according to a new report from Research Fortnight.
The Act requires an 80 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels to be made before 2050. But the report, which looked at research programmes across government, found there is no coordinated strategy on how to gain the knowledge needed to meet the requirements.
The lack of a strategy leaves the government open to duplication of research and missing out on the studies needed to meet targets, the report suggests.
Financing Climate Research: A guide for UK researchers and policymakers, published on 15 September, was compiled by a team of writers and researchers led by the publication’s comment and analysis editor John Dwyer.
The report finds there is no agreed figure for how much the UK's is spending on climate change research or where. Priorities of the government’s 10-year, £1 billion flagship climate research programme, Living With Environmental Change, do not align with the Climate Act, it adds.
The report also highlights particular fields, such as questions around climate ‘tipping points’ and forecasting, where further study should be commissioned. Capacity for social and behavioural research, as well as a general capacity to commission and process research, is lacking from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, it adds.
The report is designed for UK-based individuals and organisations applying for climate change research funds, and also for those who provide funding and includes information on UK funding sources compared to the EU.
It finds that the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission is the single largest source of funding for climate change research and includes advice and case studies on making successful applications.
Before the summer break, just as the country's professional societies seemed united in their determination to protect basic science against government cutbacks, the RAEng told the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that the only science worth protecting was that which would benefit the economy in the near or immediate future. Particle physics—particularly the work going on at CERN's Large Hadron Collider—should be chopped in its favour.
You can argue till the cows come home about this, and the RAEng's proposition has some support among, for example, the mechanical engineeers. But when even right-wing, market-obsessed politicians like Peter Mandelson and Nicolas Sarkozy are speaking up for the central role of basic science in advanced economies, you have to take a second look.