There’s an interesting article in Research Professional upon which I thought a brief comment would be appropriate. The article is mainly about the recent demise of the 1994 Group of universities, made inevitable when some of its larger members jumped ship to climb on board the much posher Russell Group. I’ve always felt that mission groups of this type were of little interest or value, but the growth of the Russell Group has, in my view, become rather sinister because it involves a cynical attempt to manufacture status when none is justified by performance.
The piece in Research Professional says:
Vice-chancellors and principals are not the only ones playing the status game. Students, employers, academics and government ministers—who seem to love visiting Russell Group universities—all want to be associated with high-status universities, even if those institutions do not necessarily provide better education or research. A 2009 analysis of…
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Fifty years ago, the U.S. was performing its first nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site, the Beach Boys introduced “surfin’ ” music, and three prisoners supposedly became the first and last to ever successfully escape from the prison on Alcatraz. And the first Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) was created, and presided over a hearing on a proposed new nuclear reactor.
ASLBs independently review the NRC’s actions to ensure they follow not only U.S. law, including the Atomic Energy Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, but also existing agency regulations and past precedent. A Board’s rulings can make the NRC staff reconsider technical and legal conclusions they may have reached on a matter, and can even mean denial of license applications or amendments. Board decisions, though, can be appealed to the five-member Commission.
The original Atomic Energy Act in…
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By Rebekah Higgitt and James Wilsdon and first posted at The H Word blog. It is an edited version of their contribution to the book Future Directions for Scientific Advice in Whitehall, which is free to download here.
It is easy to chant the mantras of evidence-based policy, but less straightforward to determine which forms of expertise and evidence should count. There is now a welcome recognition across government that many policy problems benefit from multidisciplinary perspectives. But implicit hierarchies between disciplines persist, which are rarely explained or written down.
There have been several efforts to demonstrate the value of the humanities to policy in recent years, including helpful contributions from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and individual humanities scholars.
Some progress has been made, but as the historian Roger Kain put it in his October 2011 oral evidence to the House of…
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Time moves on. I just noticed that an advertisement has appeared for my old job at Cardiff University.
Faculty Position in Theoretical Astrophysics or Cosmology
(Senior Lecturer/Reader/Professor depending on experience)
The School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University has an immediate vacancy for a permanent faculty position in Theoretical Astrophysics or Cosmology. Applications are particularly welcome from applicants who can work closely with existing observational astronomers in the School. The position can be at any level from Senior Lecturer to full Professor depending on the experience of the appointed candidate.
The appointee will be expected to strengthen further the existing programme and have demonstrated a world-class programme of research. The appointee will also be expected to teach theoretical astrophysics and physics courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Further information about the School may be found at http://www.astro.cf.ac.uk/ and further details about employment at Cardiff University as well…
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