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Higher education and academic/non-profit research in the world
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A New Funding Model for Scientists

A New Funding Model for Scientists | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

What scientist hasn’t dreamed of spending less time getting funding and more time doing research?

The current academic funding system, which allocates public money to researchers based on the submission and peer review of countless research proposals, has served science well—but some people believe that the time has come to find more efficient ways to distribute the money. Among them is a group of scientists at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington who proposed a new funding model in an article published last week in EMBO reports. (...) - by Elisabeth Pain, Science, January 13, 2014

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Ireland lines up grants

Irish fellowships aim to retain and reclaim early-career female researchers.

The Irish government plans to launch one- and two-year postdoctoral fellowships, worth up to €185,000 (US$252,000) each, to prompt early-career female researchers to stay in or return to the scientific workforce after childcare or other breaks. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in Dublin will announce the 20 or so Advance Fellowship grants by June, says Elena Martines, the SFI's scientific programme officer. Currently, 35% of SFI-funded Irish postdocs and 20% of SFI-funded academic researchers are women, says Martines. “This is a very bold programme,” she says, noting that few similar initiatives exist. (...) - Nature 505, 445 (2014), 15 January 2014

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Business Gains Drive Higher R&D Spending in U.S.

Business Gains Drive Higher R&D Spending in U.S. | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

But revised NSF data point to rough times for academic researchers.

The U.S. research ship is righting itself after going through some stormy seas, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF). But the latest picture of overall R&D spending in the United States shows two divergent trends: High-tech companies are steaming ahead after rebounding from the 2008 recession, while the end of the massive stimulus spending begun in 2009 has left academic researchers facing increasingly choppy waters.(...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 13 January 2014

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NIH Grant Scores Are Poor Predictors Of Scientific Impact

NIH Grant Scores Are Poor Predictors Of Scientific Impact | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

The most important federal funding mechanism for biomedical research in the United States is the R01 grant proposal submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Most scientists submitting R01 proposals request around $250,000 per year for 5 years. This may sound like a lot of money, but these requested funds have to pay for the salaries of the research staff including the salary of the principal investigator. The money that is left over once the salaries are subtracted has to cover the costs of new scientific equipment, maintenance contracts for existing equipment, monthly expenses for research reagents such as chemicals, cell lines, cell culture media and molecular biology assay kits, housing animals, user fees for research core facilities….. basically a very long list of expenditures. (...) - by Jalees Rehman, Blog 'The Next Regeneration', 10 January 2014

 

 

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French academy decries slide in research spending

French academy decries slide in research spending | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Cut of €80 million in 2014 budget threatens health of basic research, scientists warn.

The French Academy of Sciences has issued its strongest distress signal in decades to warn against the consequences of recent declines in government research spending. (...) - by Barbara Casassus, Nature, 02 January 2014

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Lecturers need research time off campus to best teach students

Lecturers need research time off campus to best teach students | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Louise Tickle meets four university teachers whose work in the field enriches their students' learning.

"When the film was in development, there was a point when I was really struggling to make the script work," says director John Roberts, a two time Bafta award-winner who also lectures at Royal Holloway, University of London. "Later on, I set it as an exercise for my students. It was about giving them a real problem I'd had to grapple with – how would they find a creative solution that made sense?" (...) - by Louise Tickle, The Guardian, 20 December 2013

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Getting Open Access Embargoes Right: Rational Policy Must Be Evidence-Based

Getting Open Access Embargoes Right: Rational Policy Must Be Evidence-Based | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

A new study, out today, takes a broad look at the usage lives of scholarly journal articles. The information it contains is vital for achieving the balance necessary for Green OA policies to work. (...) - by David Crotty, the scholarly kitchen, Dec 18 , 2013

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Focus on outcome

Basic research increasingly targets societal outcomes, finds study.

The global recession has led government-funded academic science to focus increasingly on 'targeted outcomes' with a clear societal or economic impact, finds a report. The State of Higher Education 2013, released on 1 December by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, polled presidents and rectors at 34 higher-education institutions across 29 nations. Researchers are also spending a lot of time on public outreach, it finds. “If taxpayers understand the value of the research, they're more likely to agree to fund it,” says report co-author Ellen Hazelkorn, vice-president of research and enterprise at the Dublin Institute of Technology. She suggests that early-career researchers polish their communication skills and focus on interdisciplinary work. (...) - Nature 504, 473, 18 December 2013

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What is the Lifespan of a Research Article?

What is the Lifespan of a Research Article? | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

An analysis of article downloads from 2,812 academic and professional journals published by 13 presses in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities reveals extensive usage of articles years after publication.

Measuring usage half-life–the median age of articles downloaded from a publisher’s website–just 3% of journals had half-lives shorter than 12 months. Nearly 17% of all journals had usage half-lives exceeding six years. (...) - Blog 'the scholarly kitchen', Dec 18, 2013

 

 

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EU opens the €80 billion Horizon 2020 to researchers

The European Commission this week opened the way for universities, research organisations and businesses to apply for a share of its massive €80 billion (US$110 billion) Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. But questions have already been raised over whether the proposed selection procedures will be good enough to reduce complaints about awards. (...) - University World News, by

Alan Osborn, 12 December 2013, Issue No:300

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Horizon 2020 Fires €7.8 Billion Funding Gun

European Research Council tightens rules to prevent flood of applications.

BRUSSELS—The European Commission has launched its first funding competitions as part of Horizon 2020, Europe's flagship research and innovation program. About €15 billion will be available in the next 2 years, with yearly budgets rising gradually until the program ends in 2020. (...) Science, by Tania Rabesandratana, 11 December 2013

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US: NSF Launches Internal Review to Mend Relations With Congress

US: NSF Launches Internal Review to Mend Relations With Congress | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Panel will address concerns that NSF does a poor job of giving reasons for funding decisions.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is taking another shot at explaining itself to Congress and the public. And it has a lot riding on the outcome.

In recent years, several Republican legislators have criticized the $7 billion agency for funding research that they consider to be frivolous or undeserving of federal support. Last month, the science committee in the House of Representatives held a hearing on draft legislation that would impose new requirements on NSF before it makes any award. (...) by Jeffrey Mervis, Science, 10 December 2013

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Peter Higgs: I wouldn't be productive enough for today's academic system

Peter Higgs: I wouldn't be productive enough for today's academic system | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Physicist doubts work like Higgs boson identification achievable now as academics are expected to 'keep churning out papers'

Peter Higgs, the British physicist who gave his name to the Higgs boson, believes no university would employ him in today's academic system because he would not be considered "productive" enough. (...) - by Decca Aitkenhead, The Guardian, 6 December 2013

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Communication: Spontaneous scientists

Communication: Spontaneous scientists | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Some think that researchers can improve their communication by flexing their improvisation skills.

A circle of scientists is gazing skyward, as if watching a ball fly through the air as they play an animated game of catch. But there is no ball — and this game is serious work. It is part of an exercise to help 12 scientists at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center in Farmington to boost their communication skills. (...) - by Rachel Bernstein, Nature 505, 121-123 (2014), 01 January 2014

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U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget

U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Physical science wins bigger increases than biomedical research.

The ghost of former President George W. Bush permeates the 2014 budget that Congress released last night.  His presence is good news for physical scientists, but less cheery for biomedical researchers, as Congress reserved some of the biggest spending increases for NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE). The National Institutes of Health (NIH), meanwhile, got a $1 billion increase that is drawing mixed reviews from research advocates. (...) - Science, by Jeffrey Mervis, 14 January 2014

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How Science Communication Can Help Build Public Support for Science Funding

How Science Communication Can Help Build Public Support for Science Funding | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Any scientist can tell you that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get research grants, which are the lifeblood of research programs at universities and other institutions. But there are things that can be done to boost public support for research funding, and they all involve science communication. (...) - by Matt Shipman, SciLogs blog 'Communication breakdown', 13 January 2014

 

 

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Animal Rights Fliers Shock Italian Researchers

Animal Rights Fliers Shock Italian Researchers | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Activists post photos, addresses, and phone numbers of scientists on the streets of Milan

The battle over animal experimentation in Italy took a nasty turn this week when anonymous activists posted fliers showing photos, home addresses, and telephone numbers of scientists involved in animal research at the University of Milan and labeled them as "murderers." The leaflets, which appeared in the night of 6 to 7 January, triggered swidespread condemnation in academic and political circles. (...) - by Marta Paterlini, 09/01/2014

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The Snarky, Clever Comments Hidden in the "Acknowledgments" of Academic Papers

The Snarky, Clever Comments Hidden in the "Acknowledgments" of Academic Papers | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

In a modern scientific paper, if you cruise past the “Materials and Methods” section and stop right before you hit the “References,” you’ll find the “Acknowledgments” section, wherein authors are given space to thank others for their contributions to the project. It is generally accepted that this paragraph is ignored by both readers and reviewers alike. Accordingly, it is chock full of inside jokes, snarky comments, and general silliness. Here, for your enjoyment, are a few of our favorite examples. (...) - Slate, by Meredith Carpenter and Lillian Fritz-Laylin, 27/12/2013

 

 

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How one publisher is stopping academics from sharing their research

One of the world's largest academic publishers has launched a wide-ranging takedown spree, demanding that several different universities take down their own scholars' research.

Elsevier is a commercial firm that publishes some of the leading journals in many academic fields. In recent weeks, it has sent takedown notices to the academic social media network Academia.edu, as well as to the University of Calgary, the University of California-Irvine, and Harvard University. (...) - by Andrea Peterson, The Washington Post, December 19, 2013

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U.S. Budget Deal Reaches Finish Line

U.S. Budget Deal Reaches Finish Line | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Research spending will gain some protection under legislation headed for White House.

The U.S. Senate has approved a bipartisan, 2-year budget agreement that is expected to ease pressure to cut spending on research. Today’s 64 to 36 vote clears the way for President Barack Obama to sign the measure, and for congressional appropriators to finalize spending bills for specific agencies for the 2014 fiscal year, which began on 1 October. Lawmakers need to reach agreement by 15 January, when a current deal giving agencies the authority to spend money expires. (...) -  by David Malakoff, Science, 18 December 2013

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Austria: New government scraps science and research ministry

The new Austrian government is integrating the country’s Ministry of Science and Research into a Ministry of Economics and Family Affairs. The move has met with a storm of protest among academics and students.

Like Germany, Austria went to the polls last September, and it has taken politicians in both countries two-and-a-half months to form new governments. (...)  - University World News, by Michael Gardner, 18 December 2013 Issue No:301

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Africa: New EU partnership, and initiatives to boost research

The European Union and Africa have agreed to set up a long-term, jointly funded research and innovation partnership to promote food and nutrition security. Meanwhile, a new innovation centre in Ethiopia and a plant breeding academy in Kenya have been announced.

The new partnership was approved at a meeting in Brussels of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation held on 29 November, according to a European Commission alert. (...) - University World News, by Wagdy Sawahel, 13 December 2013 Issue No:300

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US budget deal would ease science agencies' pain

US budget deal would ease science agencies' pain | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Congress readies plan to end mandatory cuts until 2016.

The US Congress has announced that it is close to a deal on government spending that would, for the next two years, eliminate the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. The deal offers a respite from the partisan battles over government spending that culminated in October with a 16-day government shutdown, and it would give a budgetary boost to science agencies in 2014, rather than another set of cuts. (...) - by Lauren Morello, Nature, 11 December 2013

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Who’s missing in modern academia: solitary geniuses or something much more significant?

Who’s missing in modern academia: solitary geniuses or something much more significant? | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Rebekah Higgitt: Peter Higgs’s negative comments on modern academia have received much interest, in part because they idealise the idea of the scientific researcher as solitary genius. But there are other, more significant, voices missing. (...) - by Rebekah Higgit, 10 December 2013

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Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals | Higher Education and academic research | Scoop.it

Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process. (...) - by Ian Sample, The Guardian, 9 December 2013

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