Thursday, 17 December 2009
However, Aston begs to differ. The UK already has 'one of the most concentrated funding models in the world', she claims in Research Fortnight, and Mandelson et al are confusing excellence with volume.
'If you fund on explicit concentration by institution, you are in effect leading money away from world-leading research in some institutions to fund a long tail of research in others.' Let's hope Mandy pulls a hand brake turn.
'The grant-acquisition treadmill is relentless. It is also monumentally time-consuming and demoralising because the failure rate is high and the likelihood of success almost random. Without exception, every one of my colleagues has come back from recent research council grant meetings wringing their hands in frustration and despair at the scale of the bureaucratic burden on academics and the utter injustice of the system. A system that requires academics to spend such a huge proportion of their time writing grant applications, awards those grants haphazardly, and then ranks academics according to how successful they have been in this exercise, is deeply flawed.'
Instead he suggests using the Canadian method - note the Institute for Government's interest in this earlier - whereby academics need only spend a relatively short time applying for grants, which are longer term. Prof Birkhead says that some of his colleagues there need only spend a week every five years complete applications. Interesting idea - but would the Government have the stomach to take it on?
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
I had an interesting conversation with Leverhulme the other day, and got to the heart of the process grant applications go through with them. I've always said that applicants need to speak to a very general audience when pitching to Leverhulme, and understanding the process that proposals go through makes this all too clear. So here's the low down:
- At the Outline Stage your application is sent to a member of the 35 strong ‘Advisory Panel,’ made up of academics from across the remit of Leverhulme (i.e. Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities). Depending on the amount, the application will either be seen by one (if it’s less than £250k) or two (if it’s more than £250k);
- Their comments are sent to the Director, who approves (or, indeed, overrules) them.
- At the Full Application Stage it is sent to four referees: 2 suggested by you, 2 identified by them. They are not people on the Advisory Panel.
- Based on these reviews, the Trustees make the final decision. So the Trustees have more influence than I initially thought. Below is a list of who they are, together with links for a little background:
- Sir Michael Angus (Chairman)
- Sir Michael Perry
- Mr N W A Fitzgerald
- Mr P J-P Cescau
- Dr A S Ganguly – I think this is the one
- Mr A C Butler
- Sir Iain Anderson
- Professor Sir Richard Brook (the Director)
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
This seminar, following the style of the previous PVC seminar, takes the Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ format to explore the issue of institutions in the present global climate. Are institutions the source of knowledge and power in the contemporary global world?
- Professor Jeremy Carrette (SECL, Religious Studies) will chair a discussion on the theme of institutions with five academics from the University of Kent from across the fields of sociology and political science. Professor Carrette has recently secured the largest grant in the AHRC’s Religion and Society Programme for a project looking at religious NGOs and the UN.
- Dr. Gulnur Aybet (PolIR) a specialist on NATO, the EU and security issues
- Dr. Patrick Brown (SSPSSR) a specialist on healthcare institutions
- Dr. Frank Grundig (PolIR) a specialist on international institutions
- Dr. Monika Krause (SSPSSR) a specialist on humanitarian aid and NGOs
- Dr. Adrian Pabst (PolIR) a specialist on institutional economics