‘Philistine’ Government Hindering Irish Research, Says Fianna Fáil

Posted in Research on September 16th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil has criticised Fine Gael’s ‘short-sighted and philistine’ approach to research funding in Ireland, after the country won just one of 400 grants from the European Research Council. Fianna Fáil spokesperson on science, technology, research and development James Lawless said the government’s approach is hindering research in Ireland …” (more)

[Sárán Fogarty, University Times, 16 September]

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Govt Short-Sightedness Causing Crisis in Research and Development

Posted in Research on September 15th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, James Lawless, has said the short-sighted approach taken by Fine Gael in only funding research with expedient commercial outputs has greatly hampered the research and development ecosystem in Ireland …” (more)

[Fianna Fáil, 15 September]

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University Presidents Call for Urgent Changes to State Research Funding Following Poor Outcome from EU Programme

Posted in Research on September 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Presidents of Ireland’s seven universities, represented by the IUA, have called on the Government and the national research funding agencies to urgently address strategic deficiencies in how Irish research is funded, following the outcome of the latest European Research Council (ERC) funding programme. Only one Irish-based researcher was funded out of a total of 408 grant awards from the €621 million funding programme …” (more)

[IUA, 13 September]

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Are UK universities facing a terrible catastrophe?

Posted in Research on September 14th, 2019 by steve

“A repeated theme of mainstream media reporting on university rankings (nearly always QS or THE) is that Brexit has inflicted, is inflicting, or is surely going to inflict great damage on British education and the universities because they will not get any research grants from the European Union or be able to network with their continental peers …” (more)

[University Ranking Watch, 14 September]

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IUA Calls for Funding Rethink, as Ireland Gets Only One EU Research Grant

Posted in Research on September 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The presidents of all seven Irish universities today called for a rethink on how research is funded in Ireland after the European Research Council’s granted Irish-based researchers only one of its 408 grants …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 13 September]

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Ireland secures just one of over 400 European research grants

Posted in Research on September 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Just one of more than 400 recently announced European research grants has been awarded to Ireland prompting calls for an overhaul in how the Government carries out its own funding. The presidents of seven third level institutions represented by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) have said national funding for primary research is far behind that of other countries …” (more)

[Mark Hilliard, Irish Times, 13 September]

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Elsevier investigates hundreds of peer reviewers for manipulating citations

Posted in Research on September 10th, 2019 by steve

International“The Dutch publisher Elsevier is investigating hundreds of researchers whom it suspects of deliberately manipulating the peer-review process to boost their own citation numbers. The publisher is looking into the possibility that some peer reviewers are encouraging the authors of work under review to cite the reviewers’ own research in exchange for positive reviews – a frowned-on practice broadly termed coercive citation …” (more)

[Dalmeet Singh Chawla, Nature, 10 September]

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Former Trinity lecturer accused of plagiarism by student

Posted in Legal issues, Research on September 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Adebola Adedimeji, a former Trinity lecturer, failed to defend his work in court after being accused of plagiarism by his former thesis supervisee, Annette Rochford. Rochford, a clinical nurse specialist, has accused Adedimeji of presenting her research as his own on two separate occasions …” (more)

[Jessica Hobbs Pifer, Trinity News, 8 September]

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‘Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions’

Posted in Research on September 9th, 2019 by steve

Author summary: The grant proposal system compels researchers to devote substantial time to writing proposals that could have instead been used to do science. Here, we use the economic theory of contests to show that as fewer grants are funded, the value of the science that researchers forgo while preparing proposals can approach or exceed the value of the science that the funding program supports. As a result, much of the scientific impact of the funding program is squandered. Unfortunately, increased waste and reduced efficiency is inevitable in a grant proposal competition when the number of awards is small. How can scarce funds be allocated efficiently, then? As one alternative, we show that a partial lottery that selects proposals for funding randomly from among those that pass a qualifying standard can restore lost efficiency by reducing investigators’ incentives to invest heavily in preparing proposals. Lotteries could also improve efficiency by compelling administrators to de-emphasize grant success as a primary measure of professional achievement. If lotteries are politically untenable, another remedy would be to fund researchers based on their previous research successes, although in such a way that avoids establishing barriers to entry for junior scientists or scientists from historically underrepresented demographic groups.

Gross K, Bergstrom CT (2019) Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions. PLoS Biol 17(1): e3000065. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000065.


Trinity Working With Chinese Universities Accused of Cyber Crime

Posted in Legal issues, Research on September 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Trinity is reportedly collaborating on research with Chinese universities that have been linked to cyber crime and international espionage. The Sunday Times today reports that Ireland’s Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is financing research collaborations between Irish universities – Trinity, University College Dublin and University College Cork – and two Chinese universities accused of cyber attacks …” (more)

[Orla Murnaghan, University Times, 8 September]

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Gender equality: ‘No room at the top for women scientists’

Posted in Research on September 6th, 2019 by steve

International“The number of women climbing the career ladder in science is ‘disappointingly low’, say researchers. Women make up half of students in the life sciences, but only one in four professors, according to data from 500 scientific institutions worldwide …” (more)

[Helen Briggs, BBC News, 6 September]


Tyndall National Institute secures additional €8m in EU funding

Posted in Research on September 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Tyndall National Institute has announced that it successfully secured over €8m in European funding as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. The institute was one of the biggest individual Irish beneficiaries of this significant round of 2019 funding, despite stiff competition from other European bodies …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 4 September]

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Half of Irish adults lack the digital skills needed to compete in the workplace

Posted in Research on September 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Half of Irish adults risk exclusion from the workforce because they don’t have the digital skills required to thrive. The economy has become digital and Ireland ranks sixth in Europe for digitisation – the progress being made in terms of connectivity, internet use for activity such as online transactions and communication, advanced and basic digital skills, digital public services and the integration of digital technology in business – according to the EU Digital Economy and Society Index 2018 …” (more)

[Liam O’Brien, Independent, 5 September]


Westridge Real Estate completes €140m purchase of DIT Kevin Street campus

Posted in Research on September 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Developer Shane Whelan’s Westridge Real Estate has completed its purchase of DIT’s former Kevin Street campus for €140 million. It is understood that Westridge will now press ahead with plans to seek planning permission for a major mixed-use scheme on the 3.57 acre site, comprising mainly Grade A office space alongside a large element of private rented sector (PRS) apartments, and food and beverage offerings …” (more)

[Ronald Quinlan, Irish Times, 4 September]


Universities need to rein in academic air travel and greenhouse gases

Posted in Research on September 4th, 2019 by steve

International“A recent article on air travel in the journal Science has caused some turbulence in the academic community. In it, Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, calculated that she had travelled nearly 200,000 kilometres in 2017, mostly to attend conferences …” (more)

[Julie Talbot and Julien Arsenault, The Conversation, 3 September]

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The Crisis of University Research

Posted in Research on September 3rd, 2019 by steve

“Academia’s pursuit of corporate and government dollars has undermined its commitment to learning. The debate over the role of research in the life of the university was settled a long time ago. In a classic 1852 book, The Idea of a University, the Catholic priest and future cardinal John Henry Newman made what in retrospect appears to have been a last stand against the proposition that research should be an intrinsic part of university life …” (more)

[Richard Drake, The American Scholar, 3 September]


A Pointless Imprimatur?

Posted in Research on August 26th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“In numerous rants about Open Access on this blog I’ve made the point that because of the arXiv the field I work in is way ahead of the game. Most researchers in astronomy astrophysics and cosmology post their papers on the arXiv, and many do that before the work has been accepted for publication. Even before the arXiv we used to circulate preprints ahead of publication …” (more)

[In the Dark, 26 August]

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When ‘girl students’ joined the priests-to-be in Maynooth

Posted in Research on August 21st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Ireland, May 1969, and St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Co Kildare, was causing a stir. An Irish Times journalist paid a visit to the seminary, founded in 1795, and now separate to what became Maynooth University …” (more)

[Una Mullally, Irish Times, 20 August]

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Minister urges scientists to pressure politicians to ‘invest in innovation’

Posted in Research on August 20th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Minister John Halligan has urged scientists to use the next general election to put pressure on politicians to commit to investing in research ahead of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. Mr Halligan also spoke of how he wants Ireland join European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) …” (more)

[Cormac McQuinn, Independent, 19 August]

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Hundreds of extreme self-citing scientists revealed in new database

Posted in Research on August 19th, 2019 by steve

International“Some highly cited academics seem to be heavy self-promoters – but researchers warn against policing self-citation. The world’s most-cited researchers, according to newly released data, are a curiously eclectic bunch …” (more)

[Richard Van Noorden and Dalmeet Singh Chawla, Nature, 19 August]

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