The Problem with STEM

Posted in Teaching on March 4th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Despite the constant efforts to communicate the ‘relevance’ and even the ‘fun’ of STEM subjects, the fraction of school leavers who choose to pursue further study in these disciplines has remained quite static in the last decade, as shown in the figure below …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 4 March]

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A Metaphor to Retire

Posted in Governance and administration on March 3rd, 2015 by steve

USA“For decades, debates about gender and science have often assumed that women are more likely than men to ‘leak’ from the science and engineering pipeline after entering college. However, new research of which I am the coauthor shows this pervasive leaky pipeline metaphor is wrong …” (more)

[David Miller, insidehighered, 3 March]

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A second home: the Brazilian influx to Irish universities

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 3rd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Despite the offer of a scholarship in Spain worth twice as much as one from Ireland, when it came to deciding where to do her doctoral research, Brazilian Sheila Castilho M de Sousa had no doubts about where to go …” (more, video)

[Tom Hennigan, Irish Times, 3 March]

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Science Foundation Ireland offers new paradigm for promotion of science

Posted in Research on March 2nd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is probably best known for its work in funding world-class research in third-level institutions and research centres throughout the country but another important strand of its activity is the promotion of public awareness and engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths …” (more)

[Barry McCall, Irish Times, 2 March]

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Lessons for State in Singapore’s scientific research investment

Posted in Research on March 2nd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Maintaining a global vision and putting more money into science are essential for any country that wants to have an international impact on research and innovation. Ireland could be at risk of missing the boat if it fails to invest at a higher lever and abandons basic research in favour of research that delivers short-term returns …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 2 March]

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Don’t be fooled by the closing gender gap in science PhDs

Posted in Research on February 19th, 2015 by steve

International“Career advancement is often described metaphorically as a pipeline. In many fields – law, film, business, journalism and academia, to name just a few – the pipeline leaks. And most of all, it leaks women. As we move further along the career path, we usually find an increasing percentage of men and a decreasing percentage of women …” (more)

[Curt Rice, Guardian, 19 February]

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Death in academia and the mis-measurement of science

Posted in Life, Research on February 11th, 2015 by steve

UK“Universities are increasingly run like businesses hungry for performance benchmarks, disconnected from the way scientists themselves would like their research evaluated …” (more)

[Arran Frood, EuroScientist, 9 February]

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What’s behind the lack of women in science and tech?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 3rd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“It is a constant struggle to bring more women into the Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to keep them there, and not just at secondary level. And even when women do engage with these subjects there is a higher attrition rate for women leaving careers coming via Stem than for men …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 2 February]

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The hard Stem sell: trying to get girls to buy into science

Posted in Governance and administration on February 3rd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“We know the Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) have trouble attracting women, but why, with all of the efforts and role models now, are things getting worse? …” (more)

[Grainne Faller and Louise Holden, Irish Times, 3 February]

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Research Minister says science spend has to rise

Posted in Research on January 15th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The Government will have to increase its spending on science and research significantly in the future, the Minister of State with responsibility for the area has conceded. Damien English said Ireland currently spends less than 1% of GDP on science, while countries that are doing best in the area spend 2% …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 15 January]

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Research shows a doubling of PhD graduates working in industry between 2000 and 2010

Posted in Life on January 7th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Trinity College Dublin in partnership with LinkedIn carried out an analysis of 11,000 PhD graduates from Irish universities over the last 20 years …” (more)

[Diarmuid O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 January]

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Gender bias and science

Posted in Governance and administration on December 17th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Further to David Walsh’s letter (December 16th), I fail to see how the existence of a few gender studies centres is an example of ‘notorious gender bias’ when the real figures that show the lack of representation and the biased promotion methods …” (more)

[Chryssa Dislis, Irish Times, 17 December]

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State Funding and Curiosity-Driven Research

Posted in Research on December 15th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Today, Dick Ahlstrom bemoans the lack of a clear policy for research funding in Ireland. I’m not sure I would agree that there is no policy. It’s just that the existing policy sees state-funded science purely as a short-term mechanism for funding industrial innovation and even job creation …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 15 December]

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All I want for Christmas is a Government policy on science

Posted in Research on December 15th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Yuletide is upon us and it is time to put together a list of what gifts the research community might like to find under the Christmas tree. Some prezzies will cost the Government a bit of money, but not much …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 15 December]

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Assess the real cost of research assessment

Posted in Research on December 10th, 2014 by steve

UK“The Research Excellence Framework keeps UK science sharp, but the process is overly burdensome for institutions, says Peter M Atkinson …” (more)

[Nature, 10 December]

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Gender bias and science

Posted in Governance and administration on December 10th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The headline ‘Women held back by “family obligations”, says MIT professor’ misrepresents both Dick Ahlstrom’s article (December 5th) and the primary message I delivered at WiSER’s (Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research) Trinity College Dublin event …” (more)

[Nancy Hopkins, Irish Times, 10 December]

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Bad science reporting blamed on exaggerations in university press releases

Posted in Research on December 10th, 2014 by steve

UK“Press releases written by academic institutions with the help of their own academics contain many of the exaggerated claims about health and medical science that end up in newspaper reports, a study has found …” (more)

[Steve Connor, Independent, 10 December]

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Science blogs and online trolling: Do below-the-line comment spaces help or hurt science communication?

Posted in Research on November 21st, 2014 by steve

UK“Questions have been raised over whether allowing comments on blogs and other sites is conducive to wider understanding of science. Jonathan Mendel and Hauke Riesch present a look at how online comments, even uncivil ones, can positively benefit community cohesion and inclusive engagement …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 21 November]

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Academic Science Isn’t Sexist

Posted in Research on November 2nd, 2014 by steve

USA“Academic science has a gender problem: specifically, the almost daily reports about hostile workplaces, low pay, delayed promotion and even physical aggression against women …” (more)

[Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci, New York Times, 31 October]

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Ireland’s rich history in science deserves acclaim

Posted in Life on October 30th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“The island of Ireland might be known, to those wearing emerald-tinted glasses, as the land of saints and scholars, but isn’t it curious that in the popular mind, the cultural achievements to which the phrase implies always seems to refer to writers? …” (more)

[Karlin Lillington, Irish Times, 30 October]

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