What is the impact of publicly funded science research?

Posted in Research on October 16th, 2015 by steve

“Well, we don’Irelandt know … BUT we are going to try to shed some light on it. A debate, a colloquium, a discussion. A group of local and international analysts, funders and policymakers will discuss this on 13 November 2015, RCPI Dublin …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 16 October]

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Rote learning is failing science students

Posted in Teaching on October 13th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“One of the strongest predictors of a science student’s academic performance is their level of engagement with their learning. There is considerable published evidence showing how inquiry-based, student- centred teaching can create and sustain engaged students who are motivated to learn. All levels of our education system should reflect this …” (more)

[Shane Bergin, Irish Times, 12 October]

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Collapsing Ivory Towers? A hyperlink analysis of the German academic blogosphere

Posted in Research on September 29th, 2015 by steve

Germany“In a substantial analysis of over 500 German-speaking science blogs, Jonas Kaiser and Benedikt Fecher look at what hyperlinks are used within prominent science blogs to investigate how scientists link to each other and outside sources. Using visualisation and mapping software, their results show how science blogs form new networks beyond traditional disciplines and interact with the wider general blogosphere …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 29 September]

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Raising maths and science standards

Posted in Teaching on September 5th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Peter Cheney assesses Ireland’s latest OECD rankings and how improvements can be achieved. One in seven Irish students fail to gain basic skills in maths and science, according to a new OECD report. However, the Project Maths initiative appears to be improving standards and helping to turn around Ireland’s performance …” (more)

[eolas Magazine, 4 September]

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‘We’re still not doing enough to encourage women into science’

Posted in Teaching on August 12th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Originally from Limerick, Dr Caitriona Jackman is forging a stellar career as one of the UK’s top planetary scientists. But, she says she’s angry that we’re missing out on potential talent by telling girls science is not for them …” (more)

[Joe O’Shea, Independent, 12 August]

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Science and engineering

Posted in Governance and administration on August 7th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – What a depressingly outdated concept of the balance between science and engineering presented in the letter by Prof John Kelly (August 6th). Throughout the leading academic centres in the US, science and engineering are interwoven, particularly in the pursuit of advances relevant to human health …” (more)

[Letters from Garret FitzGerald and Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, Irish Times, 7 August]

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Demand for engineering and technology degrees grows

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on July 11th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“College applicants are opting in greater numbers for engineering and technology degrees but science courses are waning in popularity, latest figures show. The Central Applications Office (CAO) has received lists of preferred honours bachelor (level 8) degree choices from 70,006 Leaving Certificate candidates, mature students, and others for the coming academic year — 4% more than this time last year …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 11 July]

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Maths And Science Skills Of Irish Students

Posted in Teaching on June 29th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The OECD Universal Basic Skills report (2015) compares the maths and science abilities of 15-year-old students in seventy-six countries. This note examines Ireland’s performance relative to other high-income OECD countries. Ireland’s performance is above average but significantly behind the top performing countries …” (more)

[Colm Farrell, PublicPolicy.ie, 29 June]

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Something has gone very wrong with science

Posted in Research on June 19th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The1960 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, Peter Medawar, famously remarked in 1983: ‘In terms of fulfilment of declared intentions, science is incomparably the most successful enterprise that human beings have ever engaged upon’ …” (more)

[William Reville, Irish Times, 18 June]

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Half of girls believe science and maths are ‘too difficult’

Posted in Teaching on June 18th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Biology is the most popular science subject among both girls and young women, while physics is the least popular, according a survey which raises fresh concerns about gender stereotypes in academia …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 18 June]

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Sexism has no place in science

Posted in Governance and administration on June 16th, 2015 by steve

International“The comments about women in the laboratory made by Nobel laureate Tim Hunt are a reminder that equality in science is a battle still far from won …” (more)

[Nature, 15 June]

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Education – broad or deep?

Posted in Teaching on June 6th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Karlin Lillington’s recent column (‘Graduates must bridge divide between arts and science’, Business Opinion, June 4th) is just the latest in a growing list of articles extolling the value of broad-based, multidisciplinary undergraduate education …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 6 June]

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Pioneering science in Ireland: students can follow in their footsteps

Posted in Research on May 26th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Communication is, arguably, the biggest problem facing science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem). It’s not always easy to grasp the complex and technical detail of scientific research. That’s slowly changing, with a growing number of researchers making efforts to reach out to the public and show what they’re doing …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 26 May]

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Will traditional science journals disappear?

Posted in Research on May 18th, 2015 by steve

UK“The Royal Society has been celebrating the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s first scientific journal, by holding a series of meetings on the future of scholarly scientific publishing. I followed the whole event on social media …” (more)

[BishopBlog, 17 May]

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Let’s build additional supports to get women into science

Posted in Governance and administration on May 17th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“We need to bridge the gender gap in schools – especially in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, writes Julie O’Neill …” (more)

[Julie O’Neill, Independent, 17 May]

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Ireland’s narrow research focus on commercial technology is short-sighted

Posted in Research on April 30th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Research funding remains almost exclusively targeted at certain technological areas that are considered important. A recent letter to The Irish Times, signed by more than 1,100 scientists, noted that funding for scientific research in Ireland has become increasingly focused on the commercialisation of technological applications …” (more)

[Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, Irish Times, 30 April]

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‘University research scientists as knowledge workers: contract status and employment opportunities’

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on April 10th, 2015 by steve

IrelandAbstract: University research scientists epitomise knowledge workers who are positioned to avail of the employment conditions associated with ‘boundaryless careers’. Yet while employment flexibility has been hailed as a positive feature of knowledge work, relatively little is known about the forms such flexibility may take or its impact. This article considers the factors shaping the employment conditions of 40 research scientists working in five university research centres in Ireland. The findings suggest that, for knowledge workers such as research scientists, contract employment can deny them access to many of the employment conditions and opportunities that govern their long-term success as researchers.

Harney, Brian and Monks, Kathy and Alexopoulos, Angelos and Buckley, Finian and Hogan, Teresa (2014) University research scientists as knowledge workers: contract status and employment opportunities. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25 (16). pp. 2219-2233. ISSN 1466-4399.

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Funding of scientific research

Posted in Research on April 6th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Prof David McConnell (Opinion, April 2nd) eloquently supports the case made in an earlier letter signed by many Irish scientists who argued for greater funding for basic research in the Irish higher education system. There is little doubt that balanced and sustained investment of public funds in both basic and applied scientific research yields significant economic and social dividends over time …” (more)

[Aidan Kennedy, Irish Times, 6 April]

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Science is in crisis and scientists have lost confidence in Government policy

Posted in Research on April 2nd, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Government university funding has fallen dramatically and the rules by which SFI funds individual research scientists have drastically altered. Readers may have seen the letter now signed by about 1,100 Irish scientists and engineers asking the Government to restore confidence in the Irish scientific research system …” (more)

[David McConnell, Irish Times, 2 April]

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Third Level Funding – Basic Research in Science

Posted in Research on March 27th, 2015 by steve

IrelandDeputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills her views on the open letter from over 900 scientists to the Government (details supplied); her plans for the successor to the strategy for science, technology and innovation 2006 to 2013; and her further views on increasing funding for basic research across all scientific disciplines …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann Written Answers, 25 March]

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