The chicken shit meeting

Posted in Research on April 4th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I think it really hit me at the chicken shit meeting. There we were, in a meeting room, some lecturer colleagues and I, discussing chicken shit. Literally shit-loads of it. Some company, obviously in the chicken business, wanted us to help out with some of their chicken-shit problems …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 4 April]

Post pandemic outlook for HE is bleakest for the poorest

Posted in Research on April 4th, 2020 by steve

International“In the midst of crisis, with the scope and outcomes largely unclear, it is too early to accurately predict the broader implications of the coronavirus pandemic for higher education or for society in general …” (more)

[Philip G Altbach and Hans de Wit, University World News, 4 April]


Zooming Eve: academic satire in the coronavirus era

Posted in Research on April 3rd, 2020 by steve

“Everyone loves a TV programme or movie about higher education. Particularly if they are half way decent, which occasionally they are. We’ve looked before at some portrayals of university leaders on the big and small screen …” (more)

[Paul Greatrix, Wonkhe, 2 April]


William Reville: There are no shortcuts to high achievement

Posted in Research on April 2nd, 2020 by steve

“Critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyse and evaluate issues to form a judgement and our educational system is often criticised by business leaders for failing to turn out graduates proficient in critical thinking. Unfortunately it is not possible to successfully teach such generic critical thinking, as powerfully explained by Carl Hendrick, head of learning and research at Wellington College, Berkshire in an article in aeon …” (more)

[William Reville, Irish Times, 2 April]

Four Irish projects to share €10m of EU research funding

Posted in Research on April 1st, 2020 by steve

“Four Irish researchers are to benefit from a total of €10 million in grants to study the ancient genetic make-up of farm animals, complete a data analysis of 36,000 Victorian-era books, examine the impact of extreme trauma and investigate novel substances that could reduce energy and carbon footprints. The European Research Council (ERC), an EU institution, has allocated €2.5 million to each of the projects under its ‘advanced grant’ programme, which seeks to facilitate exploration of the most daring and creative ideas …” (more)

[Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 31 March]

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Use university labs to clear the testing bottleneck

Posted in Research on March 28th, 2020 by steve

“The coronavirus has invaded every country across the world and paralysed social and economic activity. First-hand accounts from healthcare workers on the frontline describe warzone-like experiences with patients being subject to triage reminiscent of its historical context in the treatment of the battlefield wounded …” (more)

[Paul Moynagh, Irish Times, 25 March]


Tens of thousands of scientists are redeploying to fight coronavirus

Posted in Research on March 27th, 2020 by steve

International“Working around the clock, scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts can run about 2,000 COVID-19 tests per day. In places where testing is still scarce – which is to say much of the world – similar efforts can provide vital relief to public-health systems stretched to their limits …” (more)

[Giuliana Viglione, Nature, 27 March]


Why pausing the REF makes sense but axing it doesn’t

Posted in Research on March 25th, 2020 by steve

“Yesterday’s announcement that the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) is to be placed on hold ‘until further notice’ is a welcome move by Research England and UKRI, in response to the deepening Covid-19 crisis …” (more)

[James Wilsdon, Wonkhe, 25 March]

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Coronavirus is a Wakeup Call for Academic Conferences. Here’s Why.

Posted in Research on March 25th, 2020 by steve

“The current international health crisis surrounding coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the globe and is now also having a major impact on the scholarly ecosystem. Academic conferences are being hardest hit as event after event is cancelled to reduce the risk of the virus spreading further. These cancellations are resulting in turmoil for many would-be attendees who have often spent months preparing for events and not only lose out on time and money, but also on the opportunity to discover and share valuable early-stage research …” (more)

[Sami Benchekroun and Michelle Kuepper, The Scholarly Kitchen, 25 March]

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On the double: academics and industry breathing hope into overcoming the shortage of ventilators

Posted in Research on March 25th, 2020 by steve

“Respiratory support can mean the difference between life and death for Covid-19 patients. About one in six people who contracts the disease becomes seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. While this is most likely the elderly and people with blood pressure, heart or lung problems, or those with diabetes, about half of the patients requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission in Ireland so far are under 50 …” (more)

[Catherine Donnelly, Independent, 25 March]

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University researchers in Belfast have been awarded a grant to find a Covid-19 treatment

Posted in Research on March 24th, 2020 by steve

“Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded a €315,000 grant in a bid to find a vaccine for coronavirus. The funding grant has been awarded as one of several projects that will receive part of a €21.5 million fund bankrolled by the UK Research and Innovation, and by the Department of Health and Social Care …” (more)

[, 24 March]

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Academic Library Response to COVID-19: Real-Time Data Gathering and Dissemination

Posted in Research on March 23rd, 2020 by steve

“As higher education institutions in the United States began to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving classes online, emptying residence halls, and authorizing remote work, academic librarians found themselves in need of real-time information – not only about their own institution’s practices, but also how other libraries were responding …” (more)

[Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Christine Wolff-Eisenberg, The Scholarly Kitchen, 23 March]

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Hunt for coronavirus cure is making science more open

Posted in Research on March 23rd, 2020 by steve

International“The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared an international public health emergency over the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus. One day later, the Wellcome Trust research charity called for researchers, journals and funders around the world to share research data and findings relevant to the coronavirus rapidly and openly, to inform the public and help save lives …” (more)

[Xin Xu, University World News, 21 March]


Major universities suspend most lab research – but not into coronavirus

Posted in Research on March 21st, 2020 by steve

“This week, Erin Goley froze research at her Johns Hopkins University lab — literally. With the university sending students and professors packing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Goley stopped experiments in the medical school lab, went to a freezer and stored bacteria that scientists are studying …” (more)

[Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, 21 March]

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Almost 20% of students in health-related courses in UCC suffer extreme stress

Posted in Research on March 20th, 2020 by steve

“Almost one-in-five students across a range of medical third level courses suffer extreme stress according to a new study, with an academic supervisor claiming stress during training can help once they are working in frontline fields …” (more)

[Noel Baker,, 20 March]

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As Coronavirus Spreads, Universities Stall Their Research to Keep Human Subjects Safe

Posted in Research on March 19th, 2020 by steve

“A basic calculation governs research on human beings: How do the benefits stack up against the risks? The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t much alter that calculation for studies that can directly improve the health of seriously ill participants, such as trials of new cancer treatments …” (more)

[Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 March]


QUB coronavirus expert Broadbent steps back from media after online abuse

Posted in Research on March 16th, 2020 by steve

“A leading virologist has pulled back from speaking to the media about the spread of coronavirus after she was targeted by online trolls. Dr Lindsay Broadbent posted on Twitter over the weekend that she is stepping back from commenting publicly on the health crisis in order to preserve her own mental health …” (more)

[Lisa Smyth, Belfast Telegraph, 16 March]

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Irish researchers win backing from €344m pilot fund

Posted in Research on March 15th, 2020 by steve

“Researchers from University College Cork, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, as well as a number of Irish startup companies, were among the successful applicants to a new €344m European pilot innovation fund. The Irish universities were chosen from among what the European Innovation Council (EIC), which runs the fund, described as 100 game-changing ideas from across Europe …” (more)

[Fearghal O’Connor, Independent, 15 March]

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SFI, IRC and HRB statement on COVID-19

Posted in Research on March 14th, 2020 by steve

“The Health Research Board (HRB), Irish Research Council (IRC) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) are fully aware that the current situation regarding the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on the research and innovation community, both in Ireland and internationally …” (more)

[SFI, 13 March]

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Coronavirus: Has Ireland Listened To Its Academics?

Posted in Research on March 14th, 2020 by steve

“In today’s world, everything is contingent on data – and the coronavirus is no exception. What is clear, however, is that the situation that began in Wuhan, China – and that has now spread globally affecting every continent in the world except Antarctica – is bleak. There is no respite from the chaotic conditions, the swirling rumours and the organisational and logistical headaches …” (more)

[Gillian O’Neill, University Times, 14 MArch]