Category Archives: Science & Politics

In defence of the bureaucracy of equality, diversity and inclusion

The UK government’s new policy to reduce bureaucracy in research institutions aims at an easy target. But the bonfire of administration lit by the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, risks burning down the foundations of much-needed efforts to value … Continue reading

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Our Beirut Brexit

At 6:18 on the afternoon of Tuesday 4th August a huge store of ammonium nitrate exploded at the port of Beirut. The blast, one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history, killed nearly 200 people, injured thousands more, and … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, International, Science & Politics | 3 Comments

UK R&D Roadmap 2020: big picture poses big questions

The latest in a long line of R&D strategy documents from the UK government reveals some promising evolution in its strategic thinking. But while it touches on a wide range of complex and interacting challenges, the precise direction of travel … Continue reading

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This is not my Brexit day

It is 31st January 2020 and as of 11 pm tonight the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union. We have arrived at Brexit day. But this is not my Brexit. I did not want it. … Continue reading

Posted in Science & Politics | 9 Comments

Time for reflection

I think of Sunday as the last day of the week, not the first. Today, at the end of a hard week on political and personal fronts (though why the political and personal should be seen as separate I am … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Science & Politics, Scientific Life | 1 Comment

The unsustainable goal of university ranking

Ranking organisations are seeking to diversify the measures use to evaluate universities. But without addressing the fundamental flaws in their methods, they will crush rather than embrace the rich complexity of our institutions of higher learning When the Times Higher … Continue reading

Posted in Research Assessment, Science & Politics, Scientific Life | 1 Comment

How to value what cannot be measured?

This post is a transcript of my opening remarks at the a Great Debate held earlier today at the European Geosciences Union 2019 meeting in Vienna. The debate asked us to consider the question: What value should we place on contributions … Continue reading

Posted in Academic publishing, Open Access, Science, Science & Politics | 2 Comments

The March for Science: advocacy masterstroke or PR misfire?

Last night made my way to an upstairs room at The Castle pub near Farringdon to participate in a debate organised by Stempra on the forthcoming March for Science. The panel (Photo by Anastasia Stefanidou) The question before the panel and … Continue reading

Posted in Science & Politics | 2 Comments

Grim resolve at the House of Commons on the scientific priorities for Brexit

On Tuesday morning last week MPs, MEPs, and representatives of various organisations with a stake in post-Brexit UK science gathered in the Churchill Committee room at the House of Commons for the launch of  the “Scientific priorities for Brexit” report, … Continue reading

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President Trump – first response

This morning I was asked for a comment on the implications of the US presidential election for the scientific world. This was my immediate response: Unlike the day after the EU referendum vote, when I was bitterly upset, I just … Continue reading

Posted in Science & Politics | 7 Comments

Higher Education and Research Bill – Letter to my MP

Science is Vital this week launched a campaign to seek amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill 2016. The bill is a rather dry and procedural piece of legislation but hidden amongst its many sections and schedules are real … Continue reading

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ICYMI No. 6: What is the meaning of Brexit?

Today EMBO Reports has published my commentary on the implications for scientific research of Britain’s recent decision to leave the EU. It’s free to read. The piece is trying to be more analytical than the more personal response that I posted at … Continue reading

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