Archive for 2 April 2009

State insists on jobs freeze at third level

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , , on 2 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The Government has imposed a recruitment ban across the higher education sector and warned colleges that failure to comply will see them lose their funding. In a related move, both UCC and UCD have been told their deficits totalling over €35 million will no longer be tolerated. UCD has a cumulative deficit of €20 million, while the deficit at UCC is over €15 million. In recent weeks, the Higher Education Authority has told both universities to make the cuts necessary to rein in their deficits. In a letter to college heads yesterday, the HEA also said there ‘should be no filling of vacancies by recruitment, promotion or the payment of an allowance for the performance of duties at a higher level’ …” (more)

[Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 2 April]

It’s time to show some audacity

Posted in research with tags , , , on 2 April 2009 by Steve

UK“As world leaders gather in London’s Docklands this week for the G20 Summit, the US and the UK will stand in stark contrast in their backing of research to kick-start their economies. Barack Obama, who moved swiftly to distance himself from George W. Bush’s Presidency by promising to ‘restore science to its rightful place’, has earmarked $21 billion (£15 billion) for science as part of his economic stimulus package to ensure future prosperity. Here in Britain, Gordon Brown has also pledged his faith in science, but the chances of a similar package for the UK look slim. The message from Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, has been one of caution on further spending because of the scale of the country’s fiscal deficit. And the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, John Beddington, admitted in a speech last week that he was ‘not confident’ of seeing extra funding …” (more)

[Ann Mroz, Times Higher Education, 2 April]

UEL suspends ‘Mr Mayhem’ and cancels alternative G20

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 2 April 2009 by Steve

UK“An alternative G20 summit at the University of East London was cancelled this week after security concerns and the suspension of its principal organiser. Chris Knight, chairman of the Docklands branch of the University and College Union at UEL, was suspended on charges of bringing the institution into disrepute over public comments he made about the likelihood of violence during the anti-capitalist protests in London. Billed in the media as ‘Mr Mayhem’, the professor of anthropology at UEL was the key figure behind the alternative summit, which was due to take place on 1 April, the day before the G20 Summit of world leaders at the nearby ExCel Centre. UEL said its primary responsibility was to maintain a ‘safe and secure campus environment’ …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 2 April]

Commercialising university research

Posted in research with tags , , on 2 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Today I attended a meeting at which I was closely questioned by a businessman along the following lines. What, he wanted to know, had been the benefit to the country of the hundreds of millions invested in university research programmes? How many jobs had been created? How much taxation had been secured for the state? In fact, how much value (if any) was all this research generating? Not particularly waiting for my answers (which I think he felt could only be ‘nothing’ and ‘none’), he said the time had come for the government to stop funding this unaffordable luxury and give the money instead to the IDA (the foreign direct investment agency of the state) so that ‘real jobs’ could be created. I suspect that this is a beguiling argument for some, but it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 1 April]