Archive for August, 2009

USI to Hold Public Meeting on Fees

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 31 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The Union of Students in Ireland will host a public meeting on the reintroduction of third level fees for concerned parents and students in Galway on September 7, 2009. The reintroduction of fees and its potential impact on Irish society and the country’s economy will be discussed at the event by a number of key speakers. These include USI President, Peter Mannion, Vice President of the National Union of Students in Australia, Stefie Hinchy, and President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, Sophia Blair …” (more)

[Irish Press Releases, 31 August]


Draft submission to Innovation Task Force

Posted in research with tags , on 31 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… Excellent education requires excellent teachers. While teaching introductory courses requires didactic skills, teaching at the advanced bachelor’s, master’s and PhD level requires a true understanding of the subject matter. Only researchers who have moved the knowledge frontier can teach at the frontier of knowledge; and only professors like that can give students the skills, self-confidence and inspiration to innovate. Top people are rare and in high demand. Universities abroad offer senior positions with few management and teaching obligations. Ireland can only attract and keep top researchers if it offers similar conditions. This automatically creates a body of curiosity-driven (or fundamental) research …” (more)

[Richard Tol, Irish Economy, 31 August]

Belief and Science Policy

Posted in research with tags , on 31 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… When it comes to science policy i.e. how to use the Government’s money in a sensible manner there are two different schools of thought: one believes that research is a motor for the development of the economy and therefore it is right to invest generously in Science Technology and Innovation (STI), while the other does not believe that there is any cause and effect between economic development and STI, and therefore it is not worth undertaking such investment. The use of the word belief in such a point of decision is deliberate. Unfortunately many prominent voices build their arguments against investment in R&D (or STI) from the subjective start point of ‘they do not believe’ or ‘they are not convinced’ or a simple assertion that there would be no significant impact or return on the investment. Opinions based on such feelings, are frequently informed by an amalgam of anecdotes and very personal experiences …” (more)

[Frank Gannon’s Blog, 27 August]

Science cuts could do serious damage

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 31 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“As the holiday period comes to a close, Nama may dominate many dinner table conversations, but among the research community and science-led industry the McCarthy report continues to generate debate. Similar discussions are under way in the corridors of power at the various government departments tasked to develop and finance the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. The report details €100 million in spending cuts across a range of departments – a 9 per cent reduction in the proposed 2009 State research allocation …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 31 August]

Would you buy a used essay from this man?

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 31 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“In response to my recent post ‘Returning’, one person attempted to submit the following comment: ‘It’s not so simply to bring a great custom essays, especially if you are intent. I recommend you to find buy a custom essay and to be devoid from discredit that your work will be done by essay writers.’ Well obviously this is spam, which is why you don’t see the comment in its intended place, and why I am not giving you the link submitted with it. But what struck me was that if I were trying to flog some plagiarism materials, I’d have a go at advertising this in a reasonably literate and coherent way …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 30 August]

Lecturers concerned about knock-on potential of any change in allowances

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 31 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“One of the main unions representing university lecturers has expressed some concern that any abolition of allowances paid to academic staff in Irish Universities would not apply to those allowances which staff are paid for performing extra duties. IFUT previously drew attention to allowances and rates of pay paid to some academics under the so-called ‘Departures Framework’, which was designed to attract high calibre academics to Irish Universities. IFUT has been critical of the levels of remuneration paid to individuals under the scheme which are outside of the normal salary scales …” (more)

[Roisin Farrelly, Industrial Relations News, 27 August]

Quality mark to be established for language schools

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 30 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Education Minister Batt O’Keefe is to establish a quality mark for language schools and colleges of further education. The initiative, which aims to attract overseas students, requires legislation …” (more)

[, 30 August]

Trinity College plans to convert Temple Bar buildings into new pub denied

Posted in Legal issues with tags on 30 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Trinity College Dublin has been denied planning permission to convert buildings in Temple Bar into a pub and new college units. Dublin City Council refused to give the college the green light to go ahead after it deemed the development would be damaging to the area …” (more)

[Jennifer Bray, Sunday Tribune, 30 August]

Deliver us from duelling dons

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 30 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… In the last week we got a unique glimpse into the world of economics through the Nama wars – or ‘Calculators at Dawn: When Economists Attack’. We learnt for example that economists aren’t very good at going to war with each other. Take Professor Brian Lucey of Trinity College. When he circulated a letter attacking Nama to 250 economics lecturers around the country asking them to sign it, one of the guys he emailed the letter to was Alan Ahearne, Mr Nama. This was the equivalent of Churchill emailing his strategy to Hitler …” (more)

[Independent, 30 August]

Professor admits to ghost-written paper

Posted in research with tags on 30 August 2009 by Steve

Canada“The practice of ghostwriting, where pharmaceuticals companies convince university professors to put their names on articles written by someone else, was brought further into the light after a Canadian professor admitted she wrote only a portion of a published paper, despite being listed as sole author. McGill University psychology professor Barbara Sherwin issued an apology, saying she regretted not disclosing the fact that pharmaceutical giant, Wyeth, had paid a firm to work on an article published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society …” (more)

[Philip Fine, University World News, 30 August]

Media multi-tasking makes it harder to focus

Posted in Life with tags , on 30 August 2009 by Steve

USA“You may think e-mailing, texting, talking on the phone and listening to music all at once is making you more efficient, but new research suggests the opposite is true. The research shows that students who did the most multi-tasking were less able to focus and concentrate – even when they were trying to do only one task at a time …” (more)

[Jennifer Thomas, University World News, 30 August]

Free higher education to end

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 30 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The end is nigh for free higher education in Ireland. Even the timing of its demise is known – September 2010, barring some miraculous political intervention. The only decision that has to be made is the manner of its departure. A few years ago, such a prospect was barely thinkable. The Celtic Tiger was booming. Academics and government officials from overseas were flocking to Ireland to wonder could they replicate its growth rate, its ability to attract foreign direct investment, particularly in pharmaceuticals and ICT …” (more)

[John Walshe, University World News, 30 August]

New medical research priorities for 2010

Posted in research with tags , on 30 August 2009 by Steve


“Health graduate students and researchers at universities and research institutes across the EU have a chance to win funding for potentially lucrative research projects in the field of adverse drug reactions, after the European Medicines Agency, EMEA, announced its 2010 drug safety research priorities. The money will come from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme …” (more)

[Emma Jackson, University World News, 30 August]

Foreigners face stringent tests

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 30 August 2009 by Steve

Australia“In a crackdown on visa fraud, the federal government has imposed stringent tests on foreign students from five large source countries who enrol in Australian onshore education institutions. Those from the target countries will face interviews and have restricted access to visa applications online. The changes, which already apply to students from China, were announced by Immigration Minister Chris Evans and will include students from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Brazil and Zimbabwe …” (more)

[Geoff Maslen, University World News, 30 August]

Fresh look at innovation

Posted in research with tags on 30 August 2009 by Steve

EU“The Swedish Presidency of the European Union has organised a major conference starting this week and titled The Knowledge Triangle: Shaping the future of Europe. Ministers from Sweden, Finland and the UK, together with high-ranking EU Commission officers including two commissioners and 350 university presidents, researchers, students and policy-makers and some high level industry leaders will meet in the university town of Gothenburg. The conference is a follow-up of the ‘Lund declaration’ from the EU Presidency conference in July – New Worlds: New Solutions – which called for ‘grand challenges’ in European research during the coming decade …” (more)

[Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 30 August]

Education funding – Hard choices will define our future

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 29 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… Last week it was confirmed that one UCD academic — Prof Des Fitzgerald, vice-president for research — enjoyed a €400,000 pay deal. Even the cut — €80,000 — faced by Prof Fitzgerald after talks between UCD and the Higher Education Authority is not enough to give the package the authority of reality. Those talks saw the abolition of allowances for 60 UCD staff. Seven vice-presidents and five college principals will each forfeit up to €25,000 in allowances. These figures represent amazing indulgences and it must be assumed that they are replicated in one shape or another across all colleges. This offers considerable potential for savings. The old argument — that colleges must match what the private sector might pay — must now be applied by Government with the vigour it was once advanced by academics and other public employees but in reverse. If they do they will identify considerable savings …” (more)

[Editorial, Irish Examiner, 29 August]

Gender balance in medicine

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 29 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – Brian Mooney (HEALTHplus, August 25th) suggests the ‘establishment’ may be supporting the change in admissions to redress the ‘feminisation’ of medicine. The issue of females in medicine, their career progression and possible obstacles has received considerable attention in other jurisdictions, but perhaps less so in Ireland. This has been the subject of research involving the author, Dr Kate Meghen and Dr Geraldine Boylan in UCC which will shortly be published. We quantitatively document the gender balance in all areas of medicine in Ireland accurate to the end of 2008 and also present qualitative data obtained from interviewing a cohort of female hospital consultants and female clinical academic staff …” (more)

[Siún O’Flynn, Irish Times, 29 August]

CAO second round likely to disappoint many

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 29 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The second round of CAO offers will hold little joy for many hoping for a new offer. The reduction has been mainly caused by the bumper level of take-up of offers from earlier rounds. This year 2,095 students are getting offers in the second round compared with almost 3,000 last year. Some of those who will offers in the post today are being given higher preferences on their CAO forms while others are receiving offers for the first time …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 28 August]

What do you do all summer?

Posted in Life with tags on 29 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… Anyway, in my first proper summer in full-time academic employment, I’ve been having the same experience. A colleague did tell me before that students assumed that, even during the academic year, their lecturers hung upside down (bat-like) in the Law School when not teaching or seeing students. Perhaps. I have certainly heard the ‘enjoying your three months holidays?’ line a little too often, though it is meant well (and there are some teaching occupations where, of course, that is the correct thing to say) …” (more)

[Daithí Mac Síthigh, Lex Ferenda, 28 August]

USI Gives Fees the Red Card

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 28 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The Union of Students in Ireland will target GAA fans at Croke Park in Dublin this weekend as part of its ongoing campaign against the reintroduction of college fees. Thousands of USI flyers will be distributed to supporters at the Meath vs. Kerry and Mayo vs. Down football games on Sunday (August 30), asking them to give college fees ‘the red card’. This action is part of the USI’s ‘Demand a Better Future’ campaign …” (more)

[Irish Press Releases, 28 August]