Archive for December, 2009

Green R&D in Ireland – an overview

Posted in research with tags on 31 December 2009 by Steve

“With so much happening in the green-energy research field in our third-level institutions, Ireland is truly staking its claim as the home for green tech. With the race on to progress Ireland’s green-energy portfolio in order to meet our 2020 energy targets and to create a cleaner, smarter economy, an increasing array of researchers in universities and institutes of technology (ITs) around the island are focusing on the renewable energy space to harness Ireland’s wave, wind, solar and bioenergy resources …” (more)

[Carmel Doyle, Silicon Republic, 30 December]


The rights — and wrongs — of polytechnics

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

“Sir, As the former head (1985-97) of what is now Bath Spa University, my recollection of the events that followed the Education Reform Acts of the late 1980s/early 1990s is different from that of Lord Howarth’s (letter, Dec 29). There was strong opposition on the part of many of the vice-chancellors of ‘chartered’ universities to the ‘upgrading’ of the polys …” (more)

[Brian L Gomes Da Costa, Times, 31 December]

Updating the Classics? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Posted in Life with tags , , , on 31 December 2009 by Steve

“About a third of my way through Seth Grahame-Smith’s adaptation of Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice and Zombies – I enthusiastically posted my approval on Facebook. To my surprise, a friend and colleague replied, registering her distaste and disappointment, having just finished the book herself …” (more)

[Christina Morin, Pue’s Occurrences, 31 December]

Maynooth university lecturer gets CBE in new year’s honours list

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

“A lecturer in NUI Maynooth has received a CBE in Queen Elizabeth’s new year’s honours list. Leitrim-born Seamus Taylor, who lectures in social policy in the department of applied social studies in NUIM, was honoured for his work in promoting equality in British society, notably through his work in the Commission for Racial Equality and the Crown Prosecution Service …” (more)

[Carol Coulter, Irish Times, 31 December]

Get used to life on the edge

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

“A sacred cow was quietly slaughtered for Christmas. Buried last week in the very last note of Lord Mandelson’s grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England there it was: a cut to the current unit of resource of £190 per student …” (more)

[Ann Mroz, Times Higher Education, 31 December]

Compatibility with future generations

Posted in Life with tags on 31 December 2009 by Steve

“A little while ago I was asked by a group of students from a neighbouring school for advice on the following: they were putting together the contents for a time capsule that they were intending to bury in their school grounds, to be disinterred in 2100. They wanted to include in it a lot of photographs, some school magazines and some essays …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 31 December]

Bologna not to the taste of Austrians and Germans

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

“Students protest against the ‘marketisation’ of higher education. A wave of student protests across Austria and Germany is voicing opposition to tuition fees and ‘English-American’-style degrees introduced under the Bologna Process, while stirring up debate about the purpose of higher education. The protests began in Austria in October …” (more)

[John Morgan, Times Higher Education, 31 December]

Teacher exodus feared over changes to their pensions

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

“Thousands of teachers could be lost to early retirement next year because of threatened changes to public service pension arrangements, a union has warned …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 31 December]

‘Wow’ students to maintain the library’s central position

Posted in research with tags on 31 December 2009 by Steve

“A senior librarian at Nottingham Trent University has called for radical thinking from her peers to ensure that the ‘ebrarians’ of the future remain as central to university life as the librarians of the past. Sue McKnight, director of libraries and knowledge resources, argues in a forthcoming book, Envisioning Future Academic Library Services: Initiatives, Ideas and Challenges, that campus libraries must ‘wow’ their ‘customers’ with new services and ways of working …” (more)

[Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 31 December]

A good shepherd guides gently

Posted in teaching with tags on 31 December 2009 by Steve

“Postgraduates need good supervisors, but they also need more recognition from universities and the Government. What makes a good supervisor? Do you want a no-holds-barred answer? OK then, just between you and me, here’s my response: the good supervisor is passionate, unflinching, wary of purely instrumental value, mostly individual but partly institutional …” (more)

[Graeme Harper, Times Higher Education, 31 December]

DPP said ban on condoms would not be upheld in court

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

“The Director of Public Prosecutions would not have taken a case against university students for selling condoms because courts would likely have found the contraceptive ban unconstitutional, a letter from the DPP to the attorney general reveals. The first contraceptive vending machine in the State was installed in University College Dublin, Belfield, in January 1979 by the students’ union …” (more)

[Genevieve Carbery, Irish Times, 31 December]

Treasury Holdings Announce Further Support For Irish Colleges

Posted in Life with tags on 30 December 2009 by Steve

“Irish Colleges rugby was given a further boost today with the announcement that Treasury Holdings, the international real estate company and official partner of the Irish Rugby Football Union, has initiated an Irish Colleges Player of the Year Award to recognise outstanding merit and achievement in student rugby …” (more)

[Irish Rugby, 23 December]

Contemplation, Vannevar Bush, and the Products of Directed Research

Posted in research with tags on 30 December 2009 by Steve

“In reading Levy’s No Time To Think and his mention of Vannevar Bush’s involvement in the creation of the atomic bomb, I am reminded of Princeton’s involvement in the Manhattan Project and how this was brought about by the creation of independent targeted research efforts …” (more)

[The Ddeok is Always Greener on the Other Side, 30 December]

Don’t allow ‘climate of fear’ to develop

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

“The National Union of Students has warned against allowing a ‘climate of fear’ to develop on UK campuses amid claims that a Nigerian man suspected of attempting to bomb a US passenger jet was radicalised while studying in the UK. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who allegedly tried to blow up an aeroplane over Detroit on Christmas Day, is a former engineering and business student at University College London …” (more)

[Rebecca Attwood, Times Higher Education, 30 December]

Wave energy’s new pearl: University begins testing Oyster tech off Scottish coast

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

“Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, has launched an official test of the Oyster, wave energy equipment that was developed jointly by the university with Aquamarine Power …” (more)

[Heather Clancy, ZDNet, 30 December]

Degrees with benefits?

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

“According to research by Dr Anthony Hesketh at Lancaster University, graduates ‘pay for themselves 20 months from their start date and by their third year, mid-sized graduate recruitment and training programmes – those which involve the hiring of 170 graduates – generate a £5.30 return for every £1 invested’. But how long does it take for graduates to reap similar rewards? …” (more)

[Phill Lane, An Unweeded Garden, 30 December]

Gimme a Break

Posted in Life with tags on 30 December 2009 by Steve

“Why do college students get such long winter vacations? Most working adults don’t get much official time off during the holidays — the Explainer, for instance, is only released into the wild on Christmas and New Year’s Day. But students get tons of vacation time — some college breaks last as long as six weeks. How’d these kids get so lucky? …” (more)

[Noreen Malone, Slate, 30 December]

Retro particle physics at CERN

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

“Passing through Geneva airport on the way to and from skiing last week made me think of the Large Hadron Collider. The recent news from the CERN has been very good. Quietly and without fuss, the LHC got back into business last month. In the brief period before the Christmas powerdown, a great many particles were detected (‘rediscovered’) whose discovery originally took years of labour. The Collider also broke several new energy records, finally bringing us into a new regime of high energy physics …” (more)

[Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, Antimatter, 30 December]

The benefits of ‘boomerang kids’ are many, Lord Mandelson

Posted in Life with tags on 30 December 2009 by Steve

“Peter Mandelson, pamphleteering under the auspices of the DBIS, thinks parents should be more forceful about getting their children to leave home, and not make things too comfortable for children returning after they graduate. The memo’s been prompted by last month’s startling revelation that lots of graduates + fewer graduate jobs = lots of unemployed graduates. We all feel for the parents benighted by caring for ever larger children but gosh, what a lot of rubbish these government people can talk …” (more)

[Ed Cumming, Daily Telegraph, 30 December]

Ninth Level Ireland

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

“Hey, I’d say not wide enough –
where’s DCU?” (tweet)

[vonprond, Twitter, 30 December]

[Point taken, but if you try to aggregate tweets about “DCU” you end up with a load of DC Comics stuff about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and assorted supervilliains. Too much information.]