Posts Tagged ‘Research funding’

Counting the Costs

18 February 2011

By Christina Morin

It was with a great sense of eagerness and anticipation that I headed off for Cambridge last Monday for a full week of uninterrupted research. My reading list in hand, I arrived at Cambridge University Library bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, nothing daunted by the airline’s loss of my luggage or the taxi-driver’s surly insistence that the long way around was the only way to go at that hour, or even the resulting exorbitant taxi fare. I’ll admit my enthusiasm was slightly dampened by the consternation with which my request for a certain printed catalogue was met. And, my fervour received a further, harsher blow when I was sent away with the words, “leave it to me”. Luckily, said catalogue had been located by the next morning, and I settled to work with a sigh of relief.

Halfway though the first triple-decker Gothic novel I’d requested, all contentment and delight had vanished in the face of rising panic. If it was taking me this long to read one novel, how was I ever going to read all of the titles on my list? What had seemed like an ambitious but viable goal in the rosy glow of enthusiastic academic zeal now appeared horribly naïve in the cold glare projected by the microfiche reader. By Wednesday, I was resigned to my fate: a future research trip, or several, to complete my reading. How exactly to afford those projected research trips, however, began to prey on my mind. Accordingly, when I got back to Ireland, I began to search for possible funding opportunities with which to make these trips. Read more

David Mitchell on the point of research

28 September 2009

By Juliana Adelman

David_mitchellI didn’t catch Mitchell’s column, ‘Pointless studies are the key to evolution’, in the printed Observer this weekend, but it has been doing the rounds in cyberspace.  Mitchell was reacting to the news that the British government will ask funding bodies to evaluate whether research has economic or social value before funding it.  This is to replace the Research Assessment Exercise, with a new ‘Research Excellence Framework’ (Ref, how cute).  I don’t think economic and social value were ever really off the radar in terms of funding research, but this article in the Guardian implies that the initiative is directly intended to discourage research which has no economic outcomes.  I haven’t read much about it so I’m not sure if Mitchell is making a mountain out of a mole hill, but his article is very funny indeed.  There is now a move to nominate Mitchell to a research council, put forward by academic Steve Fuller.  I will follow the story with interest…