Recently published articles

Chancellor singles out science to drive economic growth – Chemistry World

The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, has outlined eight technology areas in which he wants the UK to lead the world. In his first speech on science and technology issues at the Royal Society in London, the chancellor focused his discussion on future technologies, including regenerative medicine, synthetic biology, energy storage and advanced materials. At the same time, Research Councils UK (RCUK) has published a new plan for capital investment Investing for growth: capital infrastructure for the 21st century.

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EPSRC grant success rates rise – Chemistry World

The UK’s largest physical sciences funding agency has experienced a significant decrease in the number of applications submitted in 2011–12, which has led to the highest grant success rates in the last decade. However, this may not necessarily be good news for the academic community.

Among the research councils, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has made some of the toughest decisions when developing funding policies. In recent years, many of these have met with strong opposition and protests from the academic community, with some of the most controversial being the ‘shaping capability’ strategy, where specific research areas are prioritised, and blocking researchers who repeatedly fail to secure a grant from reapplying. The EPSRC has defended these strategies as a way to ensure the best science is funded within a shrinking budget. When policies are implemented, however, it is not always clear what the impact will be on the academic community. The recent publication of research proposal funding rates from 2011–12 now provides an indication.

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Research council to pick favourites to receive UK chemistry funding – Chemistry World

The UK’s largest physical sciences funding agency has announced a big policy shakeup which will concentrate research money in areas of ‘national importance’. This new direction, which the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) describes as ‘shaping capability’, will squeeze certain chemistry sub-disciplines in favour of others and limit the role of peer review in funding decisions.

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REF looks to help academics who take a career break – Chemistry World

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has released it guidelines detailing how universities will be assessed in the upcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF), which will help to determine how much funding institutes receive. In the Assessment Framework and Guidance on Submission for the 2014 REF, the funding councils have outlined the final criteria and specific data and narratives required for submissions. The new guidance also aims to encourage universities to place more value on researchers who have taken a career break or returned to academia from industry.

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