SciTech bulletin

Call for Applications: Associate Dean for Undergraduate Teaching

Applications are now invited for the post of Associate Dean for Undergraduate Teaching, to take over from Jane Taylor when her term of office ends. More details are available to download:

Call for applicants:
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Dean's Update: Faculty Forum

Dean of Science and Technology Mary Smyth writes:

At the Faculty Forum last week I gave an update on a range of interesting things happening in the faculty. These included:

In addition to this, Dr Paul Rodaway gave an update on the progress of the Process Review of Administration across departments, faculties and the centre. The Review has identified five projects which are to be taken forward as soon as possible. These are: Undergraduate Admissions, Student administration, Finance support, Marketing support, and International administration. Colleagues in departments may be asked to take part in work on these projects over the next month or two.

Many of these topics have been discussed at Policy and Resources Committee so Heads of Department will have already fed back to departments about them. If you weren't at Faculty Forum and you would like more information, contact your Head of Department.

Undergraduate Update

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Teaching Jane Taylor writes:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all staff involved in undergraduate teaching for all their hard work over the last academic year. As a Faculty we have had outstanding success in the recent league tables because of the commitment, energy and care I know you put into the teaching and administration of your programmes.

We have had an unprecedented increase in applications to our degree schemes for the forthcoming academic year, coupled with an increase in the conversion rates to those programmes, which bodes well for our 2011 intake.

Clearly 2012 will bring its own challenges, but I think we are very well placed to continue to attract and teach well qualified students, who then progress into further study or graduate jobs. Many thanks again.

In preparation for REF2014 research impact and the mock REF

Associate Dean for Research Mike Kosch writes:

Whilst the HEFCE rules are not yet finalised until July of this year, it is fairly certain now that the REF2014 assessment weighting will be 65% on 4 selected research outputs, 20% on research impact and 15% on research environment. Research impact can be either economic or societal, but definitely not academic. Evaluation will be primarily on two criteria, i.e. reach and significance. One research impact case study plus an additional case study for every up to ten FTE staff submitted must be produced, i.e. a minimum of two. Whilst the case impact studies will mostly be narrow examples of a single research impact, there will also be an impact statement of the broad research impact of each unit of assessment (UoA). It is mooted that the broad impact statement will form 20% of the research impact weighting, i.e. overall 4% for the impact statement and 16% for the case impact studies. Each case impact study must be underpinned by a research output of at least 2* quality, which appeared since 1993, and the general research area must have continued into the present. The exact start and end dates for the underpinning output(s) is still open to debate. The onus is on each UoA to produce all the evidence to substantiate its research impact claims. In addition, assuming the underpinning research output is not part of the REF2014 submission itself, the onus is on each UoA to prove that this research output meets the 2* criteria.

The REF Steering Group has initiated the mock REF exercise, in which all research active staff will participate. The paperwork and guidelines have been issued to all departmental research representatives. The purpose of this exercise is to familiarise staff with the process, identify the best UoAs for all staff in the best interests of the University, and identify weaknesses to allow for timely corrective actions. The exercise will be light touch, rely on self-assessment, and not produce a predictive profile. For most staff, completing the paperwork should take less than two hours, i.e. select four research outputs and write up to 150 words illuminating the originality and quality of the work. Staff involved in writing the environment and impact paperwork have more to do. The deadline for completing the mock REF paperwork is 1 October 2011, after which the REF Steering Group will assess the outcome with the help of external members already nominated by each department. The outcome of this exercise should be known by the end of 2011. We expect to use the new PURE software system, when it becomes available, for the actual REF2014.

New Support for Science and Technology Conferences

To support its stated key strategic research targets, the Faculty of Science and Technology will provide support for up to 1,000 per annum to international, high-impact conferences within its research portfolio organised by Lancaster University staff and run at Lancaster. The conference may be bespoke or part of an ongoing series.

More information:

Academic Support for Students

Student Learning Advisor Robert Blake provides academic support for students in the Faculty of Science and Technology, with the aim of helping students achieve their full potential through effective study practices and good scientific writing.

Details of the courses and drop-in sessions on offer are now available online. Find more information at:


Recent stories from Science and Technology:

League table success for Science and Technology

Science and Technology subjects at Lancaster University have scored highly in the Guardian University Guide 2012. The Guide ranks UK universities according to teaching excellence, and is designed to help students choose their courses for 2012. Read more

Major Expansion Underway for Engineering at Lancaster

Lancaster University has announced a significant investment to build on its strengths in Engineering with the creation of twelve 'new blood' full-time appointments. Read more

N8 debate tackles ecosystem valuation with an online audience

The second N8 Debate on Valuing the Environment: Looking beyond the Economics took place on the 26th May 2011 at the Lancaster Environment Centre and was a resounding success. Read more