SciTech bulletin

Professor Georgina Mace

Faculty lecture: Insights from biodiversity science for addressing global sustainability challenges

The first Science and Technology lecture of 2011-2012 will be delivered by Professor Georgina Mace CBE, FRS on Wednesday 2nd November.

Professor Mace is Director of the NERC Centre for Population Biology at Imperial College London. Her lecture will look at how the substantial advances made in our understanding of biodiversity over the past 50 years can help inform the broader sustainability agenda.

More information
Add to your calendar

In preparation for REF2014 - HEFCE guidelines, the mock REF and PURE

Updates from Associate Dean for Research Mike Kosch:

HEFCE Guidelines

HEFCE have published the Assessment framework and guidance on submissions (Document REF 02.2011) in July 2011. The document gives the criteria and definitions that will apply to REF2014. The deadline for REF submissions will be 29 November 2013, although slightly different deadlines will apply to various categories, such as eligible staff (31/10/2013), PhD completions (31/7/2013), and publication dates for research outputs and outputs underpinning impact case studies (31/12/2013). HEFCE will publish the panels' criteria and working methods in January 2012. However, a draft of these documents is available. The generic statement and Main Panel B documents are the most relevant to FST. For those wishing to provide feedback, there is the opportunity to do so by 5 October 2011.

The Mock REF

Planning for the mock REF is at an advanced stage. Each department will submit documentation by 1 October 2011. The paperwork for each Unit of Assessment (UoA) will be scrutinised twice, first by a panel consisting of the pro-VC Research (Prof. McMillan), myself as chair, one other person from the REF Steering Group, and an internal nominated person from within the Faculty, and then again by the same panel but including the external assessor from another University who was nominated by your Department. The purpose of this exercise is to raise awareness, identify the best UoAs for all staff in the best interests of the University, as well as identify weaknesses and areas of concern to allow for timely corrective actions. The exercise will be light touch, rely on staff self-assessment, and not produce a predictive profile. We expect the process to be completed by the end of the year.

PURE Research Information System

The PURE Research Information System will be the University's new official research web portal, starting October 2011. Other outlets, such as Eprints, will no longer be available. PURE will be used to support our REF2014 submission, hence, it is very important it is accurate and up to date. To check your web profile, go to the research portal and navigate to your profile using search or the A-Z links. If you find errors in your profile please log into PURE and follow the instructions in the academic briefing sheet. If you need help, please contact

FST Business Engagement Strategy

Last December a faculty working group proposed to PRC the development of a new integrated faculty-wide strategy for business engagement.

Over the summer, Mark Bacon took up the role of Faculty Director, the university allocated 3.32 million to FST from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and the activities and staff within InfoLab21's Knowledge Business Centre (KBC) moved from Research & Enterprise Services into FST.

All departments made a contribution to the FST delivery plan for HEIF earlier this year and this plan now forms a basis to the faculty strategy for business engagement. The plan places significant emphasis on ensuring business engagement is rooted firmly within our research and teaching missions and seven interdisciplinary themes provide a focus for business engagement: Energy, Security, Advanced Manufacturing, Environment, ICT, Health and Quantum Technologies.

HEIF monies have been allocated to departments to fund a number of business-facing roles in these theme areas and a 'cross-theme' team to provide support for administration, marketing, digital communications and the placement of students.

A strategy document will be presented to colleagues in October and be followed by a period of planning in departments and theme areas. This planning aims to turn the strategy into a set of specific priorities and planned activities for each area and will encourage academic and business-facing staff to consider how more effective engagement with business and other external partners can be used to deliver our mainstream priorities for research and teaching over the next 4 years.

If anyone would like to know more about the development of this new strategy for business partnerships and enterprise, feel free to contact one of the theme leads or Mark Bacon.

Faculty representative on the Senate: call for nominations

The Faculty of Science and Technology invites nominations to the position of Faculty Representative on the Senate for the academic years 2011/12-2013/14.


To represent the wider interests of members of the faculty on Senate and to consult with colleagues, as appropriate, on issues listed for discussion.

To attend all of the meetings of Senate and to help disseminate the results of discussions that might be of interest to the wider membership of the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Nominations Procedure:

  1. Two (or more) written nominations per candidate to be forwarded to Lucy Thorne. At least one of the nominations must be from outside candidates' home departments.
  2. Nominations to be received by Friday 21 October
  3. If required, a contested election will be organised by the Faculty

Scientific Writing Courses for International Students

FST's Student Learning Advisor Robert Blake has two courses starting soon for international students who want to improve their scientific writing skills. Writing for Technology and Writing for Science, Health and Medicine both start in week two, and are available in Michaelmas term only. Find out more about FST's academic support for students.

Science and Technology Graduate School

Details of Research Development Programme courses for 2011-2012 are now online. Check out the RDP pages for more details of what's on offer.

Famelab 2011

Regional heats of FameLab UK, the UK's biggest competition for new talent to engage the public in science, will start in October, calling at Manchester on Saturday 3 December. If you're interested in taking part, information is available online.


There have been a number of news items that feature activity in FST since the last bulletin issue. These include:

Record number attend Physics Masterclass

Record number attend Physics Masterclass

Lancaster Girls' Grammar School pupils Zoe Harding and Jess Goodfellow, both 16, were among a record total of 230 students to attend Lancaster University's annual Masterclass in Particle Physics.

Read more

Tropical biodiversity study finds no substitute for primary forests

Tropical biodiversity study finds no substitute for primary forests

Undisturbed primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity, according to a study published in Nature.

Read more

Aeroflex endows €1m wireless broadband laboratory in InfoLab21

Aeroflex endows €1m wireless broadband laboratory in InfoLab21

Aeroflex Limited and Lancaster University announced today the inauguration of the Aeroflex Wireless Broadband Laboratory in the University's School of Computing and Communications at InfoLab21.

Read more

Universities and Science Minister to Launch Research Collaboration

Universities and Science Minister to Launch Research Collaboration

The Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has officially launched a new phase in an innovative partnership between the North of England's eight research intensive universities.

Read more

Three year cycling and walking study finds image is an obstacle

Our desire to fit in could be hampering Britain's chances of shifting to more sustainable forms of travel.

Read more

Unique InfoLab21 Project ISIS transforms over 100 businesses

Unique InfoLab21 Project ISIS transforms over 100 businesses

A North West company has boosted turnover by 42% and almost doubled the number of staff thanks to an InfoLab21 project which is the only one of its kind in the UK.

Read more