SciTech bulletin


In preparation for REF2014 - Mock REF and Units of Assessment

The mock REF exercise, executed late last year, has been almost completed with most of the external reviewer reports collected. The University and Faculty are very grateful for all staff who participated in the exercise. The mock REF feedback is proving very valuable, highlighting some inevitable weaknesses. In particular the presentation of the Impact Case Studies, which is new to everybody, have been criticised and both the Faculty and are focused on making improvements. To this end, impact case study workshops have been organised for the authors in May.

The mock REF was a dipstick test made two years prior to the REF2014 submission deadline. Quite naturally, staff who might not have been REF-able at the time of the mock REF exercise have two years to improve their position. Certainly, the mock REF exercise does not represent the final decision-making outcome for REF2014 but an indication of the likely trajectory. In addition, some weaknesses in the mock REF exercise are apparent, for example in many cases there was only one external reviewer per department, no doubt with expert knowledge but not in all the relevant areas, who was engaged for a limited time only.

There is no formal link between departments and the REF2014 Units of Assessment (UoAs). This means staff members can, in principle, be submitted to any UoA. Staff may not be submitted to multiple UoAs. The majority of FST staff will be submitted to seven UoAs, one for each department except for LEC with two. At this time, we do not plan a separate submission for the new Chemistry department. Initial estimates suggest 5-10% of academic staff may not fit well into the selected UoAs. Regardless of which UoA staff are submitted to, they will contribute fully to the outcome for their home department. The REF Steering Group will consult departments about which staff to submit to which UoA. Consideration of all factors will be taken into account, namely, the environment, the impact case studies and the outputs.

A general consensus emerging is that the University should maximise its rank position in each UoA as opposed to maximising financial reward. This is a natural consequence of the new student funding model. Therefore the 90% target of staff submitted for RAE2008 no longer applies and significantly fewer staff may be submitted for REF2014. There is no promise that all REF-able staff will be REF-ed, an important distinction. The University's REF Steering Group will ultimately make the final recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor in the best interest of the whole University.

Michael Kosch
Associate Dean for Research


Business Partnerships and Enterprise

Departments and centres have now produced a series of plans for the development of business partnerships across the themes for business partnerships in science and technology. These plans aim to deliver a range of activities across both research and teaching. To help steer the development of activities the theme areas have established targets, including income from contract research and the number of students we place in business and other partner organisations. Two working groups have been formed this term, one considering student placements across the faculty and another considering the co-location of businesses into InfoLab21 and LEC. These groups are bringing forward detailed plans to develop and resource a greater number of student placement opportunities and increase the level of collaboration with co-located companies.

The Centre for Global Eco-innovation has now had over 2100 registrations of interest from prospective graduates wishing to undertake a 3-year graduate project with the centre. The centre is a joint venture with Lancaster, the University of Liverpool and Inventya Ltd. Over 50 companies are now working with the centre to develop collaborative projects with Lancaster academic members of staff based in engineering, computing and communications and the Lancaster Environment Centre.

The spring LEC business newsletter has just been issued this week and the first Energy Lancaster newsletter will be out next month. If you would like to receive a copy of either, then please register on-line. Next week the faculty will host a visit from the university partnership team from IBM. They will meet with colleagues from Computing and Communications, Security Lancaster and Physics.

If you would like help and advice on the development of a business partnership, then please contact a member of the faculty team.


Science and Technology Lecture Series

Sadly, the faculty lecture due to be given by Professor Colin Blakemore today was cancelled due to ill-health.

The next lecture in the series is scheduled for Thursday 7 June and will be delivered by Sir John Armitt, CBE, FREng on the timely subject of 'Engineering the Olympics'. Sir John is the Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body charged with building the venues, facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games and is also Chairman of the EPSRC.


News

Recent stories from Science and Technology:


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Lancaster Engineering Students Have a Hand in Supersonic Car Design

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LEC's Graduate Consultancy Scheme helps Ugandan farmers adapt to climate change

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Lancaster University signs MoU with University of Benin

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On the 29th and 30th of March, LEC hosted a visiting party from Nigeria, which included Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, Director of the National Centre for Energy and Environment (NCEE) of the Energy Commission of Nigeria Under the Presidency, and Prof. Anthony B. Ebeigbe, Director of Exchange and Linkages, University of Benin, Nigeria, who also represented the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. O.G. Oshodin (a key driver of this initiative).

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