Archive for August 7th, 2013

I spent June and a good part of July developing an exciting Synthetic Biology programme at the interface of biology and physical sciences. The remainder of my time was spent with my research group, editing colleagues’ grants and doing a bit of departmental fire fighting. Then I went on “holiday”. There was one large fly in the ointment: REF. I had an edit overdue and a meeting on papers to attend. So the first part of the hols was spent writing in my mobile office and an evening on Skype with my colleagues in Liverpool.

In late April, I posted “In Defence of REF” to highlight the positives of the UK’s assessment of research, though I did temper this with the statement that I am a modest fan only. Why is my enthusiasm not wholehearted? Because, while REF has pushed university hiring away from old boy networks towards a meritocracy, it causes a lot of damage. (more…)


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