Last week saw another (and the final) ‘double-header’ of Institute Assessment Panels, the first being that of the Babraham Institute and the second of The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). Both panels were as usual redolent with real experts, with whom it was also a pleasure to enjoy informal discussions. This coming week completes the Institute Assessment Panels with one visiting the Institute for Animal Health. As with all the others, funding decisions will not be taken until Council meets next March, and this blog does not really comment on such visits. However, I was interested to have my first sight at TGAC of one of the new ‘PacBio’ single-molecule genome sequencing machines.

I had the pleasure of attending the latest Schrödinger lecture, a masterful public lecture to a very mixed audience given by Sir Paul Nurse, PRS. I also attended a meeting of the Foundation for Science and Technology on “Stimulating economic growth by increasing the contribution from research, innovation and the Higher Education sector”, where the Panel of speakers were Sir Richard Lambert (audio), Dr Graham Spittle (audio), Catherine Coates (audio), and Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts (audio). The latter told me that he had recently read The Fourth Paradigm, a survey of the move towards what it refers to as data-intensive science; some of his comments implied that it had been a very careful and appreciative read, and not just a skim!

I enjoyed a thoughtful piece on how including sustainability in the UN’s Human Development Index – that one really should be doing – changes the ranking quite considerably, and another on how best to determine the ‘right’ charges for ecosystem services. Of course often the countries of manufacture are not the countries of use, and this applies especially to information and communication technologies.

The RCUK Research Outcomes System (ROS) was launched for all BBSRC Grant holders. A user guide section has been added to Research Outcomes, focusing on the three most common tasks. Each section contains a video tutorial and a step-by-step set of instructions. By watching the video, a user is able to see exactly how to perform a task such as uploading a research output/outcome or to set up a delegated user. I encourage folk to do so.

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