Last week began with one of the regular meetings of our Audit Board, focussing especially on this year’s accounts, and also including the Research Councils’ Pension Scheme accounts for which I am Accounting Officer.
We had a very interesting meeting with Joann Roskoski, Deputy Assistant Director of Biological Sciences at the US National Science Foundation. We already have a number of joint programmes with the NSF, and it was most interesting to see the consonance of our thinking in areas such as sustainability, ‘big data’, open access and the like. In this regard, I read an interesting blog post on the extent to which (non-open-access) scientific journals help or hinder scientific progress, and another that involved blogging a thesis.
I heard a very interesting talk by Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts at Imperial College on the interface between research and higher education, with some interesting comparative statistics to the effect that in the UK a greater fraction of research is done in Universities than elsewhere (no doubt both numerator and denominator contribute to that).
We had one of our monthly meetings of the RCUK Chief Executives and a quarterly one of the Joint Strategy Group, consisting of the same plus senior officials at BIS led by The Director General of Knowledge and Innovation, Sir Adrian Smith.
I was most honoured – this will be tautologous – to receive an Honorary DSc from Cranfield University, where I was ‘presented’ to the Chancellor, Baroness Young of Old Scone, by Professor Joe Lunec of Cranfield Health. My receiving speech concentrated on the role of technology in improving biological understanding and innovation, and (vice versa) the role of biology in technology development.
Papers that I enjoyed included one on the role of glycine in cell proliferation, one on the dangers of sitting (at least in Australia…), an interesting perspective on biodiesel life cycle analysis, and one on the philosophy of applied science. The latter may be useful for a talk I am giving later in the week.
- Jain M, Nilsson R, Sharma S, Madhusudhan N, Kitami T, Souza AL, Kafri R, Kirschner MW, Clish CB, Mootha VK: Metabolite profiling identifies a key role for glycine in rapid cancer cell proliferation. Science 2012; 336:1040-1044
- Kumar S, Singh J, Nanoti SM, Garg MO: A comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of Jatropha biodiesel production in India. Bioresource Technol 2012; 110:723-729
- van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Korda RJ, Banks E, Bauman A: Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222 497 Australian adults. Arch Intern Med 2012; 172:494-500
- Wilholt T, Glimell H: Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility. Science in the Context of Application 2011; 274:351-370