Tag: policy

  • Evidence and objectivity

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Several things over the past few weeks have reinforced for me the need for scientists to provide good scientific evidence, the importance of good scientific peer review and the need for objectivity in interpreting and debating the evidence.

    In Nature on 3 July, two high profile papers on stem cell science were withdrawn. The journal concluded that neither the referees nor the journal were at fault in these incidences as they took the data at face value, although it turned out that not all the data was as it seemed (see Nature 10 July, page 140). [...]

  • Women in science

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week I attended an “exploring quotas” workshop in Berlin sponsored by EMBO and The Bosch Foundation. The aim was to explore the options for the use of quotas or other interventions to increase the representation of women at all levels in academia. The invited attendees represented a broad range of groups and the workshop will inform a report which will be published later this year. I learnt a lot and heard about interventions that had worked and some that had not. A particularly shocking fact was that women only got the vote in Switzerland in 1971! [...]

  • Scotland, schools and dialogue

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    I had a very enjoyable visit North of the Border last week. This was primarily to visit The Roslin Institute but I also met with scientists from Scotland’s Rural Collage (SRUC) and the Moredun Research Institute. The Easter Bush campus, home to these institutions and others is clearly an exciting place to be and the quality of the science I saw was excellent – too much to single out examples! The design of the Roslin building was particularly interesting and a good example of how architecture can make a big difference, in a positive way, to the research environment. [...]

  • The importance of panels and committees

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    I was very pleased to welcome our new council members to Swindon two weeks ago as part of the BBSRC induction process. I and the Executive team met with them to discuss our expectations of Council members and to answer any questions that they had – they also had some good suggestions for us in terms how Council itself could work. We are very grateful to people from the BBSRC community who carry out important work for BBSRC – not only as Council members but also as members of panels and Boards and our peer reviewers. I realise that for many people this can seem like a potential distraction from the day job but this is far from the truth. In interacting with others on panels and Boards, for example, you can become much better connected within the community and gain a greater understanding of the broader issues that we face as well as the more detailed specific scientific challenges. So I would urge you to contribute in this way whether it is for BBSRC or one of the other Research Councils. I am certain that had I not sat on Strategy Board and Council as well as many panels and committees, my eligibility for my current role would have been severely curtailed! [...]

  • Value, impact and a misfiring laptop…

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week was extremely busy and varied, starting in Swindon and ending in Manchester. The recurrent themes for the week were value and impact. I attended a meeting of the Foundation for Science and Technology which discussed how best to maximize the value of UK strengths in research, innovation and higher education. There were some interesting perspectives put forward by the speakers including the continued need for cultural change, including an increase in risk taking,  in both academia and industry to realize the UK’s true potential; the fact that British companies have adapted to the changing business environment but not actually changed their modus operandi and really driven innovation; how the impact agenda including schemes from ourselves and other research councils has begun to drive people thinking about the broader outcomes of research not just in economic terms, and good examples of academia-industry interactions such as the National Structural Integrity Research Centre were mentioned. [...]