Universities and Science Minister Outlines New Commitments to Science Funding

gov.uk_logotype_crown-e29852f97b3a3fc0abfd44de1418e260In positive news for UK science research, the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, yesterday announced increased funding for science research and outreach. Delivering the annual `Campaign for Science and Engineering’ (CaSE) lecture (27 January), Jo Johnson’s speech highlighted the strength of the UK’s research partnerships with Europe and the rest of the world: about half of all UK research publications now involve international collaborations.

In summary:

  • Doubling the Newton Fund for international research from its current £75 million per year to £150 million per year by 2021, meaning a total investment of £735 million from 2014 to 2021. The fund will enable UK scientists to partner with academics and researchers in developing countries and emerging markets to support their economic development and the UK’s research base. Established in 2014, 181 programmes have been supported through the Newton Fund.  Projects are co-funded by the partner country, helping to unlock further investment
  • A new government partnership with the Wellcome Trust to deliver the £30 million Inspiring Science Capital Fund. The Fund will enable Science Centres and to grow their STEM outreach activities through the creation of new exhibitions, as well as science laboratory and education spaces to better accommodate schools and visiting groups. Applicants will need to demonstrate how the funding would engage underserved and underrepresented audiences.
  • Jo Johnson’s speech also highlighted the strength of the UK’s research partnerships with Europe. The UK received €7 billion under the last Framework Programme (2007 to 2013), making the UK one of the largest beneficiaries of EU research funding. In the current funding round, Horizon 2020, the UK has secured 15.4% of funds, behind only Germany on 16.5%, and with the second largest number of participating organisations.

Further information can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/news/johnson-sets-out-measures-to-make-uk-best-place-in-world-to-do-science

Understanding Unconscious Bias: Animation, Briefing & Lectures

unconscious biasUnconscious bias is a hot topic across academia at the moment, and rightly so. It can have an impact on everything from how you select and manage your team through to how you peer review research applications.

The Royal Society has created an animation and briefing on this topic and, although it is aimed at their selection and appointment panel members, the value of the message conveyed has a much wider reach and is relevant to anybody involved in management and decision making.

If unconscious bias is something you’re interested in learning more about, you may also be interested to know that Oxford is holding a two part lecture series on the topic as part of the Leverhulme Lectures Series. More information and booking for these events can be found here.

Oxford Geek Night – 27 January

Oxford Geek Nights is coming to the Jericho Tavern, Wednesday 27 January at 7:30pm.

  • Dr. Sue Black OBE will be talking about her new book Saving Bletchley Park and signing books afterwards.
  • James Williams will be giving his talk on Distraction by Design – “What if technology could distract us less, and respect our time & attention more? What would that world look like – and how could it be built?”

The 5-minute microslot talks are so-far filled by:

  • Martin Poulter – Wikipedia and it’s battles with correct information
  • Dario Salvi – Internet of things

There will be free drinks from sponsors HaybrookIT and if you’ve never been before Oxford Geek Nights are a great way to mingle with industry professionals in the area.


Google Hash Code 2016 – team based programming competition

Could you come up with a way to optimise Internet coverage for Project Loon balloons, or route Google Street View cars through Paris?

Organised by Google, Hash Code  gives you an opportunity to step into the shoes of a Google engineer and tackle these types of challenges in a team-based programming competition for students and professionals. You pick your team and programming language, Google pick a real-life engineering problem to solve.

The competition is divided into two stages:

  • an Online Qualification Round on 11th February at 18:30 CET
    For this round, your team can participate from wherever you’d like, including one of our Hash Code hubs. Hubs allow for teams in the same location (e.g. city or university) to compete side-by-side in a more fun and exciting environment. The Oxford Hackspace is a hub.
  • a Final Round on 19th March
    Top scoring teams from the Online Qualification Round will be invited to Google Paris to compete in the Final Round of the competition.

For more information and to sign up  g.co/hashcode!

Open Access Training at Oxford – Hilary Term 2016

Open Access Training Hilary Term 2016

iSkills ’Open Access Oxford – what’s happening?’ This 1 hour session covers the basics about OA, how to handle funder requirements such as RCUK and Wellcome Trust (and block grants), and the all-important ‘Act on Acceptance’ for open access and the next REF. Book here: http://courses.it.ox.ac.uk/detail/TZW7.

When: Thurs 21 January, 11.00-12.00; Thurs 18 Feb, 14.00-15.00; Tue 1 March, 11.00-12.00.

Where: Radcliffe Science Library, Parks Road.

Drop-in surgeries

ORA and ORA Data staff are again holding weekly drop-ins to provide one-to-one help with all things Open Access and Research Data.

When: 11.30-13.30 every Monday of term (18 Jan – 29 Feb 2016).

Where: the Centre for Digital Scholarship, on the first floor of the Weston Library.