Friday, April 23, 2010

impact of the election (or vice versa)

I received another email update on the campaign against assessing research by impact yesterday; here is a link to the last post I made on the previous update on that. Rather than quote the whole thing, here is a quick summary: it is optimistic on progress; most concretely, it pointed out that HEFCE are ready to delay the REF another year or two to work through the debate on the topic (story in Times Higher) - that is itself a good achievement even if they don't back down. Both the Conservatives and Lib Dems are skeptical about usage of impact statements for research funding.

By the way, this article by Simon Jenkins contributes the following great quote to the debate:
This dirigisme reached its logical conclusion when Lord Mandelson took universities into his "business, innovation and skills" department, and rendered their planning a matter of political infallibility. Last year, many universities lost the will to live when he demanded a measure of every scholar's "contribution to demonstrable economic and social impacts", with reference to "public policy, cultural impact and improving the quality of life". It was a Leninist parody.

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