URFs and HeForShe

Not a great day for women in science, as news of this year’s Royal Society University Research Fellowships filters through that only 2 out of 43 appointments were women. Go here for Paul Nurse’s response.

On a more positive note, males can go to http://www.heforshe.org and support Emma Watson’s brave call for men to stand up for gender equality. Go to it.

Team Orielton 2014

Here’s the Orielton field-course staff having an important pre-presentations meeting on the last day of this year’s course. Thanks to Andy, Jack, Irv, (me!), Jeff, Becky, Ginny, Sue, the undergraduates of BL3000 and the wonderful Welsh sunshine for such a great field-course.

Team Orielton 2014

Personal thoughts on Independence

For a different kind of publication, please go here for my personal views on Scottish independence. Needless to say, these are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the rest of the lab or the University.

As an addendum to the piece, I must say that I fully understand those with left-leaning political views who feel that the UK (or England, or even just the south-east) is morally & politically bankrupt, and that the only way to move progressive, more socially-democratic policies up the agenda here in Scotland (or indeed south of any new border) is through independence. Some of the below-the-line comments reflect those thoughts. There may also be the belief that Scotland will have a freer, better-funded science-base than as part of the UK (although “The completion of the powers of the Scottish Parliament will provide the best context for Scottish universities to work with the Scottish government and industry to develop Scotland’s economy for the benefit of all Scottish citizens” feels pretty familiar territory for those of us concerned at how short-term politics is coming to shape research in the UK). However, I remain unconvinced that independence will bring all that is desired. Moreover, the consequences of conflating nationality (and nationalism) with politics, left-leaning or otherwise, deeply concern me.

Finally, I should say that I was approached by Kim Thomas at the Guardian to write this piece, after she approached a (now retired) former colleague, who suggested me. As far as I am aware, neither of them knew what I would write. I was not “commissioned” to write the piece (I don’t think a cheque is in the post, let alone an OBE!!), and given George Monbiot’s pieces in the Guardian, I would be amazed if they have an underlying agenda involving “propaganda” (if they do, they are doing a pretty poor job of it).