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University starts from scratch in exile

Times Higher Education - Mon, 12/26/2016 - 01:00

One of Ukraine’s most highly regarded institutions has decamped to a new home 100km away to escape fighting in the war-torn region close to Russian border

Concordat on open research data launched

JISC news - Thu, 07/28/2016 - 10:18
28 July 2016

Four of the UK’s leading research organisations - Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Research Councils UK (RCUK), Universities UK (UUK) and Wellcome Trust - have today launched a concordat that proposes a series of clear and practical principles for working with research data.

The Concordat on Open Research Data has been developed by a UK multi-stakeholder group - Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), RCUK, Newcastle University, UUK, HEFCE, University of Warwick, Research Information Network, Springer Nature, British Library, Wellcome Trust, University of Essex, The Russell Group and Jisc - and is a set of expectations of best practice reflecting the needs of the research community.

This concordat will help to ensure that research data gathered and generated by members of the UK research community is made openly available for use by others wherever possible; in a manner consistent with relevant legal, ethical, disciplinary and regulatory frameworks and norms, and with due regard to the costs involved.

The ten principles include:

  • Importance of developing data skills
  • Importance of ensuring data underlying publications is accessible by publication date
  • Rights of data creators to reasonable first use
  • Expectations of data users to acknowledge use of others’ data

While there are four initial signatories to the concordat, there has been wider consultation with the research community and their feedback and input helped shape the final text. The Concordat on Open Research Data is open for other organisations and groups to sign up to over time. Interested parties can contact alexandra.saxon@rcuk.ac.uk.

David Sweeney, director of research, education and knowledge exchange, HEFCE, said: 

“Open research data has the potential to deliver substantial benefits to research and to wider society. Open data will reveal new research avenues, and deliver innovative new technologies and services that will improve our lives.

Achieving open data is not easy; there are substantial challenges ahead which will require the commitment of everyone involved in research. This concordat is an important step towards securing this commitment. I would now encourage all those involved in research to sign up to the principles and engage with this agenda.”

Prof. Duncan Wingham, chief executive of NERC and RCUK open data champion, said: 

“RCUK welcomes the Open Data Concordat and the focus that the core principles bring to ensuring that the data resulting from the research that we fund is as open as possible.

By ensuring good practice around the open use and reuse of data, where appropriate, we can ensure that research brings optimum benefits to the long term prosperity and wellbeing of the UK and to the world.”

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of UUK, continued: 

“Open research data has the potential to deliver significant benefits for society by enhancing the impact of our world-class research base. Universities UK welcomes this concordat, which sets out the aspirations of the research community while recognising the costs and challenges that must be addressed if we are to realise these benefits.

By supporting the concordat, universities and other research organisations can help ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of science and research.” 

Nicola Perrin, head of policy at Wellcome Trust, added: 

“The Concordat sets out core principles to guide the research community in ensuring that research data can be accessed and used in ways that will accelerate discovery and maximise benefits to society. Importantly, it recognises that not all research data can be shared openly, and that there is a need for all researchers to plan how they will manage and share data as an integral part of planning their research.”  

Open research data is the next step in achieving the UK’s open science ambitions and will help improve cooperation and strengthen the UK’s position as a global science leader. 

Categories: Universities

Jisc boosts Janet network

JISC news - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:03
27 July 2016

Jisc is upgrading its Janet network, to triple capacity across parts of the network over the next three years.  

Today the Janet network serves 18 million users worldwide and provides UK research and education with a reliable, high capacity, world-class network, enabling national and international communication and collaboration.

The upgrade will see the core network capacity across some paths increased from 200Gb to 600Gb, improving potential access to distance learning and web-based educational resources while continuing to provide organisations, students, researchers, academics and staff with an efficient, high-speed network that enables effective collaboration.

The Janet network upgrade has been made possible by funding that Jisc secured from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the funding councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The change will offer organisations greater capacity and more flexibility to ensure that present and future needs are met. It will support new business models like the surge in data intensive research, analytics, media-rich teaching, the growth of satellite campuses and the increase in cross-organisational and industry collaborations.

As the government pushes for more collaboration between universities and for the sharing of big data, the Janet network update will support academics so they can continue to access, store and share their research with peers and partnering organisations. The extended capacity will, for example, allow universities across the world to share petabytes of research data every day. To put this into context, a single petabyte is enough to store the DNA of the entire US population and clone them twice1.

The upgrade will also play a major role in improving the student experience. The Janet network will make video-based teaching, group working and online interactions between students and lecturers more effective and seamless. The added capacity will also support a larger number of technology options, allowing students and staff to log in anywhere at any time and connect their own devices to the network. 

The investment follows continued growth in data traffic across the Janet network. Data traffic has consistently doubled every two and a half years since 2010, with the demand being driven by a considerable rise in the use of cloud-based services. A recent survey conducted by Jisc revealed that 69% of institutions are either planning to adopt cloud resources, or have already done so.

Tim Kidd, executive director of Jisc technologies, said:

"An increasing culture of change and innovation within higher and further education organisations, along with a surge in cross-organisational collaboration and access to open educational resources, have all contributed to the increased data traffic across the Janet network.

“We believe that the upgrade will be instrumental in keeping UK research competitive on a global scale and enable high end collaborations across a wide range of projects which support things like medical research, all of which are making great contributions and advancements for mankind.

“The improvement will mean that researchers can have access to facilities like high performance computing which will speed up data heavy activities and carry out high-quality collaborations in real time.  They will also feel more confident when bidding for grants as they know they have the right infrastructure in place to support projects.”

The Janet network’s capacity is reviewed and upgraded on a regular basis, in line with current trends, policy requirements and technological advancements, to ensure it continues to meet the objectives of connected organisations.

Categories: Universities

United for Education: NUS and UCU announce national demonstration

Nus Org - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 13:29

Students and academics set to rally for free, accessible and quality further and higher education this November.

Categories: NUS news

A look back at Connect more 2016

JISC news - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:02
22 July 2016

In our last podcast for Connect more 2016, we take a look back at all of our events, featuring interviews from our events in London, Belfast, Stirling, Swansea, Liverpool, Nottingham and Cheltenham.

Categories: Universities

Colleges and universities share how they're using Google for Education tools

JISC news - Mon, 07/18/2016 - 15:48
19 July 2016

Google for Education provides go-to solutions for students and teachers - with more than 50 million users of Google Apps for Education and ten million using Google Classroom. Jisc futurist, Martin Hamilton reports from the latest Google for Education Summit. 

We hear from colleges and universities about how they are using Google tools in their own practice, as well as Liz Sproat, head of education EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) at Google, about the latest product and service developments.

Read more about the Google Education Summit in Martin's blog.

Categories: Universities

Catch up with Connect more in Nottingham

JISC news - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 15:51
13 July 2016

For our final Connect more event of the summer we headed to Nottingham. Jisc's Gemma Ellis spoke to a number of practitioners from across higher education, further education and skills who were presenting at the event and sharing their experiences and practice for others to learn from.

Categories: Universities

Law and (dis)order

Nus Org - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 11:28

Over the weekend, I started watching Law & Order – as in the Law & Order that spans across 20 seasons, one television movie and 456 episodes. It's probably rather ambitious on my part to think I'll be able to get through it without getting sick of the same smug faces. But the challenge has been accepted.

Categories: NUS news

What does Brexit mean for students?

Nus Org - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 14:28

News Britain voted to leave the EU was met with disbelief and even tears from many young people. With 75 per cent of voters aged under 24 choosing remain, it’s clear the result does not reflect the attitudes of most students towards the EU. 

Categories: NUS news

University of Bristol joins Jisc’s shared facilities in VIRTUS’ data centre

JISC news - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 10:03
19 July 2016

VIRTUS Data Centres, the UK’s fastest growing data centre provider, today announces the latest member of the first national shared data centre for research and education, offered by UK higher, further education and skills’ digital services and solutions organisation, Jisc.

The University of Bristol joins 16 education and research establishments already benefiting from the shared facility at VIRTUS’ LONDON4

The university will use the data centre to host systems for business, teaching and research, including the next generation of BlueCrystal, their sector-leading high performance computing (HPC) facility. This is part of a ten-year strategy which will see the university shift the balance of their systems from on-site to third-party hosting.

The easy-to-use shared data centre framework agreement provided by VIRTUS and Jisc enables the University of Bristol to take advantage of the state-of-the-art, agile and flexible data centre ecosystem. It opens doors for increased collaboration for research projects and allows the 17 organisations to partner with each other to unlock innovations. 

Other benefits include reducing their carbon footprint and improved efficiency across core IT and on-premise data centre facilities that will also be used for teaching and other operational requirements.

LONDON4 is directly connected to the core of Jisc’s Janet network, the high capacity network for education and research. It means researchers can make use of fast, resilient and secure connectivity between data storage and high performance computing facilities, both nationally and globally.

Nick Skelton, assistant director of IT, University of Bristol, says:

“We are delighted to be joining the shared data centre in partnership with VIRTUS and Jisc. This initiative delivers the capacity and flexibility we require and enhances our ability to engage with new opportunities. Working with experienced and trusted partners gives us the confidence that our critical systems are in safe hands. The quality of VIRTUS’ facility goes beyond anything we could have achieved independently.”

Jeremy Sharp, director of strategic technologies, Jisc says:

“Many universities and research institutions are reviewing their data centre strategies and exploring off-site facilities to create efficiencies, free up valuable estate and increase their opportunities for collaboration; but in doing so they want assurances that their sensitive data will be secure. Our framework agreement with VIRTUS meets these needs, while providing quick, resilient access via a direct connection to Janet – all adding up to the agreement being highly popular with the sector. We welcome the University of Bristol as the newest tenant.”

Kelly Scott, account director, education at VIRTUS Data Centres, added:

“It is fantastic to see this shared services model paving the way to real innovation that advances meaningful research. It is gaining real traction in the public sector and education establishments are leading the way by sharing infrastructure resources to be smart about organisational efficiencies. The more institutions that use the facility, the lower the cost for everyone else already there.”

Categories: Universities

Sainsbury Review promises big shake up for Further Education

Nus Org - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 15:06

Today the government has published its post-16 Skills Planwhich proposes a huge overhaul to 16-19 vocational education. The Skills Plan is a direct response to Lord Sainsbury’s review of technical education.

Categories: NUS news

Highlights from Connect more in Swansea

JISC news - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 13:50
8 July 2016

In this podcast, from Connect more Wales, we spoke to Cliona O'Neill, head of student experience, HEFCW. We also caught up with Alyson Nicholson, head of Jisc Wales, as she explains why we're stronger together.

Categories: Universities

Winning technology startups secure £20,000 and the chance to prosper

JISC news - Tue, 07/05/2016 - 16:57
6 July 2016

The four winners of a competition to support technology startup projects have been announced, each scooping a £20,000 grant to kick off the project and a chance to turn their working beta into a fully functioning product. 

Along with the prize money, the teams will receive support, business mentoring and marketing advice. The winners will be supported to develop robust and quality assured products for universities and colleges.

This is part of Jisc’s Summer of Student Innovation, which called for technology startups that could improve the student experience in further or higher education and skills. This attracted dozens of entrants, whose pitches accumulated 5,710 votes in total on the Elevator website.

Owen White, consultant (Ed Tech Futures) and startup programme lead said:

"The Jisc startup programme is designed to help the winners to turn promising ideas and early stage products into sustainable businesses. That’s easier said than done, but Emerge and EdTechFutures have designed a programme (based on Lean Startup and Innovation Consulting principles) to maximize the chances that this year’s startups can prosper long after the programme ends.”

“Participants from the 2014 and 2015 programmes, like Unitu and Potential.ly, continue to go from strength to strength and we’re confident that we’ll see something similar from this year’s cohort. The four startups we’ve selected for the 2016 programme are all very promising in slightly different ways. I’m really looking forward to working with each one of them. The different ways in which they are proposing to exploit new technologies to positively impact the lives of students and staff in the higher and further education sectors is genuinely exciting.”

Keep an eye out for this year’s winners’ ideas in the future, watch a video playlist of all the winning ideas below or view the list of winners on the Summer of Student Innovation project page.

Categories: Universities

NUS celebrates win for young people’s Careers Information, Advice and Guidance

Nus Org - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 15:00

Over the last two years NUS has been working to ensure that the government invest heavily in Careers Information, Advice and Guidance services.

Categories: NUS news

Catch up with Connect more in Cheltenham

JISC news - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 18:53
1 July 2016

In this podcast, recorded at our Connect more event in Cheltenham, we discuss digital capability with Plymouth University's Steve Wheeler. We also catch up with Jisc's resident futurist Martin Hamilton and head of Jisc south west and midlands Lyn Bender, who talk about their highlights from the day.

Categories: Universities

Report from the British Library: Connect more in London

JISC news - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 16:52
30 June 2016

In this podcast, recorded at our latest Connect more event in London, we talk to Jisc's Sue Attewell about what students really want from their learning experience and get an idea of what makes our series of Connect more events unique. We also talk to Lewisham College's Jo Burbidge about the flipped classroom concept and Dave White from the University of Arts London discusses his idea of 'learning as becoming'.

Categories: Universities

eduroam support clinics: what are they?

JISC news - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00
28 June 2016

Whether you are in the process of deploying eduroam, have an operational service or are considering applying to join eduroam, you can gain a lot from joining one of our free live online eduroam clinics. Alan Buxey, senior IT services specialist at Loughborough University, tells us more.

Categories: Universities

Catch up with Connect more in Northern Ireland

JISC news - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 13:34
24 June 2016

In this podcast, Nao the robot introduces Paul Bailey, our senior co-design manager, as he discusses learning analytics. We also meet other speakers, staff and delegates as they discuss technology in education and their experiences at our Connect more event at Belfast Metropolitan College.

Categories: Universities

We Want In: thank you for getting the student vote out!

Nus Org - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 23:00

As Britain holds its breath in anticipation of today’s EU Referendum results, Megan Dunn praises the incredible efforts of students across the UK in amplifying their voices and shaping debate on a national scale. 

Categories: NUS news

NUS responds to EU Referendum result

Nus Org - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 18:58

The National Union of Students (NUS) is disappointed by the results of yesterday’s referendum, particularly given the high proportion of young voters who are reported to have voted to stay in the EU. National President, Megan Dunn, has written to Downing Street and BIS ministers to ask for a range of assurances over the future of further and higher education in light of the Brexit vote. The letter is posted on the NUS website here.

Categories: NUS news

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