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NUS in 2014: In pictures

Nus Org - Mon, 12/22/2014 - 10:00

This gallery looks back at the highlights of NUS and the student movement in 2014.

Categories: NUS news

Wiley and Jisc announce new open access agreement

JISC news - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 09:31
19 December 2014

Publishers John Wiley and Sons, Inc. and Jisc today announce a pilot agreement for articles published on an open access basis.

The agreement follows discussions between Jisc, Wiley and the UK library community, and will enable greater support for universities during the transition to open access.

Running from January 2015 to December 2017, the agreement provides credits for article processing charges (APCs) to universities that license Wiley journal content under the terms of the Jisc journal agreement. This means that universities that pay both subscription charges for publications and fees to make articles open access will receive APC credits based on the total prior year spend.

The APC credits will be available when publishing in Wiley’s Open Access journal publishing program.

Customers need to have a Wiley Open Access Account set up to be eligible to receive their APC credits. Wiley Open Access Accounts provide discounts on APCs and the account dashboard reduces the administrative burden on both authors and institutions.

Lorraine Estelle, executive director digital resources at Jisc and divisional CEO Jisc Collections says:

“Jisc Collections is working with all journal publishers of hybrid journals on the total cost of ownership of scholarly communications. We are delighted to have agreed this ground breaking pilot offset scheme. We expect this to moderate costs for UK universities and to help reduce some of the barriers to open access implementation.”

The agreement re-affirms Jisc and Wiley’s commitment to exploring new models of open access alongside our library and research partners.

Categories: Universities

New trustees to join Jisc’s board

JISC news - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:17
18 December 2014

Jisc is pleased to announce two new representatives on our board of trustees, who will help determine our strategic direction and priorities to reflect the present and future needs of UK education and research.

Vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, Professor Mark E. Smith, and Dr Ken Thomson, the principal of Forth Valley College in Scotland, are to join our board of senior leaders and managers from across UK further and higher education. 

Professor Martin Hall, chair of Jisc’s board of trustees, says,

“I am delighted to welcome Mark and Ken to the board as both of them have an enormous amount of experience in education and their expertise will be very welcome.  New perspectives like theirs help us to ensure that Jisc is guided by the communities we serve and that we consistently deliver against their priorities.”

Creative Commons attribution information Mark Smith©Mark SmithAll rights reserved

Professor Mark Smith studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge, before completing a PhD in physics at the University of Warwick. After time developing his research in Germany and Australia, he returned to the UK first at the University of Kent and then re-joined Warwick as reader in 1998.

He held roles within the physics department before being appointed chair of the faculty of science in 2005, pro-vice chancellor for research in 2007, and subsequently deputy vice-chancellor.

In his current role as vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, his responsibilities include chairing the main resourcing committee of the university.

He says,

“Jisc plays a very important role in its support of higher and further education providing world class infrastructure and other services. It is also one of the real success stories of a shared service. As Jisc in its new form continues to develop there are many interesting challenges which I hope to contribute to as a board member.”

Creative Commons attribution information Ken Thomson©Ken ThomsonAll rights reserved

With 21 years’ experience in the further education sector Dr Ken Thomson took up his role as principal of Forth Valley College in August 2013. He has a degree in zoology from Nottingham University and a PhD in veterinary entomology from Edinburgh University.

As a senior lecturer in life sciences he led a four college consortium in developing a £1.5m technical training project for biotechnology.

He became head of science (2001), then director of learning services (2003) before becoming associate principal (2005) at Forth Valley College and deputy principal from 2007 with strategic responsibility for the college’s future curriculum, school/college partnership, quality assurance and learning innovation.

Ken is a member of the Colleges Scotland Principals Group, a member of the Colleges Scotland Learning, Skills and Quality Committee and is a former board member of Learning & Teaching Scotland. Ken is a fellow of the Institute of Directors

In November 2014, Forth Valley College were awarded the prestigious Association of Colleges Beacon Award for Innovation in FE as a result of their whole college approach to an exciting vision to ‘Making Learning Work’.

He says,

“I am really looking forward to working with the board of Jisc.  Jisc has a reputation for innovation, for being at the forefront of learning technologies and I am particularly keen to promote the obvious opportunities and added value for the end users, our teaching staff, students and customers”.

The new trustees take up their roles in December 2014.Read more about the role of the Jisc board.

Categories: Universities

Much to toast in the research record of our universities

Universities Scotland news - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 09:45
It's a big day for thousands of Scotland's academics. It's also a big day for Scotland.For the first time since 2008, all the best academic research in the UK has been independently evaluated. Scotland has performed outstandingly well with over three-quarters of all research submitted judged as being world-leading or internationally excellent. This is a huge achievement. I'm sure academics, and entire universities, are now breathing a collective sigh of relief. Christmas has come early and the results certainly bring an extra bit of sparkle to the festive season.Read Alastair Sim's analysis of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 in full here.(Originally appeared in The Herald on 18 December 2014 as 'Much to toast in the research record of our universities') It's a big day for thousands of Scotland's academics. It's also a big day for Scotland.For the first time since 2008, all the best academic research in the UK has been independently evaluated. Scotland has performed outstandingly well with over three-quarters of all research submitted judged as being world-leading or internationally excellent. This is a huge achievement. I'm sure academics, and entire universities, are now breathing a collective sigh of relief. Christmas has come early and the results certainly bring an extra bit of sparkle to the festive season.It is hard to over-estimate how important Research Excellence Framework is to academics. It's an important marker of individual and team success. It can mark people out as rising stars. It offers a strong external validation of the value and importance of work that often takes place outside the public eye. It's the reason that universities competitively poach staff from across the world ahead of submission deadline like football teams during the transfer window. The results have a massive bearing on the levels of research funding universities will receive, with no funding given for anything less than "internationally excellent" research so it is fundamental to the performance of the whole institution for the next few years. This year's results show that Scotland still excels in competition with the very best institutions at the cutting edge of research. That's the basis on which universities lever over £1.3 billion of export earnings into Scotland each year, from external parties buying our excellent research and from international students who choose to come here because of our excellenceFor the first time, the assessment of research excellence has gone beyond a measure of quality to also measure the impact that universities' research has beyond the university. Again, Scotland excels, with 86% of research having outstanding or very considerable impact.But what does this mean?Some of it is what you might expect - big science making a big difference. For instance, the University of Strathclyde's research is fundamental to the implementation of ‘smart grids' for more efficient energy distribution. Some of it is about the technologies that shape our lives online. For instance, the University of Edinburgh's work to develop technologies based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) to enable the on-line experiences like ebay and BBC online that are so much part of the fabric of our daily lives.Some of our impact is, perhaps, less like what you'd expect. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has transformed audiences' experience of plays like Black Watch through innovative understanding of the human voice and its projection. And Scotland's Rural College has developed innovations in animal welfare that can transform the welfare of the estimated 58 billion broiler chickens transported annually. Even the goose on the table this Christmas may have benefitted from the impact of Scotland's university research.Some of the research recognised through the Research Excellence Framework is utterly fundamental to our understanding of the universe, whether at the level of cosmology or at the level of understanding quantum particles. The impact of this may be less obvious, but it's an essential part of our fundamental human curiosity to understand the universe and our place in it. So as the festive season approaches, let's pour ourselves a glass of ‘Thor' whisky (developed by the University of the Highlands and Islands with the Edrington Group), enjoy an IQ Chocolate (developed with Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University) and toast our nation's success. Alastair Sim, Director of Universities ScotlandThis analysis originally appeared in The Herald on 18 December 2014 as 'Much to toast in the research record of our universities'.
Categories: Universities

Right to recall MPs

Nus Org - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 09:44

We want proper provisions for elected representatives to be kicked out of office when voters believe they have broken their promises. Today, join us on social media and share your views #GenerationVote.

Categories: NUS news

UK research assessment finds Scotland’s higher education sector is “world-class” and delivering outstanding impact

Universities Scotland news - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:30
Today (Thursday 18 December) sees the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results for all 154 higher education institutions across the UK. Key findings for Scotland:Every one of Scotland's 18* higher education institutions undertakes research judged to be of "world-leading" quality. The higher education sector in Scotland submitted research to all 36 units of assessment (broad subject groupings) and was judged to undertake research of "world leading" quality in all 36 units of assessment.Overall, 77 per cent of Scottish research submitted to the REF2014 was judged to be "world-leading" or internationally excellent (4* and 3* combined) on the overall profile. This puts Scotland just ahead of the UK average of 76.1 per cent.Scotland's performance in REF 2014 exceeds that achieved in the last UK-wide research assessment exercise conducted in 2008. Scotland's overall profile figure for 4* and 3* research in 2008 was 52 per cent.Scotland performs more highly than the UK average when assessed on the impact of its research; a new measures for REF 2014. 85.8 per cent of Scottish research was judged to be at 4* and 3* - levels which means the research has had "outstanding" or "very considerable" impact (compared to the UK average of 83.9 per cent). Demonstrating its strengths across all disciplines, the Scottish sector has above the UK average proportion of 'world-leading' research in fields such as: chemistry, biological sciences, physics, history, art and design, agriculture, veterinary and food science music, drama, dance and the performing arts. Scotland was found to have the highest rating of 4* and 3* combined in the UK for the research environment measure. The assessment of environment includes the wider research team including researchers and post-doctoral students as well as facilities and infrastructure.Commenting on the results Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of the University of Dundee, said:"Scotland's higher education institutions have performed outstandingly well in the Research Excellence Framework. Every one of Scotland's higher education institutions undertakes research of world-leading quality with more than three-quarters of all of the research submitted by Scottish institutions judged to be world-leading and internationally excellent. "I am also delighted to see such a strong performance across the full breadth of subjects with Scotland demonstrating world-leading research in every unit of assessment. This is testament to Scotland's highly diverse higher education sector."The new measure of the impact of university research will be of particular interest to politicians and the public as this has assessed what wider economic, social or cultural contribution university research has. I couldn't be any prouder that Scotland universities have been shown to excel in the impact of their research with over 85 per cent being found to have had either outstanding or very considerable impact, a performance which is significantly better than the average across the UK." Today (Thursday 18 December) sees the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results for all 154 higher education institutions across the UK.Key findings for Scotland:Every one of Scotland's 18* higher education institutions undertakes research judged to be of "world-leading" quality. The higher education sector in Scotland submitted research to all 36 units of assessment (broad subject groupings) and was judged to undertake research of "world leading" quality in all 36 units of assessment.Overall, 77 per cent of Scottish research submitted to the REF2014 was judged to be "world-leading" or internationally excellent (4* and 3* combined) on the overall profile. This puts Scotland just ahead of the UK average of 76.1 per cent.Scotland's performance in REF 2014 exceeds that achieved in the last UK-wide research assessment exercise conducted in 2008. Scotland's overall profile figure for 4* and 3* research in 2008 was 52 per cent.Scotland performs more highly than the UK average when assessed on the impact of its research; a new measures for REF 2014. 85.8 per cent of Scottish research was judged to be at 4* and 3* - levels which means the research has had "outstanding" or "very considerable" impact (compared to the UK average of 83.9 per cent). Demonstrating its strengths across all disciplines, the Scottish sector has above the UK average proportion of 'world-leading' research in fields such as: chemistry, biological sciences, physics, history, art and design, agriculture, veterinary and food science music, drama, dance and the performing arts. Scotland was found to have the highest rating of 4* and 3* combined in the UK for the research environment measure. The assessment of environment includes the wider research team including researchers and post-doctoral students as well as facilities and infrastructure.The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an assessment of the quality and impact of the research that UK universities undertake. The REF itself is a huge undertaking and is carried out roughly every six-to-seven years. The last assessment was published in December 2008.The REF results provide important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of every one of the UK's higher education institutions. It also provides accountability for public investment in research and demonstrates the benefits of that investment.Commenting on the results Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of the University of Dundee, said:"Scotland's higher education institutions have performed outstandingly well in the Research Excellence Framework. Every one of Scotland's higher education institutions undertakes research of world-leading quality with more than three-quarters of all of the research submitted by Scottish institutions judged to be world-leading and internationally excellent. "I am also delighted to see such a strong performance across the full breadth of subjects with Scotland demonstrating world-leading research in every unit of assessment. This is testament to Scotland's highly diverse higher education sector."The new measure of the impact of university research will be of particular interest to politicians and the public as this has assessed what wider economic, social or cultural contribution university research has. I couldn't be any prouder that Scotland universities have been shown to excel in the impact of their research with over 85 per cent being found to have had either outstanding or very considerable impact, a performance which is significantly better than the average across the UK."The overall profile produced through the REF is based on an assessment of three different factors which all contribute a different weighting to the final result: an assessment of the quality of research outputs is the largest component of the score, accounting for 65 per centthe new impact measure counts for 20 per cent of the scorean assessment of the environment in which research is carried out accounting for the remaining 15 per cent (see notes).ImpactThe impact measure is new to REF2014. It makes an assessment of the impact it has outside of the university on the economy, society, culture, on health or public policy or the environment. Over 45 per cent of Scotland's research submitted to the REF 2014 was found to be 4*, of "outstanding impact", with a total of 85.8 per cent judged to be "outstanding" or "very considerable" impact (4* + 3*). This performance exceeds the UK average of 83.9 per cent. A total of 6,350 research active staff in Scotland were submitted to the REF2014 with a total of 22,891 outputs between them. Both figures represent a 12 per cent share of all staff and all outputs made across the UK. NOTESSubmissions to the REF2014 are graded on a five point scale, ascending from "U" for unclassified to 4*. The definitions for each point on the scale are as follows:4* - Quality that is world-leading3* - Quality that is internationally excellent2* - Quality that is recognised internationally1* - Quality that is recognised nationallyU - Quality below the standard of nationally recognised or work that is not eligible for the REFOnly work judged to be 3* and 4*, that is internationally excellent and world-leading, is currently funded by the Scottish Funding Council.All of the case studies submitted by higher education institutions to be assessed for impact will be published in January 2015. REF expects there to be a fully searchable database of impact case studies available from the spring of 2015.Scotland has 19 higher education institutions including the Open University in Scotland. The Open University in Scotland receives its research funding through HEFCE and is therefore not listed separately in the REF results for Scottish HEIs.Universities Scotland would like to thank Michael Rayner, Dean of Research at the University of the Highlands and Islands and Chair of the REF Managers Group Scotland for his help in preparing for REF 2014. 
Categories: Universities

Jisc and Infinity SDC win Datacentre Dynamics EMEA Awards

JISC news - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:07
17 December 2014

The UK’s national research and education network Janet, provided by Jisc, and Infinity SDC have walked away with two prestigious awards from this year’s Datacentre Dynamics EMEA Awards 2014.

Tim Kidd, executive director Jisc technologies, said:

“Jisc is very pleased to have worked with Infinity to create the Jisc data centre – the first shared data centre for medical and academic research in the UK. With its very high capacity connectivity to the core of Janet, this datacentre will support academic research and enterprise requirements through a world-class facility.”

The first award, data centre blueprints, celebrates the innovative thinking behind the datacentre: the design, project management and construction. The innovation award rewards the Jisc data centre for showcasing best practice and leadership in the data centre sector.

The judges were highly impressed with the design of the Jisc data centre which incorporates multiple resilience levels and power densities and supports a diversity of applications from enterprise to high performance computing.

Stuart Sutton, CEO at Infinity SDC, said:

“This is an incredibly important achievement for us. The technology used will further the UK’s position as a global leader in academic and medical research and the work we carry out in these sectors can be life changing, and we are proud to be a part of that.”

The Datacentre Dynamics Awards are the leading awards for the data centre industry recognising innovation, leadership and ‘out of the box’ thinking. With 15 established award categories, the awards celebrate data centre projects of all sizes, across all sectors.

Paul Mangles, global awards manager for the Datacentre Dynamics Awards, said:

“Succeeding in this industry is no mean feat and it’s important to recognise the businesses that are tackling the issues brought on by technology’s rapid evolution. These awards are designed to do just that."

Categories: Universities

Disabled HERstory Month: Jhamak Ghimire

Nus Org - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 22:06

As part of Disabled History Month, we are celebrating the achievements of disabled women to ensure that herstory is heard too.

Born in July 1980, Jhamak Ghimire, is a disabled Nepali writer.

Categories: NUS news

Disabled HERstory Month: Helen Keller

Nus Org - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 21:46

As part of Disabled History Month, we are celebrating the achievements of disabled women to ensure that herstory is heard too.

Helen Keller, born 1880, was the first deaf and blind person to achieve a Bachellor of Arts degree in America. 

Categories: NUS news

Sign the petition to end violence against women

Nus Org - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 16:37

NUS Women's Officer Susuana Antubam has started an online petition as part of the 'Reclaim Your Campus' campaign to raise awareness of violence against women.

Categories: NUS news

Unravelling the true cost of publishing in open access

JISC news - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 09:41
16 December 2014

Journal publishing models are changing rapidly, especially here in the UK. In this podcast we look at the pressing need for institutions to track the true cost of article processing charges (APCs) so they can manage their transition to open access from a position of authority and monitor their costs effectively. Read the accompanying blog post by Lorraine Estelle

Categories: Universities

Students and mental health

Nus Org - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:00

We want to make concerns about mental health a higher priority and to improve standards of support. Today, join us on social media and share your views #GenerationVote.

Categories: NUS news

Disabled HERstory Month: Ever Lee Hairston

Nus Org - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:07

As part of Disabled History Month, we are celebrating the achievements of disabled women to ensure that herstory is heard too.

Ever Lee Hairston has described herself as 'Black, Blind, Successful, and Blessed'...

Categories: NUS news

Jisc releases report on ethical and legal challenges of learning analytics

JISC news - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 14:09
9 December 2014

Last week, we released a report on the ethical and legal challenges of learning analytics. Find out more in this podcast from report author Niall Sclater.Read Niall's blog post about the report. 

Categories: Universities

Human Rights Day 2014

Nus Org - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 09:20

Today, Human Rights Day is all about encompassing the idea that every day is Human Rights Day through this year's theme - 'Human Rights 365'.

Categories: NUS news

Domestic Violence: Recognising the Signs

Nus Org - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 11:47

This is a guest article by Sian Hawkins, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at Women’s Aid.

Categories: NUS news

Take care Thursday: Our guide to the best feminist zines

Nus Org - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 17:17

Today is day ten of the #ReclaimYourCampus campaign which sees us working with students’ unions and students all over the country to take action across 16 days to challenge violence against women on campus.

Categories: NUS news

Students illustrate why random stop and search must end

Nus Org - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 14:25

Young people and students must be protected by the police, no matter what age or ethnicity they are. Photographer Darren Johnson has showcased young people who have been subject to unnecessary stop and searches.

Categories: NUS news

Networkshop43 opens for registration

JISC news - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 12:08
4 December 2014

Today sees us launch registration for Networkshop43

Networkshop43 is an annual technical event for those working in UK education and research, which will this year be hosted at the University of Exeter from 31 March – 2 April, 2015.

Chris Lintott, professor of astrophysics and citizen science lead, at the University of Oxford is confirmed to speak on technology-enabled citizen science: scientific research that is conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or non-professional scientists.

Lintott is involved in a number of popular science projects aimed at bringing astronomy to a wider audience. He is the primary presenter of the BBC series The Sky at Night. Lintott is also a co-author of the book Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe with Patrick Moore and Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May. He is also the principal investigator for citizen science web portal Zooniverse.org which will form the basis for his presentation.

He comments:

“I’m looking forward to talking to all sorts of people at Networkshop about how we can really open up science so that it becomes something everyone does, not just a privileged few.”

Aimed at network managers and technical staff in UK higher and further education, Networkshop43 has become an established and unrivalled event on the academic conference calendar. It showcases developments in UK education IT services and provides an opportunity for IT professionals from across the sectors to share best practice.

Tim Kidd, executive director Jisc technologies, says:

“I see Networkshop43 as a great place to showcase how far along the road we are with our vision to make the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world. The conference provides a forum for discussion on the latest technologies that will help keep the UK at the forefront of international practice. 

This is your opportunity to meet and talk face-to-face with other experts, and to increase your awareness and knowledge of new technologies and innovations. Alongside this, the programme has something to offer both the further and higher education sectors, and will also address key challenges around security, telephony, network technology, trust and indemnity, and wireless technology.”

Networkshop43 also provides attendees with the opportunity to engage with suppliers and commercial companies who will be exhibiting throughout the duration of the event. A number of leading organisations in the learning technologies space have already confirmed as exhibiting, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, BT, Infinity and The Cloud. 

Networkshop43 is open for registrations on Thursday 4 December. Early bird tickets are available until 31 January 2015.

Categories: Universities

No more stop and search

Nus Org - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 09:45

We want Government to remove random stop-and-search powers from the police. Today, join us on social media and share your views #GenerationVote.

Categories: NUS news

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