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Why join the UK academic survey?

JISC news - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 16:18
22 May 2015

Hear from Roger Schonfeld, director, library and scholarly communication program, at Ithaka. He tells us about the benefits available for universities who are signing up to take part in this year’s UK survey of academics and how you can get involved. 

To get involved in the 2015 survey please contact Alisa Rod.

Categories: Universities

1000 organisations now benefiting from the UK federation

JISC news - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 12:48
22 May 2015

Massachusetts based IT security consultants Painless Security is the 1000th organisation to join the UK Access Management Federation.

Operated by Jisc, the UK federation is the world’s largest federation for education and research, and their suppliers and service providers.

The UK federation offers its members’ users secure access to online resources and services through a single sign-on login, simplifying access to the services they need and protecting their privacy. It connects people from different colleges, universities and commercial providers not only in the UK, but on an international basis – linking up with federations in other countries – allowing them to share digital resources and services to authorised users.

The addition of Painless Security further emphasises the federation’s role as the largest and most diverse federation of its kind in the world. It saves its members money and creates opportunities for collaboration within the sectors served by Jisc, and between organisations in other communities, with common business interests.

Sam Hartman, principal consultant, Painless Security LLC said:

“In developing identity and access management software, Painless Security collaborates with researchers throughout the UK and Europe. By joining the UK Access Management Federation, we can gain access to collaborators' services without the cost or complexity of setting up individual accounts.

The UK Access Management Federation saves us money and time because we can leverage our existing accounts without setting up usernames and passwords and validating our organisational identity with each party we work with.”

In the UK 99.6% of universities and 86% of colleges are members of the federation. The federation is also leading in its adoption by commercial organisations, with over 240 businesses registered. These range from publishers, who use the federation to deliver their content, to providers wanting to provide special offers on services and equipment to students. Through Jisc’s leadership, the federation has made the UK a world leader in the use of this technology to support and drive the digital marketplace for the online goods and services essential to education and research today.

Mark Williams, service manager and outreach support - UK federation, said:

“Seamless and secure access to systems and services is paramount to the continued health of the education and research, which makes the UK federation vital to delivering effective access and identity management services.

To secure 1000 members is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates a healthy and growing access management federation, the largest of its kind in the world, and demonstrates Jisc’s global leadership in the field.”

North Warwickshire and Hinckley College became a member of the UK federation in 2013 and has seen considerable benefits. Lesley John, group learning resources team leader, said:

“Membership saves us a huge amount of time through not having to create individual user accounts for new students and troubleshoot problems with logins. The benefit of this can’t be underestimated. Another benefit was that we didn’t need to buy any new IT equipment throughout the implementation process and we are now saving £3,500 per year.

For our students improved accessibility has been a real advantage. They no longer have to remember multiple usernames and passwords and are able to access a broader range of information and services by using a single secure sign-on that will work at any college that is signed up to the federation. The barriers to learning they previously faced have been removed.”

The animation 'UK federation; what it is' was created to give an introduction to why the UK federation was created and the benefits of joining.

For information about how to join the UK federation visit the UK federation website.

For information about how you can implement a UK federation compatible solution, using non-proprietary, free software, visit the Shibboleth website.

Categories: Universities

Alastair Sim: Higher education must remain central

Universities Scotland news - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 11:53
This piece originally appeared in The Scotsman on Thursday 21 May 2015 titled 'Much to learn in the post-7 May world'.THE seventh of May was an extraordinary night. A Conservative majority in Westminster and a landslide victory of 56 SNP MPs means the next five years promises to be anything but dull. Universities Scotland congratulates every Scottish MP, new and returned, and the SNP on achieving such a remarkable result.As higher education is almost entirely devolved to Holyrood anyone would be forgiven for thinking there is not a lot for Scotland's MPs to get stuck into when it comes to universities. However, some big issues of direct relevance to our universities are reserved to Westminster including billions of pounds of funding in the UK research councils, immigration and some aspects of innovation policy. That's before we consider the indirect impact of policy and funding decisions taken for universities in England and the rest of the UK on universities here in Scotland.Our universities are able to make the strongest contribution to Scotland when both Holyrood and Westminster deliver a supportive policy and funding environment. We will be looking to Scotland's 59 MPs to help us secure this at a UK-level. THE seventh of May was an extraordinary night. A Conservative majority in Westminster and a landslide victory of 56 SNP MPs means the next five years promises to be anything but dull. Universities Scotland congratulates every Scottish MP, new and returned, and the SNP on achieving such a remarkable result.As higher education is almost entirely devolved to Holyrood anyone would be forgiven for thinking there is not a lot for Scotland's MPs to get stuck into when it comes to universities. However, some big issues of direct relevance to our universities are reserved to Westminster including billions of pounds of funding in the UK research councils, immigration and some aspects of innovation policy. That's before we consider the indirect impact of policy and funding decisions taken for universities in England and the rest of the UK on universities here in Scotland.Our universities are able to make the strongest contribution to Scotland when both Holyrood and Westminster deliver a supportive policy and funding environment. We will be looking to Scotland's 59 MPs to help us secure this at a UK-level.Universities have a big role to play in Scotland's ambitions for a fair and equal society and a strong and inclusive economy. We create life-changing opportunities for people, whatever their background, to learn and to develop as confident and empowered individuals. Universities work as significant drivers of innovation and economic growth in their own right with £1.3 billion worth of exports, support for more than 140,000 jobs and the attraction of inward investment into Scotland. Our world-class research and its innovative application enables the growth of others with support for 18,000 Scottish SMEs and partnerships with big business. The centrality of the university role is recognised in the Scottish Government's refreshed economic strategy and its "can do" plans for Scotland to be an innovation nation. Our economic role comes full circle and reinforces the contribution universities make to Scottish society. The economist Joseph Stiglitz believes that inequality is linked with low economic growth and productivity. He recommends the creation of a learning society at the heart of economic policy as it holds the potential to increase productivity and standards of living.Turning back to Westminster, there are both opportunities and challenges facing our universities in a learning society. We need to see the opportunities realised so that universities can deliver more for Scotland.Most urgently, we need to see the return of a competitive post-study work offer to international students. This is win-win. It would help attract and retain more highly-skilled people to Scotland and help Scotland address its skills gaps, tackle its demographic challenges and associated productivity issues. Our home students benefit from enrichment of the learning experience by the presence of different nationalities, cultures and perspectives preparing them to be global citizens and much sought-after employees. Universities' contribution to Scotland's exports would also grow as a result, supporting Scotland's economic growth through the fees and off-campus expenditure of international students. There is cross-party support for the Smith Commission's recommendation to be taken forward in discussion between the Scottish and UK governments. This is a priority and we ask for the support of all of Scotland's MPs to help deliver this.Europe is also of key importance to Scotland's universities. It is essential to us that the UK opts to stay in Europe. Europe is our key partner in teaching, research and a rich source of funding that supports vital research of direct relevance to Scotland and creates jobs and growth. The freedom of movement of staff, students and ideas across Europe builds a higher quality and more competitive higher education. Scotland's universities and MPs must work together in making the case for Europe.Scotland gains from being part of a UK-wide ecosystem for research and innovation. Almost £1.6 billion of research funding is allocated annually to universities in the UK by the UK research councils. Last year Scottish universities brought more than 15 per cent of Research Councils UK funding back to Scotland through successful competition. There are additional pots of funding for UK-wide innovation programmes including Innovate UK which support "catapult" centres of business-focused innovation. Scotland has catapults in renewables and high-value manufacturing. We need to be sure that all future policy and funding decisions taken on cross-UK research and innovation continue to be inclusive of Scotland's interests.Whilst there are a great many things that unite them, Scotland's 19 higher education institutions have very different origins, characters, specialisms and strengths. This should be celebrated and protected as policy and funding decisions are made in Westminster (and Holyrood). Such diversity is an asset for Scotland in much the same way as our MPs will bring their diverse backgrounds, life experiences, personalities and priorities to their roles. We look forward to getting to know them and helping them to get to get to know us. There is much I hope we can achieve together.Alastair Sim, Director, Universities ScotlandThis piece originally appeared in The Scotsman on Thursday 21 May 2015 titled 'Much to learn in the post-7 May world'.
Categories: Universities

Jisc’s Janet 6 network wins Global Business Telecoms Award

JISC news - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 11:13
19 May 2015

Jeremy Sharp talks from the Global Business Telecoms awards, where Jisc and Scottish Southern Electic Telecoms were winners in the 'fixed network' category for their work on the world class Janet 6 network.

Categories: Universities

Help keep fossil fuels in the ground

Nus Org - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:16

We're joining the Guardian and hundreds of thousands of people asking the Bill and Melinder Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to help keep 80 per cent of fossil fuels in the ground. Sign the Guardian's petition to make it happen!

Categories: NUS news

Jisc Wales at Colleges Wales Annual Conference 2015

JISC news - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 11:17
18 May 2015

This week we're at Colleges Wales Annual Conference 2015, the annual event for further education providers, practitioners and policymakers in Wales. Alyson Dacey, head of Jisc Wales, discusses what we're doing to support the sector.

Categories: Universities

Resilient internet connectivity at Myerscough College

JISC news - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 16:55
15 May 2015

Myerscough College, a land-based further and higher education college in the north west, is one of the approximately 160 further education colleges in England to take additional connections to Jisc’s Janet network. Ian Brown, director of IT and MIS at the college, talks to us about why they’ve taken an extra four connections. 

Categories: Universities

Jisc’s Janet6 network wins Global Telecoms Business Award

JISC news - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 15:58
14 May 2015

Jisc’s Janet6 network, provided for UK education and research, won the fixed network infrastructure innovation category at last night’s Global Telecoms Business Awards.

The network supports the ever-increasing bandwidth requirements of the UK’s colleges and universities. SSE Enterprise Telecoms worked alongside Jisc providing the 6,500km fibre infrastructure necessary to deliver the Janet6 network, which ensures these organisations are able to transfer the vast sets of data that they rely on across a secure high-speed connection.

Jeremy Sharp, head of strategic technologies, Jisc, said:

“We are delighted to have won this award. As one of the world’s leading collaborative network providers, it was important to us that we were able to manage and run our own network – from an innovation, autonomy and example-setting perspective.

"With SSE Enterprise Telecoms, we have complete control over the technologies that we roll out over the infrastructure, which means that when it comes to furthering the capabilities of our research and education community, the sky really is the limit. SSE Enterprise Telecoms is a reputable brand with a proven track record of delivering consistent services to high profile, risk-averse clients. That covenant, coupled with the technological reliability and quality of network engineering, is very important to us.”

Colin Sempill, SSE Enterprise Telecoms managing director, said:

“Janet6’s pioneering use of 100Gbps provides enormous capacity and means that students can always rely on the network to perform, no matter how much data they need to transfer. The network is ultra-reliable and offers virtually limitless scope for collaboration and technical innovation.

"It runs over 6,500km of enterprise-class dark fibre, supporting nearly a thousand facilities, universities and colleges in more than 30 sites across the UK. It is one of the UK’s largest and most resilient private networks and Jisc now has complete control to provide services without fear of capacity shortage.”

Following this success, SSE Enterprise Telecoms has also been chosen to replace Janet’s south regional network in a five year contract.

Categories: Universities

Research data at the forefront of Networkshop43

JISC news - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 15:40
13 May 2015

Neil Shewry talks about his experience of Networkshop43, Jisc's annual technical event, aimed at network managers and technical staff. Read the original blog post.

Categories: Universities

Cloud is...or is it?

JISC news - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 15:22
13 May 2015

Andrew Cormack, chief regulatory adviser, Jisc technologies, explains how cloud technology offers more opportunities for innovation than the stereotypes associated with it suggest. Read the original blog post.

Categories: Universities

Leading national research and education networks open doors for international research

JISC news - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:36
13 May 2015

12 leading national research and education networks (NRENs) representing the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, and including Jisc’s Janet network, have announced the official launch of the second 'Enlighten Your Research Global (EYR-Global)' programme

This programme, which helps accelerate international research collaborations by providing selected proposals with improved networking, data transfers, and/or engineering, is now accepting proposals.

The EYR-Global programme reflects two growing trends in research: it is increasingly international in scope, and increasingly reliant on high-speed networks to provide critical resources for managing, sharing and analysing the data driving that research.

Major experimental collaborations such as the Large Hadron Collider integrate advanced networking capabilities as components for managing and sharing data internationally. At the same time, network-intensive research techniques are rapidly emerging across disciplines from genomics to climate research, materials discovery, humanities and the social sciences.

David Salmon, research support unit manager, Jisc, said:

"Global research in many disciplines is increasingly reliant on access to large data-sets and the capabilities of high-capacity networks such as Janet to move these between facilities for processing and analysis.

“We hope that EYR will encourage research groups to collaborate with their UK partners, and to submit proposals for projects that will benefit from access to the Janet network and support from Jisc and the other NRENs to help meet the needs of their research."

ESNet director Greg Bell said:

“Research and education networks have spent the past few years performing upgrades and improving end-to-end network performance. Our next frontier is direct engagement with scientific collaborations. It’s very exciting to see over a dozen of the most advanced networks in the world coming together to collaborate in this way.”

The EYR-Global programme was patterned after SURFnet’s successful national Enlighten Your Research competition in the Netherland. It represents an important step forward in helping researchers in all fields to incorporate advanced global research networks to significantly improve discoveries and collaboration processes.

In 2013, the first inaugural EYR-Global programme resulted in four research projects in climate research, life sciences, and computer science receiving awards in the form of network resources and/or engineering consultations to improve the research workflows in each project.

Regarding his EYR-Global 2013 project, 'An Advanced Distributed Computing Approach to High-Resolution Climate Modeling,' Henk Dijkstra, professor of dynamical oceanography at Utrecht University said:

“Our work within the EYR-Global 2013 programme has enabled our team to perform climate model computations distributed over different supercomputing systems in the world. The software developed in this project and the experience gained with the networking issues will be crucial to be able to efficiently perform extremely high-resolution climate simulations in the near future.” 

For 2015, EYR-Global is seeking to support even more projects. The two-step proposal process includes review by a panel of judges representing each of the sponsoring organizations. Final EYR-Global proposal projects may have access to:

  • High performance network infrastructures operated by participating NRENs and their partners
  • Support and consultation with expert network engineers to devise the best end-to-end network connectivity plan to support the proposed research
  • Commitment from each participating NREN for an agreed level of network resource provisioning and ongoing support during the programme period.

The selected proposals will receive resources and/or support from some of the world’s leading NRENs which are sponsoring EYR-Global:

Find out how to participate here.

Categories: Universities

Why are so many young people voting Green?

Nus Org - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 11:00

May has been a mixed month for the Greens, comments NUS Jounalist Emma Jacobs as she looks back at the outcome of general election.

Categories: NUS news

Summer of Student Innovation 2015 - developing student ideas

JISC news - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 17:20
13 May 2015

Andy McGregor, deputy chief innovation officer, talks about the Summer of Student Innovation competition and why you should take part. He also discusses Call for Participants, a previous winner of the competition. Read the original blog post.

Categories: Universities

Digital storytelling in organisations

JISC news - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 09:27
11 May 2015

Chris Thomson, subject specialist - online learning and the digital student experience, discusses the value of digital storytelling to organisations. Read the original blog post.

Categories: Universities

Digital technology unites musicians across Europe for virtual performance

JISC news - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 17:17
8 May 2015

Performing arts students from around the globe used state-of-the-art technology to virtually perform together at the Royal College of Music (RCM), London on Tuesday 5 May.

Dancers from the museum of contemporary arts, Barcelona (MACBA) and traditional Nordic instrumentalists from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, joined the performance with musicians from the RCM via live video links.

This collaboration was made possible by Jisc, while the performance was streamed via our Janet network, using very low latency audio and visual technology which means it can broadcast video in real time from different international locations without delays.

The performance was an innovative and cross-disciplinary event in which visual poetry, new music and choreography combine with pioneering digital design and projection technology to explore award-winning writer Peter Cox’s original narrative, The Infinite Bridge.

Michael Ladouceur, a Masters student at the Royal College of Music, who is co-executive producer and one of three young composers on the project, said:

“These technologies have allowed us to create a unique performance environment, changing not only the way we write music, but also the way it is perceived. Along with my fellow music collaborators, RCM MA student composers, Mari Sainio and Sam Jones, I can say we’re immensely excited to be creating a new kind of artwork for the 21st century.”

Emma Smith, Jisc video projects coordinator said:

“The role of digital technology in further and higher education is growing. Thanks to our high-speed network Jisc is helping the Royal College of Music to shape the way music is taught, rehearsed and performed.

We are very excited to be working with the RCM to deliver this performance and demonstrate how the power of technology can be used to remove traditional geographical constraints and help transform the performing arts landscape.”

The performance was a part of the annual network performing arts production workshop (NPAP) which is being held in the UK this year at the Royal College of Music on 4-6 May.

The workshop has been coordinated by Jisc, the Royal College of Music and the GÉANT Association's Amsterdam office (formerly TERENA). GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s NRENs. Additional technical expertise will be provided by the American NREN Internet2, Italian NREN GARR and CSUC which manages the regional network in Catalonia.

For an overview of some of the talks, performances and personalities of the previous event, held in Vienna in 2013, see the video report.

More information regarding The Infinite Bridge can be found on the Royal College of Music website.

Categories: Universities

Five reasons why you should 'do digital'

JISC news - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 10:20
7 May 2015

With digital technology becoming ever more pervasive in learning and teaching, Judy Bloxham, training consultant, Jisc, gives us five reasons why colleges should embrace digital. Read the original blog post.

Categories: Universities

Party leaders send video messages to students

Nus Org - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 17:37

At NUS National Conference this year party leaders sent students a video message of their plans ahead of the general election. See what they had to say below:

Categories: NUS news

The way politics works is changing, and we are helping to make it

Nus Org - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 14:58

What has been dubbed the most unpredictable election in recent times is a day away. The new generation of voters is a big cause of such uncertainty, and many students in that generation will be voting for the first time tomorrow.

Categories: NUS news

Summer of Student Innovation 2015 - your chance to improve the student experience

JISC news - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 12:04
6 May 2015

Paul Bailey, co-design manager, talks to us about the Summer of Student Innovation 2015 and your chance to improve the student experience. Read the original blog post.

Categories: Universities

16 reasons young people should vote

Nus Org - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 11:30
In case you haven't heard, there's a general election going on. We think it's essential that young people get out there and vote. Here's why...
Categories: NUS news

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