The Romanian Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport has asked universities to nominate replacements for the 19 members of the National Research Council (CNCS), Romania’s main research funding agency. Council members resigned en masse on 12 April to protest retroactive cuts in research grants.
Continue reading Romania to Replace National Research Council After Mass Resignation
The European Science Foundation (ESF) has temporarily shut off support for Spanish researchers because Spain’s member organizations failed to pay their membership fees for the foundation. The move—which an ESF spokesperson says should be temporary—may hobble conferences and workshops seeking ESF funding.
Systems biologist Saúl Ares of the National Center for Biotechnology in Madrid reported the suspension last week on his blog. Together with Javier Buceta of the Barcelona Science Park, Ares applied to ESF for funds to organize an international workshop. But last week, ESF told the duo that it has suspended all support for Spanish activities from July 2013 onward—with the exception of one unnamed “high-profile” event in July—until Spain’s two ESF member organizations pay their unpaid dues.
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Most scientific researchers know the agony of waiting to hear about the status of a submitted manuscript. They are eager to change the phrase “manuscript submitted” on a grant application or curriculum vitae to “in press” in advance of some crucial deadline. Publications in prestigious journals—not necessarily the articles themselves but the fact of their existence—are the established and universal, albeit imperfect, way of claiming credit for the scientific work you’ve done, and there’s always a delay.
But when sociologist Margarita Mooney of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recently applied for a grant, she was able to take instant credit for one aspect of her work: the readership of her blog, as documented by Google Analytics. When she told the review committee that her team blog, Black, White and Gray, had 15,000 page views in its first month, rising to 20,000 views in later months, they were impressed, she recalls. Blog readership is not a traditional measure of scholarship, but the committee, which was also evaluating public impact, rewarded her for it. She won the grant.
Continue reading Alternative Research Metrics
Postdoctoral research fellow David Kipping has often seen other astronomers don smart jackets when attending meetings or giving presentations, especially when they knew that funding powers-that-be would also be there. So before heading to one of his science presentations last year, Kipping pulled on a smart jacket. His next moves, however, were less conventional. He climbed the stairs to the roof of the Perkins building at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, pointed his laptop’s video camera at himself and, with the center’s 9-inch Clark telescope dome in the background, made a science sales pitch directly to the public. The video, which appears on YouTube and on the science crowd-funding Web site Petridish.org, raised $12,247. The pitch was to buy and install a small supercomputer, which he would name for the biggest donor, to speed up data processing on a search for moons in other solar systems.
Continue reading Asking the Public for Money