My friend Cate Huston has written a post about tech conferences, and the thorny question of who pays for speakers to attend. You can find it here: Uncomfortable Conversations About Money. I was going to write a comment on it, but then realised I had a bit more to say, so here’s a post instead. I’ve only spoken at a couple of “mainstream” tech conferences, and they’ve either been local (so travel wasn’t an issue) or they’ve paid my travel. Which is nice. It is also a very unusual experience for me — very very rarely do academic computing conferences pay your travel, fee, orRead More →

One of the great things about the REF is the way every one’s a winner. Well, not everyone. But there are three different categories of stuff being measured, and two obvious choices of modifier. The things being “measured” are: Outputs: these are the actual papers Impact: this is a measure of how an institution’s research has impacted outside the academy Environment: this is a nebulous bucket containing completed PhD students, grants won, and softness of toilet paper. Or something And the obvious modifiers are number of people submitted (this gives us “power”, and is used as a multiplier) and proportion of “world class” (4*) research.Read More →

The Research “Excellence” “Framework” is how university departments are judged on their research. It’s more than that though. It determines our funding, and it is effectively the only way that an institution can influence how much money it gets from the central funding agencies. This is in part due to the fact that under the new 9k fees regime, student-related funding pretty much all comes from students. If we get better at teaching, we might be able to get more money as that might reflect itself in better student satisfaction scores which might lead to higher recruitment, which might lead to more money… but theRead More →

Inspired by an infographic showing that all of the current education ministers went to private schools, I have just spent 10 mins on Wikipedia investigating the Higher Education experiences of the current department for education: Nicky Morgan is 41, so didn’t pay uni fees for her Jurisprudence degree from Oxford. Nick Boles is 48, so didn’t pay uni fees for his PPE degree from Oxford. Nick Gibb is 53, so didn’t pay uni fees for his Law degree from Durham. Lord Nash is 65, so didn’t pay uni fees for his Law degree from Oxford. David Laws is 48, so didn’t pay uni fees forRead More →

For the last few months, my writing here has been slow, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. Actually, I’ve had articles published on a couple of other blogs, which probably have a slightly higher readership than this one… On computer weekly The BCSWomen Lovelace is a conference I set up and have been running for 7 years. This coming event has a super lineup, so I have done a post introducing our awesome speakers at the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium And a general overview of the colloquium which describes the background, and also why it is great. Still spaces (Reading Uni, April 16th, signRead More →

For International Women’s Day, the Athena Swan team at Aberystwyth put on a series of events over the course of the preceding week. I was off to London for a conference so helped organise an event on the Monday before jetsetting off to The Smoke (if you can call travelling via Arriva Trains Wales “jetsetting”). Thanks to all the speakers, to my co-organiser Carina Fearnley (who did most of the hard organisational work) and to Computer Science in Aberystwyth for sponsoring the evening (paying for amplification and tech setup). We had about 70 people there, I think, and there were a few more watching onRead More →