Friday, 19 December 2014

Brown bears, wolves and lynx numbers rising in Europe

Brown bears, wolves and lynx numbers rising in Europe

 Land-sharing model of conservation is helping large predators thrive in the wild – and even the British countryside could support big carnivores, study finds .

MSc Computer Science at Maynooth University

MSc Computer Science

Looking for a world class Masters programme in software engineering? At Maynooth University we have scholarships and work placements available with our Taught Masters programmes.

University Research Excellence Framework Results for the UK

Education news, opinion and guides | The Guardian

Check out which are the top  Research Universities in the UK, and which subjects are producing the best research.

Maynooth University discovery in the fight against diabetes

Maynooth University discovery in the fight against diabetes

Maynooth University scientists have identified a protein in the body that may have the potential to prevent the development of obesity-driven diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the world’s fastest growing epidemics, with an estimated 225,000 people in Ireland alone suffering from the disease.  Obesity is a key driver of Type 2 Diabetes, given that excess abdominal fat causes fat cells to release a ‘pro-inflammatory’ chemical which can make the body less sensitive to the insulin it produces and disrupt the ability of insulin-responsive cells to fulfill their function.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Academics across UK fearful in advance of Ref results

Academics across UK fearful in advance of Ref results

 Research Excellence Framework, which judges quality of research, widely criticised as divisive and a cause of bullying

Times Higher Education choose Scopus data for its World University Ranking | Scopus Blog | Elsevier

Times Higher Education choose Scopus data for its World University Ranking 

Times Higher Education (THE), a global leader in university rankings, has announced their decision to work with the Scopus database and SciVal, Elsevier’s research metrics analysis tool, for its World University Ranking and other rankings including the 100 Under 50, Asia University and BRICS & Emerging Economies rankings.

Both Scopus and SciVal are available to Maynooth University users via the Library.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

BBC Horizon - Fermat's Last Theorem

BBC Horizon - Fermat's Last Theorem

 In 1996 this documentary was made about Fermat’s
Last Theorem for the BBC series Horizon. It was 50 minutes of
mathematicians talking about mathematics, which is not the obvious
recipe for a TV blockbuster, but the result was a programme that
captured the public imagination and which received critical acclaim. The programme won the BAFTA for best documentary, a Priz Italia,
other international prizes and an Emmy nomination – this proves that
mathematics can be as emotional and as gripping as any other subject on
the planet so says Simon Singh http://simonsingh.net/books/fermats-last-theorem/fermats-last-theorem-the-tv-documentary/

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

What can we learn from measuring the temperature of space?

Maynooth University

On a clear night, when we gaze at the skies we can look back in time.



With an optical telescope, or sometimes even with just the naked eye, we see the pinpoints of light that we call stars.



What is actually meeting our eyes is energy in the visible wavelength that has travelled across space (and time) from that star or planet to us. 
But what about the wavelengths that we can’t see? That ‘invisible’ energy can also tell us much about the universe and its history, if we know how to look at it. Scientists at Maynooth University ’s Department of Experimental Physics know how to look at it, and their research is helping to cast the universe in a new light.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Rosetta’s Philae probe lands on comet

Touchdown! Rosetta’s Philae probe lands on comet



ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.

After a tense wait during the seven-hour descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth at 16:03 GMT (17:03 CET).

The confirmation was relayed via the Rosetta orbiter to Earth and picked up simultaneously by ESA’s ground station in Malargüe, Argentina and NASA’s station in Madrid, Spain. The signal was immediately confirmed at ESA’s Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, and DLR’s Lander Control Centre in Cologne, both in Germany.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Birth of planet captured by Chilean telescope

Birth of planet captured by Chilean telescope

 Some of the most detailed images ever taken of new planets being born around a star have been published, which astronomers said could transform theories about planet formation.

High in the Chilean desert, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillmeter Array, or Alma, observed the planet-forming disc around the young HL Tauri star, producing the sharpest pictures ever made at submillimeter wavelengths. The pictures show clear concentric rings in the dust left over from the formation of the star, the gaps indicating that planets are already forming, sweeping a path through the material.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Science Week Events 2014 Maynooth University from Monday the 10th Nov

Science Week



 There are a number of excellent events during the week including on  Thursday 13th November JH2 7.00 - 8.00  Prof. John Sweeney, Maynooth University discusses:


CLIMATE CHANGE AND IRELAND: BRIDGING THE GAP FROM SCIENCE TO POLICY

Professor John Sweeney, Emeritus Professor at Maynooth University, will discuss the role of greenhouse gas emissions in shaping present and future global climate. He will look at the impact that climate change is likely to have on a mid latitude country such as Ireland, considering various sectors such as water, biodiversity, agriculture and construction. He will examine how adaptation to the inevitable can best be achieved, and how mitigation of the worst excesses of future scenarios should be tackled.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Open science and the disciplinary culture clash - Why is it so hard to reach a consensus?

Open science and the disciplinary culture clash - Why is it so hard to reach a consensus?

When it comes down to the nitty gritty detail of what open science means for an individual researcher, the disciplinary context is key. As clear and straightforward as making research publicly available is, many questions still remain for specific disciplines. Peter Kraker reports back from a session on openness in the humanities where definitions of data, research work and research materials were all contested.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Do We Need to Shake Up the Social Sciences?

Do We Need to Shake Up the Social Sciences? - Video and audio - News and media - Home

Speaker(s): Professor Nicholas Christakis, Professor Patrick Dunleavy, Dr Amanda Goodall, Professor Andrew Oswald
Chair: Siobhan Benita

Podcast Recorded on 21 October 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.



‘Yes’, according to Nicholas Christakis. He wrote, in the New York Times, ‘Taking a page from Darwin, the natural sciences are evolving with the times. In contrast, the social sciences have stagnated. They offer essentially the same set of academic departments … This is not only boring but also counterproductive ...’ Is Christakis right? In this event, physician and sociologist Nicholas Christakis, political scientist Patrick Dunleavy, management scientist Amanda Goodall and economist Andrew Oswald will debate this question, and then join a discussion on the issue with policy and strategy officer Siobhan Benita.

The citation revolution will not be televised: the end of papers and the rise of data.

The citation revolution will not be televised: the end of papers and the rise of data.

Providing access across subjects and regions, the Data Citation Index is linking up with repositories to provide a single-point recognition mechanism for quality research data. Christopher Lortie welcomes this development as it will profoundly reshape the publication pipeline and further fuel the open science movement. Data can now be recognised and cited as independent products, with or without them being linked to papers. There is now no excuse not to publish those datasets.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Scientific Journals, Peer Review and How to Write a Great Research Paper

Scientific Journals, Peer Review and How to Write a Great Research Paper

"Scientific Journals, Peer Review and How to Write a Great Research Paper"  with  Dr Anthony Newman, Publisher ,Life Sciences, Elsevier & Michaela Kurschildgen, Account Development Manager, Elsevier in the Library on Wednesday the 29th Oct.
 Knowing how to correctly prepare a paper, and the most appropriate scientific journal to send it to will significantly increase the chances of your paper being accepted.  Furthermore, a strong grasp of the review process and the organization of the editorial office can help you - the researcher - understand what will be expected of your submission when it hits the desk.

Ireland’s Big Rewilding Project First of its Kind in Western Europe

Ireland’s Big Rewilding Project First of its Kind in Western Europe

 Wild Nephin project aims to create 27,000 acres of unique wilderness landscape. The Nephin Beg mountain range rises on Ireland's western coast and stretches 20 miles into the sparsely populated northwest of County Mayo. This is a landscape of boglands and heath-covered mountains, battered by Atlantic winds and rain. The only forests here are stands of Lodgepole pine and Sitka spruce, planted in an attempt to wrestle economic gain from the unproductive soil.

Monday, 13 October 2014

IOPscience - 2014 Nobel Prize Collection

IOPscience - 2014 Nobel Prize Collection

 Free to read papers authored by the laureates and cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the Nobel prize scientific background document. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura are the latest Nobel Prize for Physics laureates. The scientists were awarded for inventing blue LEDs which have enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.

How big data and analytics could help increase milk production

How big data and analytics could help increase milk production

A new €446,000 collaboration between major Irish dairy producers Glanbia and Dairygold and Irish researchers will see data analytics and big data employed to help boost milk production.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Altmetrics can signal flows of information for paths in scholarly communication not yet mapped.

Altmetrics can signal flows of information for paths in scholarly communication not yet mapped.

Research metrics are currently being debated across the UK. With last week’s 1AM conference discussing alternative metrics and this week’s In metrics we trust? event as part of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment, the uses and misuses of metrics are under close scrutiny. Cameron Neylon reports back from last week’s altmetrics conference and looks at the primary motivations and applications of new data sources for building a better scholarly communication system.

Open Access movement losing its momentum

Wall Street analysts say open access has failed due to lack of focus, but their analysis might help it succeed.

There are tensions in the open access movement which are putting its sustained momentum at risk, argues Curt Rice. The enthusiasm for the movement’s ideals are now in conflict with what is needed for success, namely a clear message articulated by visible and visionary leadership. Wall Street analysts are predicting open access to be a fading threat to Elsevier profits due to a lack of focus. Can governments, research councils and universities provide the necessary leadership to ensure lasting change?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Global Biodiversity Outlook 4

Global Biodiversity Outlook 4

Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is a periodic report that summarizes the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Applications requested for Drop Your Thesis! 2015

Applications requested for Drop Your Thesis! 2015

ESA’s Education Office is offering university students a new opportunity to perform a microgravity related experiment, using the ZARM drop tower in Germany.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Three ways podcasting can make you a more engaged academic

Three ways podcasting can make you a more engaged academic

 National Podcast Day was 30th September and was a day dedicated to promoting podcasting worldwide through education and public engagement. Here, Amy Mollett, managing editor of LSE Review of Books, and Cheryl Brumley, our multimedia editor, talk us through three ways that academics can use podcasting to enhance their engagement with students and expand the reach of their work beyond academia.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Nasa robotic probe slips into orbit around Mars

Nasa robotic probe slips into orbit around Mars

 A Nasa
robotic spacecraft has ended a 10-month journey to put itself into
orbit around Mars and begin a hunt for the planet’s lost water.
After traveling 71 million km, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile
Evolution, or Maven, spacecraft fired its six rocket thrusters, trimming
its speed from 20,600 km/h to 16,093 km/h.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) together with a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals, recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scientific research are evaluated. The group met in December 2012 during the ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco and subsequently circulated a draft declaration among various stakeholders.

Friday, 5 September 2014

September packed with events to celebrate CERN's 60th | CERN

September packed with events to celebrate CERN's 60th | CERN

On 29 September 1954, the CERN Convention entered into force, officially establishing the European Organization for Nuclear Research with 12 European member states. Now the world's biggest particle physics laboratory, CERN is celebrating “60 years of science for peace” with an official ceremony and several public events taking place throughout September.

Pythagoras would have approved of Dublin’s huge harp

Pythagoras would have approved of Dublin’s huge harp



The Samuel Beckett Bridge, which spans the Liffey, was designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2009. It is 120m in length and 48m high, and it swings open to allow ships to pass up and down the river. The bridge has 31 cable stays to support it. They resemble the strings of a great harp, a symbol of Ireland. One can imagine the cables being plucked by some giant to produce a melody.

In fact, this is what will happen next Saturday at an event to mark the opening of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. Structures such as the bridge have natural frequencies of oscillation or “normal modes”. When struck at different points, various tones are produced. Bristol-born composer Tom Lane has written a musical piece using the tones produced when the heavy stays are hammered into oscillation.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Scientists criticise new “open access” journal which limits research-sharing with copyright

Restrictive copyright licenses and expensive submission fees have led to a significant number of scientists to criticise Science Advances, a new journal due to launch next year, for failing to live up to its open access principles. So says Fiona Rutherford in the New Statesman. One hundred and fifteen scientists have signed an open letter to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world’s most prestigious scientific societies and publisher of the journal Science, expressing concerns over the launch of a new scientific journal, Science Advances. The AAAS describes Science Advances as open access, a term used to describe free online access to research for members of the public - but the scientists who have signed the open letter say they are "deeply concerned" with the specifics of its model, claiming it could stifle the sharing of scientific knowledge. The journal, expected to debut in 2015, asks scientists for up to $5,500 (roughly £3,300) to publish their research. Although most open access journals are supported by charging a similar article processing fee, Science Advances has an additional charge of $1,500 for articles more than ten pages long. Leading open access journals, such as PeerJ, the BMC series and Plos One, do not have such surcharges. Studies in Science Advances will also be published under a Creative Commons license which prohibits sharing by any commercial entity, which critics consider means that the journal is not truly open access.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Crowd-Sourced Peer Review: Substitute or supplement for the current outdated system?

Crowd-Sourced Peer Review: Substitute or supplement for the current outdated system?

The problem with peer review today is that there is so much research being produced that there are not enough experts with enough time to peer-review it all. As we look to address this problem, issues of standards and hierarchy remain unsolved. Stevan Harnad wonders whether crowd-sourced peer review could match, exceed, or come close to the benchmark of the current system. He predicts crowdsourcing will indeed be able to provide a supplement to the classical system, hopefully improving efficiency and accuracy, but not a substitute for it.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Winter of 2013/2014 stormiest in 143 years, Maynooth University research shows

Maynooth University

Climatologists at Maynooth University have identified the winter of 2013/2014 as the stormiest in 143 year record for Ireland and the UK.

The research carried out by Dr Tom Matthews, Dr Conor Murphy and Shaun Harrigan from Maynooth University Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units (ICARUS), together with Prof.Rob Wilby of Loughborough University (UK), used long-running atmospheric datasets to characterise winter storminess over the North Atlantic for the last 66 years and as far back as winter 1871-1872 for Ireland and the UK.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Clear material on windows harvests solar energy

Clear material on windows harvests solar energy - Futurity

A new type of “transparent” solar concentrator can be used on windows or
mobile devices to harvest solar energy without obscuring the view.

Biomathematics: the great frontier of the 21st century?

Biomathematics: the great frontier of the 21st century?

Biological systems are hugely complex, but simple mathematical models can isolate and elucidate key elements and processes and predict crucial aspects of behaviour. Many problems in biology have been solved using mathematics already developed in other areas – network analysis, group theory, differential equations, probability, chaos theory and combinatorics – but completely new mathematical techniques may be required to solve some tough problems in the life sciences.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

HEA publishes Consultation Paper

HEA publishes Consultation Paper: Towards the development of a new National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education | Higher Education Authority



The paper is intended to support a wide consultation process on the development of the new National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education.  It has been drafted with the objective of encouraging openness, raising questions and generating ideas.  The aim is that it will stimulate thinking and bring together the combined wisdom and perspectives of all stakeholders in framing the next National Access Plan.




Monday, 18 August 2014

Fields Medal mathematics prize won by woman for first time in its history

Fields Medal mathematics prize won by woman for first time in its history



Maryam Mirzakhani,
an Iranian maths professor at Stanford University in California, was
named the first female winner of the Fields Medal – often described as
the Nobel prize for mathematics – at a ceremony in Seoul .

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

GMIT still ‘considering’ action over plagiarism

GMIT still ‘considering’ action over plagiarism

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) is still “considering possible disciplinary action”, following a protracted external investigation into complaints of alleged plagiarism at the college

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

10 truths a PhD supervisor will never tell you

10 truths a PhD supervisor will never tell you

There are some important dos and don’ts to bear in mind when choosing someone to oversee your doctoral thesis, advises Tara Brabazon

Snowball Metrics: no pinch of salt needed

Snowball Metrics: no pinch of salt needed

 The first Snowball Metrics Recipe Book was published in 2012, with 10 recipes relating to areas such as research funding and output. And so great has been the universities’ enthusiasm for the unexpected insights that cooking the recipes has provided that at the end of last month a second edition was published, containing a further 14 recipes relating to factors such as collaboration, societal impact, intellectual property and spin-offs.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Strained relations: fears of a man-made flu pandemic

Strained relations: fears of a man-made flu pandemic

The risk of a man-made pandemic has startled virologists and epidemiologists to the extent that two papers on the subject were once deemed too dangerous to publish

Kawaoka is one of a small number of researchers tinkering with the genomes of bird-flu strains to model how they might acquire human pandemic potential. Many fear these hubristic microbiologists might trigger a man-made plague if the synthetic bugs ever escape from their laboratories.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Infinite Monkey Cage

BBC - Podcasts and Downloads - The Infinite Monkey Cage

Award winning science/comedy chat with Brian Cox, Robin Ince and guests.
Witty, irreverent look at the world according to science with physicist
Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Young blood rejuvenates old brains

Young blood rejuvenates old brains : Nature Medicine : Nature Publishing Group

 Age-related cognitive decline occurs in many mammals, including humans, resulting from a decline in hippocampal function, and it is associated with reduced synaptic plasticity in hippocampal circuits. In this issue of Nature Medicine, a new study shows that cognitive impairment observed in aged mice is largely reversible following exposure to the blood of young mice.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

List of top 1,000 universities features eight from Ireland

List of top 1,000 universities features eight from Ireland

Eight Irish universities appear on a list of the world’s top 1,000 third-level institutions published today.The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) features eight US and British universities in the top 10. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Developing Your Research Project — University of Southampton — FutureLearn

Developing Your Research Project — University of Southampton — FutureLearn

Free Online Course from the University of Southhampton.

The course is intended for anyone who is currently undertaking or planning to undertake a piece of academic research, be that the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), International Baccalaureate Extended Essay, coursework or a piece of independent scholarship.

Developed and delivered by research-active academics, the course will support you with every step of the research process, from developing a hypothesis and finding sources to writing up and presenting one’s findings.

SFI Targeted Research Professorship Programme 2014 opens for applications

SFI - NEW PROGRAMME TO ATTRACT ICONIC INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH TALENT TO IRISH UNIVERSITIES – Minister Bruton, Minister Sherlock

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Buton, T.D. together with the Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Sean Sherlock, T.D. today announced a major new drive by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to attract the world’s top research talent to the seven Irish universities. The Targeted SFI Research Professorship Programme 2014 will be delivered by Science Foundation Ireland and will provide research funding of approximately €5 million for each successful applicant. Attracting top international research Professors is a critical part of the Government’s strategy to build research capacity in key areas of economic importance.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Research grants worth €23m awarded to young scientists

Research grants worth €23m awarded to young scientists

A very different kind of tattoo could provide a way to help diagnose conditions such as liver failure and eczema outbreaks, according to a young researcher who has received almost €650,000 to pursue her idea. The best thing about it is if it works it offers an alternative to needles and blood samples.

The research study pursued by Dr Aoife Morrin of Dublin City University is one of 40 such awards to early and mid-stage researchers made by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland.

The awards are worth a combined €23 million and provide between €450,000 and €800,000 over four years. They are meant to help younger research scientists to establish themselves and enable them to apply for funding from the EU and other sources, according to Minister of State for research Sean Sherlock. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Eleven researchers in Irish universities named among world’s top 3,000

Eleven researchers in Irish universities named among world’s top 3,000

Eleven researchers based in Irish universities have been ranked among the world’s top 3,000 by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Inclusion means the person’s research is listed in the top 1 per cent for the number of times their work has been cited by other scientists.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Air Pollution – A Silent Killer

EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: Air Pollution – A Silent Killer - Sustainability

The world is under attack from a silent killer with impacts four times that of HIV and AIDS, and most people don’t even seem to know it.

In March this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report estimating that air pollution caused the premature deaths of seven million people in 2012, equivalent to one in eight of all deaths that year and double the previous estimate.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Massive 'ocean' discovered towards Earth's core

Massive 'ocean' discovered towards Earth's core - environment - 12 June 2014 - New Scientist

A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth's surface. The finding could help explain where Earth's seas came from.

Monday, 9 June 2014

We're all being mined for data – but who are th...

We're all being mined for data – but who are th...

A year on from the Snowden/NSA revelations, John Naughton examines
whether big data – the masses of online information collected from all
of us – is a force for good or bad.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Scientist saddles up to see the best of Ireland’s wildlife

Scientist saddles up to see the best of Ireland’s wildlife

Dr Liam Lysaght who is director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford, is circumnavigating the island by bicycle in a celebration of Ireland’s wildlife.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Springwatch - Live - BBC Two

Webcam 1, Commentary & Unsprung, Extra 2014, 2014, Springwatch - Live - BBC Two



Springwatch Live from RSPB Minsmere, on the Suffolk coastline, boasts an unprecedented array of internationally important habitats, from sand dunes, shingle beaches and saline lagoons to reedbed heathland, woodland and grassland.

There will be entertainment from a colourful cast of local characters, including rare birds such as marsh harriers, avocets and bitterns, as well as Springwatch favourites - badgers, otters and red deer. Broadcasting through to Thursday 12 June

Monday, 26 May 2014

Taught Masters Scholarships & Bursaries NUIM

Fees, Funding & Scholarships

 Need to find funding for your course? In support of students undertaking postgraduate study in September 2014, NUI Maynooth has launched 2 types of Masters Scholarships:

Taught Masters Alumni Scholarships of 5,000 euros - Call for Applications now open to all graduates of NUI Maynooth (including students graduating this Summer). Closing Date 16th June 2014.

Taught Masters Bursaries - Sixty Bursaries of 2,000 euros - Call for Applications now open for all BSc/BA graduates (including those graduating in 2014) in receipt of SUSI or County/City Council Higher Education grant support for their undergraduate studies - Closing Date - 16th June 2014.​
- See more at: http://www.nuim.ie/study-maynooth/postgraduate-studies/fees-funding-scholarships#.dpuf

Monday, 19 May 2014

Trends in scholarly publishing

Trends in scholarly publishing; transcript of London Book Fair presentation - Research Information

 In his presentation at the recent London Book Fair Tom Wilkie provided an overview and update on some key trends in scholarly communication

Friday, 16 May 2014

Historic Rosetta spacecraft images target comets halo

Historic Rosetta spacecraft images target comets halo - space - 15 May 2014 - New Scientist

Rosetta launched in 2004 and was woken up in January this year after a three year slumber. Now ESA is activating its instruments and putting the probe through its paces in preparation for the final approach to the comet in August.

The craft is still 2 million kilometres away from the comet, but the pictures it took of the comet "waking up" have helped researchers determine its rotation period. It turns out the comet completes a full turn every 12.4 hours, about 20 minutes shorter than previously thought.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The impact of impact

The impact of impact - Research Information

In an article based on his presentation at the UKSG conference earlier this month, Ernesto Priego gives a researcher-focused perspective on ‘impact’



‘Impact’ is a word that is never neutral.



Researchers today are required to reach audiences inside their academic discipline and within national boundaries at the same time as reaching beyond the walls of universities and sometimes even across national and linguistic borders. In addition, there are increasing demands for student satisfaction, particularly in an age of higher education commoditisation, while at the same time there is a need for quality of both content and academic and public engagement. All of these demands impact on the time we have to do these tasks and the funds required to do it. 

The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus

Book Review: The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus by Mitchell Thomashow

In The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus, Mitchell Thomashow proposes a blueprint for making universities more sustainable. As the former President of Unity College in Maine, USA, he argues that the campus is the perfect crucible for developing ideas and action, engaging diverse communities and teaching the next generation of citizens. Jon Emmett finds a book that may not contain simple, ready-made answers to this complex question, but which is hugely engaging and accessible, and full of inspiration for approaches that could be adopted elsewhere

Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

 The collapse of the Western Antarctica ice sheet is already under way and is unstoppable, two separate teams of scientists said on Monday.
The glaciers' retreat is being driven by climate change and is already causing sea-level rise at a much faster rate than scientists had anticipated.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Dismay as Brazil recalls Science Without Borders fellows | News | Times Higher Education

Dismay as Brazil recalls Science Without Borders fellows | News | Times Higher Education

More than 100 students on Brazil’s flagship study-abroad scheme for
undergraduates and postgraduates, Science Without Borders, have been
told to return home for failing to reach entry requirements including
English proficiency.

Low PhD stipends are recruitment ‘time bomb’ | News | Times Higher Education

Low PhD stipends are recruitment ‘time bomb’ | News | Times Higher Education

Warnings have been issued about the future recruitment of British PhD
students after the director of a doctoral training centre said he was
struggling to recruit because of research council funding cuts.

Powers of Ten

Powers of Ten. Based on the film by Charles and Ray Eames. An Eames Office Website

 Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker - with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.

Powers of Ten is a 1968 American documentary short film written and directed by Ray Eames and her husband, Charles Eames, rereleased in 1977. The film depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten (see also logarithmic scale and order of magnitude).

Thursday, 1 May 2014

National University of Ireland Maynooth Ranked 74th in The Times Higher Education World's Best New Universities

National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) has today been recognised as one of the leading new universities in the world, and is the highest placed Irish university in the Times Higher Education (THE) 100 Under 50 rankings. NUIM is listed at 74th in the world, ahead of Dublin City University (84th). The ranking, which lists the worlds’ best 100 universities under the age of 50 years, aims to show which countries are challenging the US and UK as the next education powerhouses. Universities are ranked according to a range of criteria including research income achieved, reputation for teaching, numbers of PhDs awarded, the number and quality of scholarly papers and citations from staff and international outlook, including people and research. The top-ranked new university, for the second consecutive year, is Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, while institutions from Asia, Australia and the UK perform well. Eight European universities ranked in the top 100 are Erasmus partners of NUIM. Other partners of NUIM were included in the top 100, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore ranked in 8th place and the University of Maryland, Baltimore ranked in 60th place.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report was approved, and the full report accepted, by the IPCC on 30 March 2014.

The focus now seems to have shifted from reducing Greenhouse Gas emmissions to how we will adapt to the reality of Climate Change by attempting to minimise the risks asasociated with increasing temperatures.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Farm salmon pose clear reproductive threat to wild gene pools

Farm salmon pose clear reproductive threat to wild gene pools - University of East Anglia (UEA)

 Farmed salmon show full reproductive potential to invade wild gene pools and should be sterilised - according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

This is particularly interesting the light of the recent escape of some 230,000 farmed Salmon in Bantry Bay.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Better management reduces data loss risk

The impact of data loss can be staggering for research. Nathan Westgarth argues the case for better data management The loss of scientific data can have a devastating impact on careers. After moving all of his data home to write up, biologist Billy Hinchen returned one afternoon to find that his laptop and all his backup hard drives had been stolen. All that remained was a disparate collection of data, spread around numerous small flash drives, email attachments and scribbled drawings that were difficult to piece together once the main bulk of information had been lost. For the full story check out "Research Information" http://www.researchinformation.info/news/news_story.php?news_id=1522

Stem cell researcher accused of misconduct

Stem cell researcher accused of misconduct

Japan's top research body has accused the lead writer of stem cell papers hailed as a game-changer in the field of medical biology of misconduct involving fabrication.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Research datasets need to be easy to find if they are to achieve their potential impact.

Research datasets need to be easy to find if they are to achieve their potential impact.

The impact of research data is now of definitive importance for universities, funders and disciplines themselves. Similar to the wave of preprint repositories established for journal articles that helped preserve access to papers in disciplines not otherwise catered for, we are now seeing a steady stream of institutional data repositories emerging. Alex Ball provides the background for a Jisc project looking to establish a national data registry to make finding relevant data across disciplines and repositories quicker and easier.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Deep Sea Mining in the Pacific

Mining the Abyss

Pacific islanders have always been sustained by the ocean. Might it now make them rich – and at what cost?

How to Start a Conspiracy Theory on Facebook

How to Start a Conspiracy Theory on Facebook

 In a 2013 report summarizing global challenges, the World Economic Forum singled out "massive digital misinformation" as "one of the main risks for the modern society." Social networks may be structurally optimized for sharing; their structures, however, don't tend to distinguish between good information and bad. Which means that sites like Facebook aren't just a great repositories for updates from your friends and pictures of your dog; they can also be breeding grounds for rumors, lies, and conspiracy theories. "False information," write Walter Quattrociocchi and a group of colleagues at Northeastern University, "is particularly pervasive on social media, fostering sometimes a sort of collective credulity."

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

FutureLearn — Learning for Life

FutureLearn — Learning for Life

Enjoy free online courses from leading UK and international universities. Good high quality content and an interesting variety of courses, definitly worth a look.

Still-fresh remnants of Exxon Valdez oil 25 years after oil spill

Still-fresh remnants of Exxon Valdez oil 25 years after oil spill, found protected by boulders

 Twenty-five years after the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, beaches on the Alaska Peninsula hundreds of kilometers from the incident still harbor small hidden pockets of surprisingly unchanged oil, according to new research.

Official launch of Programmable City project, 25th March 2014 | The Programmable City

Official launch of Programmable City project, 25th March 2014 | The Programmable City

The Programmable City project will be officially launched on the 25th March 2014, with an all day event in Renehan Hall in NUI Maynooth.  There’s a really great line-up of speakers, so hopefully you’ll consider joining them to learn more about the project and about smart cities, ubiquitous computing, big data and how software is reshaping urban life. Complete bios and abstracts are available.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

University Ranking Watch: Reactions to the THE Reputation Rankings

University Ranking Watch: Reactions to the THE Reputation Rankings

Browse Talks | TED

Browse Talks | TED

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Can the damaged brain repair itself?

Can the damaged brain repair itself?

After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new techniques using special stem cells that could allow the damaged brain to rebuild faster.

Big Bang breakthrough announced

Big Bang breakthrough announced; gravity waves detected

Friday, 14 March 2014

Thursday, 13 March 2014

RCSB Protein Data Bank

RCSB Protein Data Bank - RCSB PDB

Biological Macromolecular Resource: The PDB archive contains information about experimentally-determined structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies. As a member of the wwPDB, the RCSB PDB curates and annotates PDB data according to agreed upon standards.

Use the RCSB PDB to perform simple and advanced searches based on annotations relating to sequence, structure and function, and to visualize, download, and analyze molecules.

Blogging can be a release from all the structural pressures corroding the creative impulse in academic writing.

Blogging can be a release from all the structural pressures corroding the creative impulse in academic writing.

Mark Carrigan
untangles the mixture of creativity and routine when academics sit down
to convey complex thoughts. Waiting for the organic moment of
inspiration when deadlines loom can be unreliable. By making blogging
his main vehicle for intellectual exploration, he was free to explore
a form of creative expression that he found intensely liberating. Is
consistent writing a matter of attentiveness to moments of inspiration
or is it also about cultivating the conditions necessary for this
attentiveness?


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Top Ten Science Stories 2013

AIT Science Blog

Posted by Michael Doheny Subject Librarian for Science at The Athlone Institute of Technology.

Office design's impact on sick leave rates

Office design's impact on sick leave rates

The effect of office type on sickness absence among office employees was studied prospectively in 1852 employees working in (1) cell-offices; (2) shared-room offices; (3) small, (4) medium-sized and (5) large open-plan offices; (6) flex-offices and (7) combi-offices. Sick leaves were self-reported two years later as number of (a) short and (b) long (medically certified) sick leave spells as well as (c) total number of sick leave days. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used, with adjustment for background factors. A significant excess risk for sickness absence was found only in terms of short sick leave spells in the three open-plan offices. In the gender separate analysis, this remained for women, whereas men had a significantly increased risk in flex-offices. For long sick leave spells, a significantly higher risk was found among women in large open-plan offices and for total number of sick days among men in flex-offices.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Humans and Climate Change

Anthropocene | Climate change | British Geological Survey (BGS)

 In 2000 the scientists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer used the concept of the Anthropocene to denote the ever increasing influence of humans on Earth.


The word has entered the scientific and popular literature as a
vivid expression of the degree of environmental change on planet Earth
caused by humans.


Humans are now drivers of environmental change on a scale that is unique in Earth’s history.


Human driven biological, chemical and physical changes to the
Earth’s system are so great, rapid and distinct that they may
characterise an entirely new epoch – The Anthropocene.

Find out more on this excellent British Geological Survey Website.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Calling scientists: send your experiment out of this world

Calling scientists: send your experiment out of this world

ESA is selecting new experiments to float in microgravity, 400 km above
the planet on the International Space. Sounds out of your reach? Submit
an exciting science proposal and your experiment could be on the orbital
complex as early as 2016.

National Biodiversity Data Centre

National Biodiversity Data Centre

 The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a national organisation for the
collection, collation, management, analysis and dissemination of data
on Ireland's biological diversity. Biodiversity data are a key
requirement for understanding our natural surroundings, for tracking
change in our environment and for gaining a greater insight on how we
benefit from, and impact upon, the ecosystem goods and services provided
by biological diversity.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Scientists say zircon gem discovered in rock in Australia is 4.4 billion years old

Crystal found on ranch confirmed as oldest piece of Earth

A 4.4 billion-year-old zircon crystal from the Jack Hills region of Australia. Now confirmed to be the oldest bit of the Earth’s crust, it is providing new insight into how the early Earth cooled from a ball of magma and formed continents just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

PolarPortal:Daily updates on surface temperatures, glacier movements and the mass balance.

Home: PolarPortal

The Danish Arctic research institutions present updated knowledge on the condition of two major components of the Arctic: The Greenland Ice Sheet and the sea ice. Daily updates on surface temperatures, glacier movements and the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet and reports on the extent of sea ice and temperatures in the Arctic Ocea.

Friday, 14 February 2014

World Bank Climate Change Report

Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience

In the report launched in June 2013, scientists look at the likely impacts on three vulnerable regions if the world continues on its current trajectory and warms by 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times by mid-century and continues to become 4°C warmer by 2100.  

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 Report

IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, is the contribution of Working Group I (WGI) to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This comprehensive assessment of the physical aspects of climate change puts a focus on those elements that are relevant to understand past, document current and project future climate change. The assessment builds on the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)1 and the recent Special Report on Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)2 and is presented in 14 chapters and 3annexes.

Monday, 10 February 2014

State of the Climate: Extreme Events mapped by year

State of the Climate: Extreme Events | NOAA Climate.gov

Climate scientists keep careful records of extreme events around the world to understand the type of climate hazards that different parts of the world are vulnerable to and whether those events are becoming more frequent or intense over time. From devastating cyclones to crippling drought, this map highlights the events that climate scientists from around the world have concluded should go down in the record books as the year's most significant. The map is an interactive version of the map compiled each year for the annual State of the Climate Report,edited by NOAA National Climatic Data Center scientists and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Massive open online courses:changing how we learn online

Moocs: changing how we learn online

The Mooc concept – which involves universities putting short courses online and inviting anyone in the world to sign up for free – took off in the US a couple of years ago and has attracted millions of learners worldwide.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Academic Database Assessment Tool

Compare Databases | Academic Database Assessment Tool

This is a useful tool to compare journal title coverage and overlaps, check two databases of interest, and submit your selection. For example you might want to see which is more useful Scopus or Web of Science !

The Academic Database Assessment Tool (ADAT) was designed to help
libraries make informed decisions about investments in major
bibliographic and full-text databases. It allows users to compare
database title holdings, as well as key features of database and eBook
content platforms.

Monday, 3 February 2014

WorldWideScience Search Engine

WorldWideScience

WorldWideScience.org is a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals. WorldWideScience.org accelerates scientific discovery and progress by providing one-stop searching of databases from around the world.

All-Island Research Observatory (Ireland)

All-Island Research Observatory | An TIonad Breathnaithe um Thaighde Uile-Éireann

The All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) is a research unit and spatial data portal focused on improving evidence informed planning in Ireland.

AIRO collects, analyses and provides evidence and tools to support better planning and decision making. The key strengths behind the AIRO team are mapping, data analytics and visualisation, policy advice, research and training.

AIRO actively works to maximise the usage and benefit of publicly funded and readily available datasets in Ireland as well as highlighting the benefits of proper collection, management and dissemination of datasets across different organisations.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Open Online Course: Marine Megafauna:an introduction to Marine Science and Conservation

Who Doesn't Like Penguins? Introducing the PLOS ONE Marine Megafauna Collection - PLOS Blogs Network

 Marine ecologist David W. Johnston introduces a new Duke University MOOC
(Massive Open Online Course) on charismatic marine megafauna, including
such popular species as penguins, dolphins and sea turtles. Offered on
the Coursera platform beginning Feb 3, Marine Megafauna: An Introduction to Marine Science and Conservation is
the first MOOC to employ a curriculum focused on the use of PLOS ONE
Open Access research, including original articles, along with field data
and multimedia.

Friday, 24 January 2014

'Child-Innovac research project develops Whopping cough nasal spray vaccine

Vaccine development for whopping cough

NUI
Maynooth’s Institute of Immunology has played a key role in the
development of a more effective vaccine for pertussis (commonly known as
whooping cough), which can be administered intranasally, making it
available to greater numbers of people at a reduced cost.



Pertussis has demonstrated a resurgence in developed countries in recent
years and the disease kills approximately 300,000 children worldwide
annually. The ‘Child-Innovac’ research project has succeeded in testing
in humans, for the first time, a live bacterial vaccine, genetically
attenuated and specifically designed to be delivered as a nasal spray
from birth. The nasal delivery introduces the whopping cough vaccine to
the mucosa in the nose, which houses front-line immune defences against
pathogens of the respiratory system. - See more at:
http://www.nuim.ie/news-events/vaccine-development-whopping-cough#.dpuf
NUI
Maynooth’s Institute of Immunology has played a key role in the
development of a more effective vaccine for pertussis (commonly known as
whooping cough), which can be administered intranasally, making it
available to greater numbers of people at a reduced cost.



Pertussis has demonstrated a resurgence in developed countries in recent
years and the disease kills approximately 300,000 children worldwide
annually. The ‘Child-Innovac’ research project has succeeded in testing
in humans, for the first time, a live bacterial vaccine, genetically
attenuated and specifically designed to be delivered as a nasal spray
from birth. The nasal delivery introduces the whopping cough vaccine to
the mucosa in the nose, which houses front-line immune defences against
pathogens of the respiratory system. - See more at:
http://www.nuim.ie/news-events/vaccine-development-whopping-cough#.dpuf
NUI Maynooth’s Institute of Immunology has played a key role in the development of a more effective vaccine for pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough), which can be administered intranasally, making it available to greater numbers of people at a reduced cost.
 Pertussis has demonstrated a resurgence in developed countries in recent years and the disease kills approximately 300,000 children worldwide annually. The ‘Child-Innovac’ research project has succeeded in testing in humans, for the first time, a live bacterial vaccine, genetically attenuated and specifically designed to be delivered as a nasal spray from birth. The nasal delivery introduces the whopping cough vaccine to the mucosa in the nose, which houses front-line immune defences against pathogens of the respiratory system. - See more at: http://www.nuim.ie/news-events/vaccine-development-whopping-cough#.dpuf

NUI
Maynooth’s Institute of Immunology has played a key role in the
development of a more effective vaccine for pertussis (commonly known as
whooping cough), which can be administered intranasally, making it
available to greater numbers of people at a reduced cost.



Pertussis has demonstrated a resurgence in developed countries in recent
years and the disease kills approximately 300,000 children worldwide
annually. The ‘Child-Innovac’ research project has succeeded in testing
in humans, for the first time, a live bacterial vaccine, genetically
attenuated and specifically designed to be delivered as a nasal spray
from birth. The nasal delivery introduces the whopping cough vaccine to
the mucosa in the nose, which houses front-line immune defences against
pathogens of the respiratory system. - See more at:
http://www.nuim.ie/news-events/vaccine-development-whopping-cough#.dpuf
NUI
Maynooth’s Institute of Immunology has played a key role in the
development of a more effective vaccine for pertussis (commonly known as
whooping cough), which can be administered intranasally, making it
available to greater numbers of people at a reduced cost.



Pertussis has demonstrated a resurgence in developed countries in recent
years and the disease kills approximately 300,000 children worldwide
annually. The ‘Child-Innovac’ research project has succeeded in testing
in humans, for the first time, a live bacterial vaccine, genetically
attenuated and specifically designed to be delivered as a nasal spray
from birth. The nasal delivery introduces the whopping cough vaccine to
the mucosa in the nose, which houses front-line immune defences against
pathogens of the respiratory system. - See more at:
http://www.nuim.ie/news-events/vaccine-development-whopping-cough#.dpuf

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

ESA’s ‘sleeping beauty’ wakes up from deep space hibernation

ESA’s ‘sleeping beauty’ wakes up from deep space hibernation

It was a fairy-tale ending to a tense chapter in the story of the Rosetta space mission this evening as ESA heard from its distant spacecraft for the first time in 31 months. Rosetta is chasing down Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where it will become the first space mission to rendezvous with a comet, the first to attempt a landing on a comet’s surface, and the first to follow a comet as it swings around the Sun. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Elsevier issues take down notices for articles posted on Research Gate and Academia.edu

Posting Your Latest Article? You Might Have to Take It Down – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Guy Leonard received an unpleasant surprise in his inbox early this morning: a notice from Academia.edu saying it had taken down a copy of an article
of his that he’d posted on the research-sharing platform. The reason? A
takedown request from Elsevier, which publishes the journal in which
the paper had appeared.



Monday, 20 January 2014

Snowball Earth !

BBC Nature - Snowball Earth videos, news and facts

Snowball Earth describes a theory that for millions of years the Earth
was entirely smothered in ice, stretching from the poles to the tropics.
This freezing happened over 650 million years ago in the Pre-Cambrian,
though it's now thought that there may have been more than one of these
global glaciations. They varied in duration and extent but during a
full-on snowball event, life could only cling on in ice-free refuges, or
where sunlight managed to penetrate through the ice to allow
photosynthesis.

Oxfam reports an increase in global economic inequality

Working for the Few | Oxfam International

Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of
the population, and seven out of ten people live in countries where
economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years. The World
Economic Forum has identified economic inequality as a major risk to
human progress, impacting social stability within countries and
threatening security on a global scale.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Irish contribution to space race to go on display to public

Irish contribution to space race to go on display to public
 A small part of the 1960s space race will soon go on display in Ireland, an experiment that flew to the moon in April 1972 with Apollo 16. Irish scientists devised and developed the experiment with colleagues in California.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

EU bee shortage threatens crops

EU bee shortage threatens crops
 Scientists believe that a boom in biofuels has sparked a massive increase in the need for pollination.
The shortage is particularly acute in Britain which has only a quarter of the honeybees required.
Researchers believe that wild pollinators including bumblebees and hoverflies are making up the shortfall.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Teagasc has launched its newly developed Open Access repository

T-Stor: Home
 Teagasc is the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland. Its mission is to support science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and the broader bioeconomy that will underpin profitability, competitiveness and sustainability.

Flooding and public policy

Drowning in money: the untold story of the crazy public spending that makes flooding inevitable
Every year billions are spent in Britain and Europe on policies that actually cause greater flooding through a seeming ignoring of the available evidence.

Monday, 13 January 2014

FutureLearn- Free Online Courses

Browse courses — FutureLearn
 Future Learn offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.  Topics include Climate change, sustanability, Forensic Science, Shakespheres Hamlet, Cancer and the influence of Genes. These are short online courses that require a committment of a few hours a week. The content looks really good and they are provided by a number of different partner universities. It seems like a great way to showcase those Colleges involved.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Lough Neagh has lost three quarters of its winter water birds

Wildlife Extra News - Largest lake in British Isles has lost three quarters of winter water birds
The study, by Quercus, Northern Ireland’s Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, found the number of diving ducks migrating to the lake for the winter months has dropped from 100,000 to less than 21,000 in the space of a decade.
 The research, published in the journal Freshwater Biology, found the ecosystem of the lake has dramatically changed since 2000/01 leading to a huge decline in the numbers of insects and snails living at the bottom of the lake. This combined with the effects of global climate change dramatically affected the numbers of migratory and overwintering water birds, a feature for which the lake is designated a Special Protection Area.

HEA Publishes Detailed Profiles of Higher Education Institutions | Higher Education Authority

HEA Publishes Detailed Profiles of Higher Education Institutions | Higher Education Authority The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has published a detailed set of profiles of Ireland’s universities, institutes and colleges, which include a breakdown of enrolments, disciplinary mix, participation levels, internationalisation, research and knowledge transfer performance, staff profiles and institutional funding. The document will give a very transparent picture of Irish higher education today and will be updated annually. It is designed to support higher education institutions in their strategic performance management in order to maximise the contribution of each both to the formation of a coherent higher education system and to national development. It will also be of benefit to students, parents, guidance counsellors, business and academia as a reference guide to the performance of Irish higher education.

Higher Education Authority publishes new system for measuring third-level institutes’ performance

Higher Education Authority publishes new system for measuring third-level institutes’ performance
The performance of each of Ireland’s third-level institutions can be compared in unprecedented detail with the introduction of a new performance-profiling system published by the Higher Education Authority.
While it effectively allows a form of “ranking” of Irish institutions, this is not the intent behind the system, according to the team that developed it.
“We wanted to support high-quality strategic planning,” said lead author Muiris O’Connor of the authority’s statistics unit. “We felt that the best way to achieve the appropriate balance between institutional autonomy and accountability was to focus on the transparency of performance throughout the third- level education system.”

Friday, 3 January 2014

International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base – 2013 | SciVal

International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base – 2013 | SciVal
The UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned Elsevier to assess the performance of the UK's research base compared with seven other research-intensive countries (Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US), three other fast growing nations (Brazil, Russia and India) and other international benchmarks. It tracks investment in, and performance of, the national research system in an international setting, combining a variety of indicators to present a multifaceted view of the UK’s comparative performance in research as well as the trends that may affect its future position.

First comprehensive global-impact project shows that water scarcity is a major worry

Water risk as world warms   (Nature,505,10–11 ())
 
Although many researchers had modelled various aspects of the global-warming elephant, there had been no comprehensive assessment of what warming will really mean for human societies and vital natural resources. But that changed last year when Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and other leading climate-impact researchers launched the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project. This aims to produce a set of harmonized global-impact reports based on the same set of climate data, which will for the first time allow models to be directly compared. Last month it published its initial results in four reports in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1–4. These suggest that even modest climate change might drastically affect the living conditions of billions of people, whether through water scarcity, crop shortages or extremes of weather.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War

The Brookings Essay
In a new Brookings Essay, eminent historian Margaret MacMillan compares the world today with the one that was shattered in 1914, with the start of World War I.

Not breaking news: many scientific studies are ultimately proved wrong!

Not breaking news: many scientific studies are ultimately proved wrong!
Most theories are eventually consigned to the rubbish heap, but this is scientific business as usual. 
Dr Sylvia McLain (who runs a biophysics research laboratory in Oxford) responds to John Ioannidis, professor of medicine at Stanford who recently published a report in PLOS Medicine entitled "Why most published research findings are false".