NPC/03/11/C: Department of Trade and Industry, Academic Fellowship Review

This section...

Also in Consultations 2003...

by Tim Brown

1. Will this scheme attract a sufficient number of good candidates to long-term academic careers? (Page 9).

We think this will be an attraction in terms of the training and prospects available, although this will only be suited to those pursuing an academic career. Those wishing to pursue a career path that has a combination of academia and industry (which can be beneficial to both sectors), may prefer the option of contractual research where they are not making long term commitments. This scheme also has limits in terms of the mobility of researchers. Another limit on flexibility is where it may be otherwise easier to attain a lectureship at an earlier stage.

2. Are there any groups of individuals that you feel would benefit from this scheme but that would not be eligible because of their current status? (Page 9)

We do identify that there are some students close to completing a PhD who may only require a few months of writing up. We would recommend that people close to completion with suitable referees are granted eligibility since they will have sufficient research experience to carry out an academic fellowship, and may not have completed on time through no fault of their own. It is quite common that many in this situation will enter employment or a research fellowship on the condition that they are close to completion.

3. What sources of funding are likely to be available in the first two years of the Fellowship award for returners or other individuals who do not currently receive salary support? (Page 9).

No Comment

4. Do you anticipate any problems in obtaining the agreement of the other funder(s) to enter into a partnership agreement with the Fellowship funder for the first two years of the award? (Page 9).

No Comment

5. Are you aware of any existing schemes (e.g. for outreach or teaching) that could run in parallel with the fellowship scheme? If so, please provide details.
(Page 13).

We are aware of funding from the European Commissions 6th Framework, which does not appear to have been considered here. We would suggest that this scheme could be integrated to provide mobility for a researcher during the course of their fellowship. This would enable a researcher to create an effective knowledge exchange and enhance their academic career significantly.

6. Can you think of any further information that the HEI should be asked to provide at the point of application? (Page 13).

No Comment

7. Do you have any suggestions to make about the assessment criteria? (Page 13).

No Comment

8. Please give an indication of how many individuals your institution is likely to nominate in the first year, and annually thereafter. (Page 13).

No Comment

9. In what disciplinary areas do you see this scheme being most useful and why? (Page 13).

It is our expectation that this will be most popular in the science and engineering fields, although we do encourage this to be facilitated in the social sciences and even the arts. We would therefore urge that some allocation is given to these disciplines.

10. Are there any other comments you wish to add? (Page 14).

We encourage this as an important career path that a research student has to undertake. It is encouraging that the SET for success report has encouraged standards to be introduced in supervision and training. This is important for setting the career path of the doctoral student and we would encourage that this is integrated into a lifelong learning agenda as research students progress into an academic career. We would encourage also that the training is set to meet the wide diversity of the research student, and likewise the wide diversity of graduates that will result.