Chemistry research needs vocal industry support
1 July 2013
In an article published in Royal Society of Chemistry News today, Prof Richard Catlow (Executive Dean of UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences) outlines why chemical research needs to be recognised by industry.
This summer, the government's Research Excellence Framework (REF) will assess the quality of university research across the UK, in order to guide funding and policy decisions for the next five years. At the heart of the exercise is measuring the 'impact' of research - a term which covers broad social and economic outcomes of scientific research.
Providing evidence and case studies of research's impact is important, but sometimes difficult. This is particularly problematic when that impact exists in the world of industry, where the open culture of academia gives way to one of commercial confidentiality.
"To show the full impact of chemical research in the UK," Catlow writes, "university departments must have help from industry in the coming months."
University departments must have help from industry in the coming months
Prof Richard Catlow
"Strong case studies will require evidence, and in many cases industry is the only source of really hard evidence. I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I ask our colleagues in industry to please be as generous as they can in sharing this evidence and to remember that it will be treated confidentially."
In the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 (the predecessor to the REF), UCL was acknowledged as a centre of excellence in chemistry, with 65% of the assessed research staff being graded as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', the two highest categories.
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