Beware old slackers 1

December 1, 2006

I agree with Tim Birkhead (Working Knowledge, November 24) that the research assessment exercise can promote petulance in academic high-flyers, but why single out colleagues on prestigious research fellowships?

Most of these folk were in academic short trousers in 2001, and there are good arguments to be made that the RAE will underestimate their contribution when compared with researchers whose output spans the full assessment period.J My suspicion is that as a sergeant-major, Birkhead's former head of department had fewer problems with the brats and more with the commissioned officers.

Harry Mellor.
Reader in biochemistry
Bristol University

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