Blessed unions

October 20, 2011

What a refreshing and encouraging article by Janet Beer and Avril Horner on collaborative research ("A winning pair", 6 October). Although I am from the other end of the disciplinary spectrum - an engineer and research professor with collaborators in Aberdeen, India and China - so many of their points resonated with my experience.

Over the years, collaborations with students, younger staff and older, senior academics (eg, the late Professor W. Johnson) have enriched my own research. Like Beer and Horner, I am encouraged that the Higher Education Funding Council for England, in its Assessment and Guidance on Submissions document for the forthcoming research excellence framework, was sufficiently enlightened to include the statement about collaborative research they cited. I trust the subpanels are cognisant of this.

In these potentially Luddite and self-interested times, it is refreshing that the values extolled and so eloquently described by Beer and Horner, and applicable to academe as a whole, have been given this platform.

Steve Reid, Sixth century research professor of dynamic structural mechanics, University of Aberdeen

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