Joined-up nonsense

July 28, 2011

Having read the joint statement from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Research Councils UK and Universities UK on impact, published undated on the RCUK website, I wondered if Laurie Taylor had moved from Poppleton to take up a post in academic administration. No such luck.

It begins by stating that these bodies "have a shared commitment to support and promote a dynamic and internationally competitive research and innovation base that makes an increased and sustainable contribution, both nationally and globally, to economic growth, wellbeing, and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge". It continues with similar succinctness. Taylor would never meander so pointlessly without some compensatory satire, and that alas was missing.

Am I alone in deploring such vacuous verbiage from the most senior ranks of the UK's research establishment? Our international competitors will surely conclude that they have little to fear from UK academic research, as their paymasters believe that one of their most important tasks is to ensure "that our approaches to supporting knowledge exchange are joined up".

Donald W. Braben, Honorary professor, University College London

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