New talent of all ages

February 5, 2009

Your article "Nurture new talent, RAE panels say" (22 January) reports that the panels for the 2008 research assessment exercise expressed concern over a lack of funding for "new talent" and the failure of universities to nurture "the newest academics".

"Young academics lack the money and support to help build a career," states the article, while the RAE development studies panel is reported as saying that "younger staff are often in short/fixed term posts". Somehow, "new" research talent and "new" academics have become "young".

As a postgraduate who is no longer young, I find it frustrating that early-career academic researchers and teachers are almost universally thought to be young. There seems to be little room in the academy mindset for those who have opted for this path later in life. Surely it is time to reconsider such ageist attitudes.

Geraldine Perriam, University of Glasgow.

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