Jobwatch: City's practical bid

June 11, 2004

The 'university for business and the professions' is putting £4 million behind its effort to attract high-flyers specialising in applied research to take it to a new level. Chris Johnston reports

City University is investing £4 million in new research positions, ranging from chairs and senior research fellowships to research assistant positions and PhD studentships.

The jobs, advertised in last week's Times Higher , are located in various schools, including informatics, social sciences, arts, the Cass Business School, the Institute of Law and St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Julius Weinberg, City's pro vice-chancellor for research, says the appointments reflect the university's ongoing commitment to research. In the past five years, its research budget has almost doubled to £9 million.

He says many high-profile researchers have been attracted to City. In the past two years, centres for food policy, charity effectiveness, psychometrics and comparative social surveys have moved to the university.

"We wish to build on that success. We are particularly good at research with practical applications and look forward to growing our reputation for research excellence," Professor Weinberg says.

City has in the past "underperformed" compared with the research achievements of similar-sized universities. But Professor Weinberg believes it is now much closer to the sector average and he hopes that the university will exceed the average in future.

The appointments will be made with one eye on the next research assessment exercise, Professor Weinberg says. "Different schools are at different stages of development - we have some 5* departments but others are not yet at that level. We have left it to the schools to decide what is most important to them. Some have gone for professorships and chairs while others want studentships."

City's research tends to be practical rather than blue-skies. Two senior research fellows are sought for the School of Nursing and Midwifery, one in sexual health and the other in mental health.

The Business School, which earned a 5 in the last RAE, is recruiting nine research assistants in areas including organisational behaviour and empirical corporate finance.

Meanwhile, the School of Informatics is seeking to appoint chairs in artificial intelligence, geographic information systems and a number of other fields. Professor Weinberg says the number of appointments will depend on the quality of applications received.

Some 40 per cent of City's 11,000 students are postgraduates - one of the highest proportions in any university in Britain - and Professor Weinberg says this makes it particularly attractive to academics.

Many students also achieve professional accreditations while studying, highlighting City's reputation as "the university for business and the professions".

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