News in brief - 19 September 2013

September 19, 2013

Transcontinental research collaboration
US leads in long-distance affairs

US academics are more likely to work with peers outside America than European researchers are to link up with those outside Europe, a study says. But when they do work with colleagues outside the Continent, European researchers get a proportionally greater citation boost than US researchers, according to the report by Science Europe and the publisher Elsevier. Both Europe and the US have experienced steady growth in their overall collaboration rates since 2003, the study shows. Comparative Benchmarking of European and US Research Collaboration and Researcher Mobility, published on 12 September, found that 30 per cent of US articles were co-authored with academics affiliated to institutions outside the US, compared with an equivalent figure of 23 per cent for Europe.

Survey of extracurricular activities
Go North for nightlife

Universities in the North have the most varied nightlife, while London institutions are rated highly for their political scene, a survey suggests. The consumer group Which? used views from more than 16,000 undergraduates to find the best and worst rated universities for sports, creative activities, students’ unions, politics and nightlife. Universities in large northern cities – including Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds – scored highly for the diversity of their nightlife. But other institutions in smaller conurbations, including Durham University and the universities of Cambridge, Chichester, St Andrews and Winchester, scored poorly on this count. The highest-ranked universities for political activities were made up largely of those from the research-intensive Russell Group, but also included smaller London-based institutions including Soas and Goldsmiths, both part of the University of London. The top-ranked sporty universities included Loughborough, Bath and Durham.

Anglia Ruskin’s Greats programme
Helping industry help graduates

A university has secured more than £150,000 funding for a scheme aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses to recruit talented graduates. The funding for Anglia Ruskin University, awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will support the institution’s “Greats” – Graduate Recruitment Employability and Training Supply – programme. The scheme hopes to help SMEs that want to recruit skilled graduates but lack the resources to train and support them properly while they are employed. It uses initiatives such as a six-month training course to give companies the equivalent of an in-house graduate scheme.

Mental health research
Patient input boosts study success

Involving patients in mental health research programmes increases the likelihood of recruiting a target number of people, a study has found. By implication, this increases the chances of a study’s succeeding and of its running on time and on budget, say the paper’s authors from King’s College London. The research found that studies that included collaboration with patients in designing or running the trial, initiated by researchers, were 1.63 times more likely to recruit to target than those that only “consulted” patients. Studies created through the highest level of patient involvement were 4.12 times more likely to recruit the requisite number, it found. Impact of Patient Involvement in Mental Health Research: Longitudinal Study analysed 374 studies registered with the Mental Health Research Network.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

Last week’s article about young researchers’ “unrealistic” hopes of academic careers attracted many tweets and comments. The principal reaction seemed to be not outrage or fervent agreement, but a sense of despair. “This cheered me up…” was the ironic assessment of @Jen_Breck. Meanwhile, “Ana” expressed her wish that the article had been published when she undertook her PhD. “I worked really hard and in my Viva I was congratulated by the panel on the quality of my research and passed without corrections,” she wrote on our website. “However, I couldn’t get a job in any university.”

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