When good work is not rewarded

December 12, 2003

A unique Greenwich University research centre could be hit by funding policies despite its exemplary work with industry, according to the Lambert report.

Greenwich's Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology is the only research centre in the UK that concentrates on the technologies of storing and handling powdered and granular solid materials in bulk. The techniques are vital to companies in the business of shipping large quantities of drugs or food products.

The centre, set up 30 years ago, works in a niche research field - embracing chemical, mechanical, civil and process engineering - and has attracted strong interest from the commercial sector, including the chemicals, oils, food and minerals industries and, in particular, the drugs industry.

GlaxoSmithKline was a partner, with United Biscuits and sugar manufacturer Tate and Lyle, in a consortium that pumped £1.5 million into the centre to help develop technologies to prevent damage occurring to products when moved in bulk.

But the centre, which has 20 staff, including researchers, engineers and technicians, received a 3a rating in the last research assessment exercise - too low in the seven-point research quality scale to attract any public research funding.

"If Greenwich's research funding is cut because of a fall in its quality rating, it may be difficult to maintain the centre's basic research and associated technology transfer activities," the Lambert report says.

Alan Reed, director of the Wolfson Centre, said: "We are in the bizarre situation where we find ourselves doing very good business with industry but get no support for infrastructure from the government. Businesses come to us expecting well-funded laboratories and equipment, and they don't expect to have to pay for that as well."

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns