Fionn Murtagh’s Blog

Themes: information economy, intellectual property, research

Archive for March 2010

System Level Mapping of UK Universities: Research and/or Business Orientation

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In relation to trends in the UK higher education sector, it is interesting to see that financial health goes hand in hand with either (1) research funding, from non-funding council sources, and swayed towards the life and biosciences; or (2) specialist, business orientation.

So it seems from financial health and safety data published in the Times Higher on 18 March 2010: see M. Newman, “Ready for the storm?”.

I analyze this data in “System level mapping of economic health of UK universities and other higher education institutes”. I look at 155 universities, based on their 2008-2009 financials.

Interesting to probe beneath the surface and to note some current trends!


Written by Fionn Murtagh

2010/03/28 at 13:26

System Level Mapping of Policy Decision-Making: the Case of Research Funding

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I gave the Sixth Annual Boole Lecture in 2008 and the paper resulting from it has now been published. It is entitled “The Correspondence Analysis Platform for Uncovering Deep Structure in Data and Information”, and appears in the Computer Journal, vol. 53, no. 3, 304-315, 2010.

I show how information focusing is carried out, i.e. determining where the data is put under the analytic microscope. One issue addressed is coverage and completeness of technological sector domains by SFI CSETs (Science Foundation Ireland’s Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology). Two further CSETs came into being since my lecture and paper – CLARITY on the sensor web, and Systems Biology Ireland. Twelve SRCs (Strategic Research Clusters) that had started at that time – now there are 20 – were similarly analyzed for sectoral completeness and coverage.

Another issue addressed is evolution of funding decisions over time. The Research Frontiers Programme, RFP, was analyzed in terms of Computer Science grants over the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, comprising, respectively, 14, 11, 15 and 17 research grants.

In this work, I wanted to show how the narrative of science and engineering policy – the story that policy decisions have to tell – can be mapped out from the raw data. The orientation of such narrative is supremely important, and never more so than now during these years of economic doldrums. Knowing the orientation of the narrative allows us to chart out a course towards the future upswing.

Written by Fionn Murtagh

2010/03/24 at 21:54