Sunday, 31 December 2017

Fundermentals Top Ten of 2017

As we stumble towards the end of 2017, our heads spinning with fake news and fake news about fake news, it's time to look back and think: well, we've got Trump and May, but at least Fundermentals is still doing lookalikes.

Yes, readers, the world may be a bizarre place at the moment but there are certain things you can rely on. And so, as 2017 shudders to a halt, we take a look back at what's tickled your fancy in the year of covfefe.

1. ECRs: Positioning yourself for a fellowship. The most popular post of the year was a write up of a session run by Kay Guccione from Sheffield on the results of her research project, 'Fellowships Ahoy!'. It looked at what early career researchers could and should be doing to position themselves for applying for - and getting - fellowships.

2. 'The Productive Researcher' by Prof Mark Reed: a review. I'd managed to get hold of a review copy of Mark Reed's new book. Reed is well known for his work on impact, but here was looking more broadly at how to do more with less. An interesting and useful guide.

3. 'Are you - or have you ever been - a victim of anti-Brexit bias?' Third in our list is the first joke post. Article 50 was triggered in March, and the intervening months haven't inspired great confidence in the ability of David Davis et al to negotiate a good deal for the UK. At the same time the running dogs of Brexit - such as the Daily Mail - reached a fever pitch of witchhuntery. In October they sought out all those academics brainwashing innocent students with anti-Brexit propaganda, and asked their readers to shop them in. I was only too happy to oblige.

4. Impacting Parliament: giving MPs the information they need. This was a guest post from Maddy Bell, the Impact and Engagement Officer at Kent, looking at what academics should do to effectively engage with parliamentarians and make sure that their research can be used by those who have the ability to change the political and legal landscape.

5. Notes from the Wellcome Trust Visit. Roger Blake and Paul Woodgate from Wellcome visited the University in February, offering a heads up on what was on the Trust's horizon, as well as insights into how they currently work, and some hints and tips on how to apply to them.

6. The Three Rules of Impact. At number six is a second impact-related article. This time it's the Award Winning Julie Bayley, queen of impact, talking about the three basic rules when she took part in a 'Maximising Impact' event at Kent in May.

7. Reviewing Peer Review. This was originally published on Funding Insight, and summed up how our internal peer review system was working, and what I'd been doing to review it and improve it.

8. Responding to Reviewers' Comments. A perennial issue for those applying is how to respond to the reviewers' comments that they receive when they submit their proposal to external funders. It's easy to rant and point out reviewers' stupidity, but Profs Sally Sheldon and Mick Tuite spoke to us about what would be a better and more productive response.

9. Schrodinger's REF. 2017 saw the publication of guidelines on REF2021, and it offered rich pickings for satire. HEFCE was treading a fine line in trying to please all, to such an extent that you thought it was doing the impossible, and managing to accommodate polar opposites. Schrodinger stepped up to help out.

10. What BBC Celebrity Can I Swap my VC for? And finally, another joke piece to round up the 10. 2017 saw two big news stories about pay: what BBC celebrities get, and what VCs get. It made sense to compare and contrast, and see whom we can get for our money.

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