By Jeff Hawkes
New plans to rejuvenate working conditions for Ph.D. students in the UK were revealed today, receiving a poor reception. The plans are being introduced due to an explosion in PhD student recruitment over the past few decades.
“It used to be that having a degree was fantastic for ones employment opportunities, but over the years the UK has allowed the value of higher education to decrease and become gradually less relevant to a candidates eventual job. Now go-getting youngsters who want to ‘get the edge’ on their rivals are having to earn an extremely specific research doctorate in order to apply for any job earning more than minimum wage”, said social analyst Frank Bosser.
“We’re expecting that over the coming years the average Joe will need some years of teaching experience at university level in order to leave higher education with any employment prospects whatsoever”. It’s quite a normal ‘educational inflation’ effect when there aren’t enough jobs to go around and so people by default continue to get more qualifications. The problem is that the universities stay the same physical size, so ‘something’s gotta give’” Continue reading ‘Battery’ PhD students to increase UK university productivity by ‘up to 75%’ →
DEFRA report shows the massive pressure that is being put on UK marine science by commercial interests: from setting the research agenda, to running public services for profit, and the desire to dismantle public bodies such as CEFAS and the Met Office.
Continue reading The future of marine science in the UK: It’s all about the money money money… →
There is a strong chance that the proposed merging of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) with the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is going to harm the UK’s ability to conduct climate change research. There is also a suspicion amongst many that the NOCS/BAS merger ‘consultation’ is just for show, and that the decision has already been made to merge the two institutions. It is perhaps fitting then that veteran of phony ‘democratic’ processes, former democrat presidential candidate (and Vice-President) Al Gore, has decided to weigh in with his opinion on the matter: Continue reading An Inconvenient Merger: Al Gore has his say on the NOC/BAS merger →
Based on a discussion that took place at Challenger 2012
In an opening speech that, thankfully, did not contain one utterance of the hateful phrase ‘going forward’ (I was poised ready to count them), Professor Ed Hill (director of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton) talked about future challenges for funding UK oceanography: this talk, from the outset, felt like it was going to be depressing! Continue reading Up ship creek: More bad news for UK oceanography →
Disclaimer: The following post may not be factually accurrate
Ben Fogle’s attempt to swim the Atlantic, in a wetsuit that will capture information about various aspects of the ocean, has reportedly given the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) an idea for their next round of budget cuts. In a world exclusive, head of NERC, Barry Bureaucracy, revealed to Words in mOcean that the new plans would see “oceanographers given the opportunity to form themselves into ‘one-man swimming research vessels’, freeing up millions of pounds for the Tory government to put directly into bankers’ pockets”. Under this proposal, NERC’s current fleet of research ships (RRS Discovery, James Cook, and James-Clark Ross) would be converted into luxury yachts and sold, at knock-down prices, to hedge-fund managers and Russian billionaires.
Continue reading One-man swimming research vessels set to save UK a fortune →
The UK was arguably the pioneer in the field of oceanography: James Cook included information on the oceans in his report on his famous voyages between 1768 and 1779; around about 1800 James Rennell wrote the first textbooks about currents in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans; Sir James Clark Ross took the first sounding in the deep sea in 1840; and the Royal Society sponsored the Challenger expedition (1872–76), the first true oceanographic cruise (laying the foundation for the field), traveling 70,000 nautical miles, resulting in a 50 volume report covering biological, physical and geological aspects of the ocean. Continue reading UK government hangs oceanography out to dry →