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Initiating research careers in Maths HoDoMS 7 th April 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Initiating research careers in Maths HoDoMS 7 th April 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Initiating research careers in Maths HoDoMS 7 th April 2006.

2 Initiating research careers Doctoral training Postdoctoral fellowships First grants

3 Mathematical Sciences Programme Priorities The exploitation and generation of new knowledge are both recognised as key components of research; Researchers can develop skills and build research capabilities to address challenges now and in the future; Collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines or in other countries is welcomed and encouraged; Current and future leaders of research are motivated and supported

4 Doctoral Training “The panel found that a typical UK PhD Programme is of shorter duration and more narrowly focused than those in other countries. As a result, new PhDs from the UK usually have less breadth and experience than their peers from other countries and have difficulty competing for research fellowships and academic posts” -IRM Panel

5 PhD training Universities responsible for quality EPSRC –is only one of the resource providers –cannot require universities to change their teaching strategy –can choose to distribute our resources to those universities that we believe provide the best training

6 PhD training Need to maximise the resources we have to benefit the UK Pump priming PhD taught course centres –pilot programmes –EPSRC funding short term (one-off) –Any investment conditional upon the universities committing to a continuing effort after the initial investment Closing date 25 th May Courses available to their first intake of students Oct 07.

7 PhD taught course centres Aim –Add breadth and/or depth –Raise the international academic profile of the UK PhD –Add value to existing provision As a result PhD students should be –Broadly trained, competitive in international market –Making mature/informed decisions about future research

8 PhD taught course centres How –This is up to you –Deliberately flexible within some constraints –Not one size fits all Subject focussed / broad Regional / national Real/virtual Centres provide leadership –Improving quality –Sharing best practice and expertise –Access to students from a range of institutions

9 Doctoral Training Accounts- Why? To provide universities with maximum flexibility in managing their research studentship population. Wide range of options in the way that funds are used. –offer stipends above EPSRC's required minimum, –offer longer support if a project requires it –can switch funding to other areas of related expenditure, such as consumables, travel, conferences, external training courses and career guidance –can be used to provide taught elements –pool with other departments and/or leveraged against industrial funding –can be used for MRes –offer summer internships for 2 nd year undergraduate In Maths there is also some level of guaranteed income for most departments- so you can appoint the best students at an early stage

10 DTA Allocation Mechanism All Departments with any current or announced research grant or fellowship income from the Mathematical Sciences Programme at (1 September 2005) are eligible to receive DTA funding. There is an INSTITUTIONAL threshold of 3 studentships, below which the DTG is not announced. Any doctoral training money earned and not awarded is held (“in the bank”) and added to the next year’s allocation.

11 How can I increase my department’s studentship funding from EPSRC? Research grants jointly funded with other EPSRC Programmes earn DTA funding via the algorithm Project studentships on research grants (can be 4 years) Maths CASE CASE for new academic appointees

12 DTA Allocation Mechanism Current mechanism developed by Adrian Smith et al prior to the introduction of DTAs in An algorithm based on research grant income is not an appropriate way of allocating the Mathematical Sciences Programme doctoral training grant funds Training resources allocated primarily on the basis of data and information provided by departments, advised by peer review.

13 DTA Allocation Mechanism the amount of funding a mathematical sciences department receives from this exercise is determined by the information in the proforma, taken with data provided by EPSRC, judged against the published criteria.

14 Example: Research Environment and Departmental Strategy Department provides details of –New appointments –research and student recruitment strategies, –joint research training with other departments –marks of research distinction including esteem factors and non-EPSRC fellowships, –major non-EPSRC research funding, –external research collaborations etc. –Number of mathematical sciences students irrespective of funding source. EPSRC provides: –Number and value of EPSRC research grants funded through the Mathematical Sciences Programme. –No. of EPSRC Postdoctoral, Advanced and Senior fellowships.

15 DTA Allocation Mechanism- Resources Baseline for all departments based on 80% of previous years allocation from the Mathematical Sciences Programme (total allocations can include DTG funds from other EPSRC Programmes) unless this takes the allocation below 1 studentship (£60k) when baseline is zero. First two years allocations based on studentship pool data. Redistribution of top-sliced 20% to move away from historical profile & reward excellence in training

16 DTA Allocation Mechanism Messages from departments and the allocation panels that: –Profile no longer accurate –Based on data now approaching 10 years old –Time for a re-evaluation, or comprehensive review of the allocations

17 DTA Allocation Mechanism – the way forward? Programme to decide the allocations to departments “from the bottom up” –NOT via an algorithm –When? RAE 2008? –What data would be needed to do this properly? –What should the criteria be? –What happens in subsequent years? Do you think this is a good idea? SAT+ consultation later in 2006.

18 Postdoctoral Fellowships Awarded to talented young researchers to enable them to establish an independent research career directly or shortly after completing their PhD.

19 Postdoctoral Fellowships – 2006 awards

20 Postdoctoral Fellowships: 2006 exercise

21 Postdoctoral Fellowships 77% of applicants rejected before interview 20% of applications sift rejected before panel Consequences –high cost (time & money) of: Preparing application, including JeS, HoD time etc. Peer review of low quality PDF applications How to: –Reduce number of low quality applications e.g. Departmental “cap”- but disadvantages to this too –Increase number of high quality applications e.g. Support from departments – shown to increase funding rates e.g. Kent 50%

22 Early career researchers- new appointments First grant funding rates: By numberBy value 2003/0438% 2004/0554%55% 2005/06 (approx)49%50%

23 Early career researchers- new appointments First grant applications –Some excellent, others disappointing –Should never be a badly written proposal Make contact with EPSRC at an early stage –Mock panels –Departmental visits (team or APM) How to nurture early career researchers?

24 Summary and Key Messages Early stages of research careers vitally important for achieving future goals Investment in pump priming taught courses Rethinking the DTG allocations profile to better reflect current situation Need to reduce numbers of low quality PDF applications Support for new academic appointments


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