Wakeham weirdness

April 27, 2008

This evening I have been drafting our submission to the Wakeham review – both the Departmental submission, and the Vice Chancellor’s submission, which of course I have the honour of having been asked to draft … The questions are quite striking. After Q1=”name please” (oooo der hard ones first eh…) we go straight into

Q2 Please list and describe five examples of non-academic impact that have stemmed from research carried out by members of your department …

Wow. It takes until Q9 before we get to the expected “so, is STFC crap or what ?” question. (Of course many of my colleagues are looking for the “so is EPSRC crap or what ?” question … you can stare at EPSRC documents all day trying to decide whether your grant application should fit into “digital economy” or “securing the future”…

Over at the VC questionnaire this looks like a key question :

Q3 : Has the focus of research in your Department had to be adjusted to attract students and ensure long term viability ?

Of course ! We hire nothing except astronomers, because this gets thousands of punters in. We tell them at interview they are almost certain to meet Heather Cooper at some point, or possibly just Chris Lintott. Meanwhile, every one of these astronomers demands a personal eight metre telescope.

My favourite though is Q12 on the Departmental submission :

Q12 : Please detail the number of staff in your Department that have received senior management training.

Jeez.