Strikes, skills and robo-research

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Research England has commissioned a study of whether artificial intelligence could be used to predict the quality of research outputs based on analysis of journal abstracts, in a move that could potentially remove the need for peer review from the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Elsewhere, there are concerns that the Boris Johnson government’s pledges for a big increase in research spending could come under pressure as the Truss administration seeks savings, perhaps via a new spending review, to help fund its plans to limit energy bills

International News

Academics at leading Russian and Slavic studies departments from universities across North America and Europe are reporting 30% - 50% declines in enrolment figures for elementary Russian, while increases are being reported for other Slavic languages including Polish and Ukrainian; the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is thought to behind the shift in student interest.

Industrial action

This week strikes by university administrators, cleaners and other non-academic staff members began at 16 UK universities after Unison members voted to reject a 3% pay award from the University and Colleges Employers Association in May.

Student issues

Universities UK has urged the UK government to use its upcoming emergency budget to introduce more measures that will provide direct support for students, who risk being ‘forgotten’ in the cost-of-living crisis.

And finally, as freshers’ week begins up and down the country there is an interesting and amusing read from a university security guard, arguing that each academic discipline has something to offer when it comes to teaching freshers all important life skills!

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