A visit to the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Last week I visited colleagues that continue to work at my former department. I and others had our affiliations severed following the restructuring of SBCS in 2012. My trip coincided with the publication of the names of individuals (and their contributed papers) representing SBCS in a major UK government evaluation, known as the REF. It is therefore unsurprising that conversations centred, amongst other things, to an evaluation of the REF outcomes for the department and the effects the restructuring had on its performance. Some of the comments I heard are difficult to transmit without placing valued colleagues or myself at risk of further reprisals. In this category I place important matters such as the wellbeing (health) of friends who have been put under “performance management” or subjective views on the dramatic shift in what is being valued and rewarded within the restructured department.


πολιτικοποιημένη μυγοσκοτώστρα

Είναι σωστό και λογικό
μερικά δικά μου προβλήματα
αδιάφορη να σε αφήνουν.

Κι ούτε σε ποίμα σύνηθες είναι να γράφονται
τέτοιου είδους σκέψεις
που εδώ ακολουθούν.

Μα, ελπίζω το γνωρίζεις ήδη,
στους συνηθισμένους δε συγκαταλέχθηκα ποτέ.


New facet of scientific illiteracy

In Mexico, bean-counting is also referred to as puntitis (Jorge Quevedo) or cuentachilismo (Marcelino Cereijido). My local colleague and celebrated author has created with his student Claudia Edwards a three-paragraph gem on the stupidity of bureaucratic managerialism in science. You can read it in Spanish here. The text is so good that I have translated the 5 concrete examples of “modern” stupidity below. The international reader will instantly see that the crisis Pirincho (as Marcelino is also known to his friends) describes is by no means a “third world” problem.


Οι Ζουρμπίν

Σοβιετική λογοτεχνία. Εφτά χρόνια μετά τη νίκη του κόκκινου στρατού εκδίδεται από τον Βσέβολοντ Κοτσέτοφ το μυθιστόρημα για την οικογένεια των Ζουρμπίν. Τα περισσότερα μέλη της (τρεις γενιές) εργάζονται σε διαφορετικούς τομείς των ναυπηγείων. Απ’ όλους, μόνο ο προπάππους Ματβέϊ γνώρισε τη Ρωσία πριν την επανάσταση

Επίσημη έναρξη της προεκλογικής περιόδου

Αναγνώστρια, αναγνώστη, καλή χρονιά!

Σκέψεις μου μετατρέπονται σε ερωτήματα και αποτελούν ιδία κριτήρια ψήφου: τι θέλουμε να παράγουμε σε κάθε τόπο και συνολικά ως χώρα και για πιο σκοπό. Σε ποια κατεύθυνση και πάνω σε ποιους ανθρώπους, ποια τεχνολογία, ποιες πρώτες ύλες βασίζουμε την οικονομία της χώρας. Με ποιο τρόπο είναι καλύτερα να πέρνουμε – και όταν χρειάζεται να αναθεωρούμε – τις σχετικές αποφάσεις.


pythonesque success

Hell, everyone should be extremely pleased (I hope that you are)
cause we has done incredibly well!
While accepting (in the next little while) a diverse way of presenting
what the Ref has set in display
let us congratulate ourselves for none the less & none the more
¡the Queen is ninth in the (w)hole!

Such concentration of expertise once existed,
its random slaughter offset by poaching
when vanity management prevailed, slackers weeded out
and now Biology ranks 23rd, likely the UK department most renown!
as we savoured the mindless managerial rampage spread
and while nobody expected the holy Spaniards in their bed
the inquisitor appeased himself in the mirror: “How does the Head of School fair?”
“Incredibly well.” Time to open the champagne!

Only please, when setting targets for the new year,
bear in mind that they should be absolutely clear
for the goal has been – do not forget the rallying cry –
to be in the top five, or perhaps the top ten.
Looking for a new VP, then, to start, once again,
Dante’s ecliptical danse until the end.