Farewell mutterings 1: decentralised Britain

This October I’m moving back down under, to the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University, Brisbane. Over the next couple of months I’m going to post reflections on some of what I’ve learned in my 11 year stint in UK academia – reflections on the academy itself, on British politics and policy, and so on. I will be nice, promise. One often … Continue reading Farewell mutterings 1: decentralised Britain

Hiding behind transparency: the UK government online information strategy?

In the last ten years, one of the great things about being an academic has been the explosion of public information available online. While I miss aspects of browsing through dusty archives and stacks, it’s been an awrful lot easier and an awful lot quicker to go to the relevant department or ministerial website and download some policy papers at a few clicks of the … Continue reading Hiding behind transparency: the UK government online information strategy?

The academic year: my top 10 (part 2)

But wait! There’s more! My top 10 continued… 6. The article that brewed for 8 years. As an academic you get used to rejection. It happens. A lot. For reasons that range from the incisive to the insane via the merely bewildering. This year I finally got an “accept” from a top-ranked journal, Environment and Planning C, for an article that I first started working … Continue reading The academic year: my top 10 (part 2)

The academic year: my top 10 (part 1)

Whew. Week 10 of the Summer Term has come and gone. That’s the end of teaching although not the end of work, what with PhD students to look after, articles to write and review, a couple of book chapters to get on with… …oh, all right then, the students have gone so I’m off on holiday for three months. Happy now? Hmph. Anyway, it might … Continue reading The academic year: my top 10 (part 1)

US Senate restricts funding of political science: the barbarians at the gates

On Wednesday, the US Senate voted to prohibit — yes, prohibit — funding for political science projects through the National Science Foundation except those that the NSF Director “certifies as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.” My mind is so boggled by that I have to keep re-reading it to check that it’s true. If you doubt me, check out … Continue reading US Senate restricts funding of political science: the barbarians at the gates

Why I am angry about academic references

There is perhaps nothing more important to would-be PhD students than the Kafka-esque processes of applying for money. While universities and funding agencies are good at publishing guidelines, they are often terrible at making those guidelines intelligible to outsiders, especially when it comes to explaining what it is that selection panels are looking for.  The criteria are often deliberately obscure, some instructions seemingly contradictory, the … Continue reading Why I am angry about academic references