The UK National Ecosystem Assessment was published in 2011 and now a Follow-on report has been produced. The main emphasis is on tools to aid decision makers in developing policy tools and strategy: natural capital; an updated land use change model that included biodiversity; valuation of cultural ecosystem services; forward scenarios; embedding knowledge for policy; and adaptive management principles.
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The UK House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has reported on its inquiry on Food Security. The Inquiry makes a range of recommendations relating to better planning for crises as a result of weather or other events; planning for increasing global food demand; climate change impacts; organic food; genetically modified crops and other issues. The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seen as having a key role.
Government response was published in October 2014 - gives breakdown figures for research expenditure on food science.
The Geological Society of London has produced Geology for Society, an advocacy report on geology covering: economy, energy, water, food, ecosystem services and environmental change. Reference to geology in education, but not to public engagement and cultural value.
A new global biosphere model has been produced as a result of collaboration between UNEP-funded scientists and Microsoft - the Madingley model - http://www.madingleymodel.org/index.html
Harfoot MBJ, Newbold T, Tittensor DP, Emmott S, Hutton J, et al. (2014) Emergent Global Patterns of Ecosystem Structure and Function from a Mechanistic General Ecosystem Model. PLoS Biol 12(4): e1001841. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001841
The UK House of Commons Science and Technology committee has published a report on its inquiry into Government Horizon Scanning. This concludes that current efforts have weaknesses, citing the separation of efforts from the new Cabinet Office hub (created following the Day Review) and the established Foresight Unit in the Government Office for Science. One area of difficulty is on terminology, with horizon scanning, futures analysis, visioning and other ideas being only approximately defined and used interchangeably in some cases. External engagement is recommended as a key development to provide challenge and broader perspectives.
The UK government has responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's inquiry on Women in Scientific Careers. The government response highlights various initiatives - the recent Call to Action; the Equality Challenge Unit; Athena Swan and a range of others. Much of the response points to these, to the activities of RCUK, and to the independent role of universities in deciding on initiatives to foster scientific careers for women.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has initiated an independent review of the use of metrics in research assessment with an emphasis on four areas of interest:
a. Identifying useful metrics for research assessment.
b. How should metrics be used in research assessment?
c. ‘Gaming’ and strategic use of metrics.
d. International perspective
Deadline for submissions 30 June 2014.
The 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DoRA) represents a commitment by individual scientists, funders and institutions to adopt a sophisticated approach to the assessment of research quality, including avoiding the use of Journal Impact Factors. It states that decision-makers should "For the purposes of research assessment, consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications, and consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice". It also states that publishers should "Make available a range of article-level metrics to encourage a shift toward assessment based on the scientific content of an article rather than publication metrics of the journal in which it was published."
In order to support this, an initiative has been trialling digital taxonomies that should enable researchers to clearly identify the nature of contributions to papers. A comment piece in Nature outlines initial analysis and an ongoing consultation and development approach for the following taxonomy of roles
- Study conception
- Formal analysis
- Investigation: performed the experiments
- Investigation: data/evidence collection
- Data curation
- Writing/manuscript preparation: writing the initial draft
- Writing/manuscript preparation: critical review, commentary or revision
- Writing/manuscript preparation: visualization/data presentation
- Project administration
- Funding acquisition
Allen, L., Scott, J., Brand, A., Hlava, M. & Altman, M. (2014) Publishing: Credit where credit is due. Nature 508, 17 April 2014 312-313.doi:10.1038/508312a