Collaboration and coincidence

by Alex Hulkes

History has been described as ‘just one damn thing after another’. Data on the other hand is often ‘lots of damn things all at the same time’. This blog highlights not one but two new damn things appearing on the ESRC website at the same time, each containing many sub-damn things all of which happened at the same time, or nearly so. Continue reading

Where has all the money gone?

by Alex Hulkes

The concept of ‘place’ is a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy. Knowledge, capabilities and skills might be rather abstract things but in the end they act through and on people who have a physical presence in a place or places.

We’ve just published some new analysis of ESRC regional spending (PDF) which links the intangible inputs and outputs of ESRC funding with their physical and geographical placement.

Continue reading

Life, the universe and everything

by Alex Hulkes

Presumably ‘How many ways are there to travel between UK research council interfaces?’ isn’t a question that Douglas Adams had in mind when he was writing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But there are seven research councils, which means that the number of directions that can be taken is 42 (that’s n(n-1) if there are n councils and the direction of travel matters). All of which serves merely to provide a preamble to this blog, which looks at one aspect of cross-council application behaviour. Continue reading

A disciplined approach to disciplines

by Alex Hulkes

If you were to guess what proportion of the ESRC portfolio reflected thinking from, or somehow related to, more than one discipline, what figure would you come up with?

We tried this experiment in ESRC, and came up with a figure of around 60%, but that was based on gut feel. Happily, ‘gut feel’ isn’t the basis for our decision making. Neither are dowsing or entrail reading, and someone has lost the corporate copy of the I Ching. Continue reading