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athe

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  1. Perhaps, if you also had a lot of extra time.
  2. athe

    Vampire House Sucks Owner Dry

    Considerably more I'd have thought. My father-in-laws 3 bed house in the countryside has burnt 3k of oil in the last year. He reckons it'll be worse next year given the recent price hikes.
  3. I'm curious - in calculating your coupon price, Have you allowed for the replacing other all kit every ten years, maintenance, insurance costs etc mentioned by someone else above? That would seem to shift the equation a little if true. I know from my own experience that if you are running complicated equipment you need to allow about 5 - 10 % of the capital cost per year for upkeep.
  4. There's no need to break the contracts if that would be too onerous. A PFI windfall tax would be the way to go if you wanted to claw funds back.
  5. I don't remember signing a contract to that effect myself.
  6. athe

    Tuition Fees

    No - entirely heartfelt!
  7. I have several friends who work or used to work in big pharma. A considerable number of their ideas come out of academic research, and are then taken on in prototype form and put through the trials by the company. In addition these companies also spend a reasonable whack on academic research themselves - buying in expertise in some niche area if you like. I am sure that this is counted in the stats feeding back into the worthiness of academic funding.
  8. 40% in perpetuity did seem high to me, although of course drug companies doing medical research do make obscene profits. I would imagine that it would be almost impossible to quantify this in any real respect as there are, as they point out above, so many ways in which investment in research interacts with the rest of the economy. I think about the closest you can come to it is to look at which countries have the highest gdp, manufacturing output, etc and compare it to research input, allowing for a multiphase lag between research input and manufacturing output (for instance training an engineer in R&D will have a short lag, taking something from discovery to profit may lag by decades (something I discovered in the mid nineties is just entering the monetisation stage and will hopefully be a product by 2015 - a twenty year lag - for what it's worth the company projections are that over the projected lifespan it should profit them by between 10x and 50x (worse case and best case) the total R&D input, if there are no snags between now and then (which there may be - about 1 in 5 products make it from where we are now to the market in this sector))).
  9. athe

    Tuition Fees

    I'm amazed my looney leftist defense of lecturers hasn't create the usual intense howl of derision. Does anyone come on the current affairs board...
  10. athe

    Tuition Fees

    I'll have to take issue with that I am afraid. Lecturers salaries are significantly less than they used to be, twenty or thirty years ago (with appropriate inflation correction). Workloads are significantly higher (I worked 7 days a week, 16 hours a day for the whole of September for instance - keeping on top of things in the first month of the new academic year, whilst also needing to fulfill my research and admin roles). Lecturer to student ratios have worsened. There is no longer time to keep on top of your subject as well as you ought (this is not school teaching where everything you need to discuss was discovered years ago). Income per student is down. etc etc. Pensions not as nearly as good as public sector pensions (although admittedly better than many private sector) and are fully funded by the pension members rather than being tax payer supported. In terms of cost - it does not cost significantly more to educate a University student than it does to educate a School student for a year. Engineering and Science courses are more, but then they have to support labspace with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment that needs to be kept working and reasonably up to date (if it to have any relevance to future work). Simply to put a half decent oscilloscope on the desk of each pair of students in a first year electronics or physics course would cost 10 to 20 grand. Obviously you are not buying that every year, but there are vast arrays of equipment requirements to teach a STEM University course. Then there are all the costs you never think about - the photocopying budget to provide things like problem sheets, lecture handouts etc, is astronomical. Thousands per year keeping a relatively good selection of required texts in the library. Software fees for hundreds of computers at once. Keeping and maintaining computer labs. Providing appropriate lecturing, small group teaching and tutoring space for 10 to 20 thousand students. It goes on and on. For what it's worth at the moment it currently costs my department about 3k a year more than we can charge to educate a EU student. The difference is made up by taking ever larger numbers of non-EU students.
  11. Perhaps that is why there are so many performance related bonuses these days. But certainly I know plenty of people (eg in IT, accountancy, law) where you have to negotiate for your pay and if you get a raise it does not imply that anyone else did.
  12. Same in mine, but it is rare and goes through the uni council to be voted on I believe.
  13. Ah well there's his problem. An advanced fellowship is supposed to be a gateway to a full lectureship position - ie to give you five years when you don't have to worry about funding and can get on with building a group and doing research. If he had to go back to a postdoc after that he must have either screwed up or had very bad luck.
  14. I guess that must vary by uni. HR asks us (the academics) what the spine point to cost for, and we typically try to match the previous if funds allow. I'd agree with the sentiments in the second sentence!
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