After lunch on Day 2, at which every foodstuff seemed to be battered (I wasn’t complaining at the time but I’m planning lots of gym visits this week), it was time for a panel discussion on support for research. Considering this was the traditional post-lunch sleep slot I think the panel (Val Stephenson, Head of Research & Learning Support at LJMU, Stéphane Goldstein (RIN), Professor Andy Young (Director of Research at LJMU), and David Glauert (Academic Account Manager at Thomson Reuters) did a good job of keeping our attention.
- Institutional research outputs are crucial.
- Funding cuts affect research support as well as research itself.
- Research is publicly funded so researchers have to demonstrate the value of their research to ‘UK plc’.
- Dissemination of research beyond journals and books is now required in order to prove research value and benefits.
- The quality of research output needs to be assessed more than it is at present.
- Librarians should be involved in the process, ensuring researchers (particularly new ones) are briefed about where to publish their research in terms of journal rankings.
The panel was followed by more sponsor presentations, after which delegates were free to explore the sights and sounds of Liverpool. Some went over to Anfield, others went on a Museum and Galleries or architecture tour, while the remainder shopped around ‘Liverpool One’ or slept! As always, I opted for a mixture of the last two.
That evening’s Gala Dinner (sponsored by Thomson Reuters) proved once again to be one of the highlights of the conference – the venue: Liverpool Town Hall. After a photocall on the stairs for all delegates we headed out to the balcony where the Beatles enjoyed their triumphant homecoming in July 1964 (an evening which was dubbed by the press as ‘the Night of a Thousand Screams’).
After a further photo call, this time for the committee (we don’t scrub up too badly do we?!) we headed into the main dining hall which was suitably grand and impressive.
Feeling a little overawed by the room I was pleased to get my Chair’s speech out of the way early on. The meal was fantastic and incorporated the best lamb I’ve ever tasted and one of the richest desserts. After lots of great food and equally good company we returned to the hotel by 11pm, where the idea of buying champagne was quickly shelved when we discovered the cheapest bottle was £115!
A relatively early 12 o’clock bedtime for me that night, as I wanted to make sure that my final AGM as Chair, the following morning, was going to go without a hitch.