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The University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom is facing criticism after it used information about scientists’ research income and publication records to identify redundancies. In a statement to Nature’s news team, the university says that a five-year average of research income was used to identify researchers whose jobs could be at risk, and that “a range of factors that might remove colleagues from the pool of those potentially at risk were then considered, including the contribution of positive citation metrics where appropriate”. Critics say these quantitative measures of performance concentrate too much on publication records while failing to acknowledge other types of work, including teaching, committee work and peer review.
Paediatrician Rachel Levine has been sworn in as the assistant secretary for health, one of the top health roles in the United States. The former Pennsylvania health secretary is the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the country. Researchers familiar with her work laud her drive to improve the health of marginalized people through conventional public-health measures and by trying to remedy inequities arising from social and political factors. “COVID-19 has shown us the tip of the iceberg of the lack of health equity,” Levine told Nature last September.
Features & opinion
Synthetic diamond, developed as an industrial work-horse, is increasingly used for sensing applications that make use of its unique quantum characteristics. Diamonds are so strong that they can protect fragile quantum states that would otherwise survive only in a vacuum or at ultra-cold temperatures. Engineers are mastering the art of growing diamonds with special properties and detecting their quantum spin, opening up applications in biosensing, magnetometry and quantum computing.
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