|Not for dilution?|
On the subject of nicknames, this weblog has received a conference report from someone who is quite literally nicknamed, in that her name is Nic: none other than the Katonomist herself, Dr Nicola Searle, who quite fortuitously happened to be at the 10th anniversary conference in honour of a very special academic IP institution. No doubt tearing herself away from the subtle delights of whisky-flavoured pineapple chunks, she has kindly penned the following for our (and your) delectation:
The 2012 SCRIPT Conference: Notes from Auld Reekie
To celebrate ten years of funding and a turning point for the Arts and Humanities Research Council Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law at The University of Edinburgh (SCRIPT), the centre held a conference last week. Academics and legal practitioners from around the world spent three days in a rather damp Edinburgh, discussing all things law as related to intellectual property, health and information technology.
The economists were far and few between, but we identified each other via our secret handshake. Unfortunately, my cover was quickly blown and I spent the conference introducing myself apologetically. It was, however, very reassuring to find that lawyers disagree with each other as much as other disciplines. An underlying theme was a tension between black-letter law and more flexible approaches. Based on my limited experience, there appears to be a positive correlation between age and support of black-letter legal positions.
The conference started with an early-career researcher’s workshop. As it was referred to, “early-career researcher” events are a bit like sitting at the kid’s table at dinner. At least you get to drink. However, we were all sobered up by the depressing statistic that only ten percent of post-doctoral researchers will progress on to permanent research positions. Given that only 30% (at least in the sciences) of doctoral students obtain postdoctoral positions, that suggests that less than four percent of doctoral students will gain permanent academic positions. More depressing details here.
second day of the conference brought in a mix of senior figures. The first keynote was from Baroness O’Neil who discussed trust in the media via an examination of regulation of speech content and regulation of speech acts. A panel discussion by Dr Nikolas Thumm, Sir Robin Jacob and Professor Graham Dutfield, chaired by Professor Hector MacQueen looked at approaches to regulating IP. The panel did not solve our IP tensions in their allotted two hours, but did highlight unease with the evidence in evidence-based policy and the role of IP in developing countries. I had to restrain myself from cheering when Dr Thumm called for more economists in IP.
The big surprise of the conference was the evening dinner and ceilidh. It turns out that lawyers can dance. And dance. And dance. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen an eminent professor dosado.
The final day looked at openness and secrecy. It began with keynote speaker Lord Inglewood advocating a flexible approach to regulation of media and secrecy. The afternoon had another interdisciplinary panel discussion of Copyright, Technology and Culture with Will Page, Professor Martin Kretschmer, Professor Andrew Murray, Professor Phillip Schlesinger and Robin Rice chaired by Professor Charlotte Waelde. A key theme was that the state of the creative industries is changing far faster than both policy and academic culture.
Overall, the conference had a reflective feeling of looking back at the past ten years of scholarship in law of IP, health and IT combined with a look forward at how policy might evolve. The SCRIPT centre itself will continue as a research hub and has upcoming projects on Authority, Authorship and Voice and Identity and Technology. Your Katonomist looks forward to attending future SCRIPT events and, in the meantime, will be working on her Dashing White Sergeant.