Campus round-up

December 20, 2012

Plymouth University

Global business links

Business and finance students will have the opportunity to take part in a cross-Atlantic exchange thanks to a new partnership. Officials from Plymouth University have signed a memorandum of understanding that will lead to its business school working closely with the University of Massachusetts Boston's College of Management. The two institutions will share expertise in a partnership involving student exchange programmes and collaborative research initiatives, as well as exploring the potential for entrepreneurial projects and joint degree programmes. Plymouth already has international links with institutions in Brazil, China, India, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

Writtle College

Locals gobble up college turkeys

Turkey orders for the third annual sale by Writtle College have been accepted since November, with a complete sell-out predicted owing to local demand. Around 150 turkeys have been roaming around the college's farm since the summer, fattening themselves up in time for Christmas. The award-winning KellyBronze turkeys are bred in Danbury by Paul Kelly, who was granted an honorary doctorate at Writtle College earlier this year in recognition of his services to the agricultural industry. "It's great to have Writtle College rearing KellyBronze turkeys. It makes it even more pleasurable knowing that students are getting involved in the 'tender loving care' it takes to produce them," he said.

University of Bedfordshire

Airport art exhibition takes off

Holidaymakers using London Luton Airport have the chance to visit an exhibition of Latvian prints produced by students from a local university. The prints, produced by Latvian students and alumni from the University of Bedfordshire's art and design department, cover themes of distance, travel, nostalgia and folk tale and are on show in the airport terminal's Gateway Gallery. The students first showcased their prints at an exhibition held at the university earlier this year, which was opened by the Latvian cultural attaché. The exhibition will run until late January 2013.


Generational joblessness 'a myth'

The idea that there are families in the UK with three generations that have never worked has been questioned by a study. Researchers from Teesside University and the University of Glasgow carried out intensive fieldwork in Middlesbrough and Glasgow but were unable to find any such examples of extreme welfare dependence. Robert MacDonald, a professor in Teesside's School of Social Sciences and Law, said that even two generations of worklessness were "very rare". Families were "committed to the value of work and preferred to be in jobs rather than on benefits", he said.

Newcastle University

Attracting some of the best

More than 20 new scholars have been appointed from eight countries as part of a business school's recruitment effort. Newcastle University Business School has appointed a director of school, three professors, senior lecturers and research associates in what it describes as a "drive to attract world-leading academics". New faculty members hail from Austria, China, Greece, Iran, India, Mauritius, Estonia and the UK. Chris Brink, Newcastle's vice-chancellor, said: "Attracting academics of this calibre is proof of the school's growing reputation and its global ambitions."

King's College/Imperial College

Historical move

A university has acquired a prestigious research unit from its London neighbour. The Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine will move from Imperial College London to King's College London's department of history in August 2013. The centre topped the tables for history in the 2008 research assessment exercise and boasts a strong record in winning high-profile grants. An endowment of more than £2.5 million will be provided by the Arcadia Fund - set up by Tetra Pak heir and historian of science Lisbet Rausing - to King's to fund MA and PhD studentships within the centre. The centre's founding director David Edgerton, Hans Rausing professor at Imperial College, said he was "delighted King's is committing to this investment in the history of science, technology and medicine".

Kingston University

Former reader wins Turner Prize

A former academic has won Britain's most prestigious art prize. Elizabeth Price, a reader at Kingston University's School of Fine Art until 2010, was presented with the Turner Prize by the actor Jude Law on 3 December. Ms Price, who was also once the lead singer of the 1980s indie band Talulah Gosh, won for her video installation The Woolworths Choir of 1979, which juxtaposes footage of a fatal fire in a Manchester branch of Woolworths with ecclesiastical architecture and 1960s pop music. Ms Price joined Kingston in 2005 as a fellow of its Stanley Picker Gallery - an appointment vital for her development as a video artist, she has said. "I had no track record in that field and didn't have a high profile, so I wasn't an obvious contender for the fellowship. It was a great opportunity for me."

University of Leicester

Drugs are here to stay

The continuing availability of the ingredients of many recently banned "legal highs" demonstrates the impossibility of legislating drugs out of existence, researchers have argued. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, scientists from the University of Leicester's Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute analysed the constituents of 22 "legal highs" now marketed as research chemicals, plant food or bath salts. They found that mephedrone and related substances were present in many of the products. Tammy Ayres, lecturer in the department of criminology at Leicester, said: "This research demonstrates that...prohibiting these substances does not stop their supply or use."

De Montfort University

Researchers go to the grave

Academics are helping a local history group to develop an interactive tour of a Victorian cemetery. The researchers from De Montfort University's Digital Building Heritage group will team up with the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery in Leicester. The cemetery group recently won one of the Heritage Lottery Fund's inaugural All Our Stories grants, launched earlier this year in collaboration with the BBC TV series The Great British Story. The academics will help develop a mobile phone-based virtual tour of the cemetery, which is the resting place of virtually everyone who died in Leicester during the Victorian period, including tourism pioneer Thomas Cook.

University of Wolverhampton

Science at heart of overhaul

A new science facility will be at the heart of a university's £45 million redevelopment of its city campuses. The University of Wolverhampton's plans for its campuses in the city centre include a £25 million science building, which will open its first phase in September 2014, as well as a new £15 million home for the university's business school. The developments are subject to planning approval. Geoff Layer, vice-chancellor, said: "We are approaching the coming year with a new emphasis on science and engineering provision and that fits in with the industrial and manufacturing heritage of the region."

Coventry University

Sport England commends activity

A university's part in a multimillion-pound National Lottery-funded campaign to encourage students to take up sports has been highlighted in a report by Sport England. Sports staff at Coventry University are using the campaign - called Active Universities - to offer a range of unusual sports such as ultimate frisbee and korfball to pique students' interest, as well as traditional sports such as tennis and golf. More than 46,000 students from 49 universities in the UK have taken part in the campaign, and in the first year of the initiative, Coventry emerged as one of the most successful - it has now attracted more than 840 students, staff and members of the public and exceeded its participation target by 143 per cent.

Stars of wonder

Researchers are scouring the sky for previously unseen starburst galaxies, which create the stars that populate the Universe in short-lived but intense events. University of Sussex astronomer Seb Oliver, alongside US Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher Jamie Bock, led the HerMES project, an international collaboration involving seven UK universities, to create a census of hundreds of these galaxies. Using the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory and Keck telescopes in Hawaii, astronomers measured the temperature, distance and brightness of dusty galaxies such as the Cygnus X region in order to calculate star formation rate and how that has changed over the Universe's 13.7 billion-year history.

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