News in brief

June 20, 2013

Funding and donations

Archive of pain nets £1m grant

The world’s oldest archive devoted to the Holocaust and the Nazi era has secured a £1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to safeguard its outreach work. Established in Amsterdam by Alfred Wiener in 1933, the Wiener Library was transferred to London in 1939 and was extensively consulted by Allied governments and the BBC during the Second World War. Its unique collection of more than 2 million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and records of eyewitness testimony. Under the terms of the grant, the library must undertake a fundraising drive to match the awarded sum. The library already hosts more than 100 public events each year.

Welsh higher education reform

Future favours the bold: Labour

The Welsh government has said that it will look into “radical” innovations in higher education, including compressing undergraduate degrees into two years. In a draft policy statement released last week, the Labour administration sets out the priorities for the sector up to 2020. Welsh universities “need to plan now for a more unpredictable future”, the document says. “Radical innovation may be required and we need to be bold in our thinking.” Proposals for the development of “new ways to support postgraduate study” include trialling two-year undergraduate degrees followed by year-long master’s courses funded from statutory student support. The document also raises the possibility of cutting the number of research institutions in the country. The statement coincided with a week-long campaign by Welsh universities highlighting the sector’s economic contribution.

Global collaboration

Five years of scholarly threesomes

The US and the UK have unveiled an initiative to improve international cooperation between universities. Launched at a joint press conference in Washington on 12 June, the UK-US Global Innovation Initiative will support university collaboration between the UK, the US and emerging nations over the next five years. It will aim to establish up to 40 trilateral partnerships involving 120 universities worldwide in its first year and up to 200 partnerships over the five-year period. Funding will come from the US State Department and the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the British Council. Details of the initiative will be announced in October when the first call for proposals is made. The first grants are scheduled to be awarded early next year.

Graduate employment

The jump on jobs starts sooner

Students are starting their search for graduate jobs earlier than ever, a survey has revealed. Forty-one per cent of finalists say that they made at least one job application to a graduate employer almost a year before graduation, according to a poll of more than 18,000 students at 30 UK universities by High Fliers Research, published on 13 June. This compares with the 37 per cent who said they applied early – in September or October of their final year – in 2011, 31 per cent in 2009, 28 per cent in 2006 and 25 per cent in 2001, The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2013 says. The number of job applications made by students while still at university rose to 7.1 on average compared with 5.7 three years ago, according to the survey, which polled around one in five of all finalists in 2013.

Online now

Last week’s interview with Martin Hall, the University of Salford’s vice-chancellor, where he tackled questions on recent upheavals at the institution, was a popular story online. Commenting on the article, Fanis Missirlis took issue with Professor Hall’s assertion that he could not “shore up a national policy failure from one small university”. “Can this be interpreted as an admission that university management teams in the UK have been closing departments and sacking academics because the UK government has encouraged or allowed them to do so?” he asked.

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