Stronger university involvement in defence research is likely to follow the Government's decision to turn its major non-nuclear defence laboratories into an "agency" operating at arm's length from the Ministry of Defence. The change in status is seen as the key to improving links between the defence industry and universities. The MoD has been keen to bolster academics' contribution to military development since the launch of its joint grants scheme with the research councils in 1985.
The University of Oxford's equal opportunities' code of practice has failed to prevent a drop in the number of women in academic posts, according to members of the university's Women Tutors' Group. Despite the code, approved in 1987, and a battle to outlaw a University Grants Committee-imposed age limit of 35 applied to an earlier recruitment scheme, statistics show that the overall proportion of academic posts held by women at Oxford has dropped by 0.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent.