For the record

March 30, 2001

UK split in student numbers
People under 21 in Scotland and Northern Ireland are more likely to go to university or college than under 21s in the United Kingdom. More than 40 per cent of them entered full-time higher education in 1999, compared with just over 30 per cent per cent for England and Wales.

Overall, in the UK 32 per cent of young people started higher education courses in September 1999, compared with 31 per cent in 1998 - when tuition fees were introduced - and 33 per cent in 1997.

Imperial Cancer chief heralds a new era
The government's launch of a National Cancer Research Institute marks the beginning of a new era, according to Sir Paul Nurse, director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.

The virtual centre will coordinate work across the United Kingdom.

Bioinformatics key to genetic data potential
The government, education funding councils and research councils should make training and research into bioinformatics and statistical genetics a priority if the full health benefits of future genetic databases are to be realised.

The recommendation comes in a report on human genetic databases published yesterday by the House of Lords science and technology committee. It backs a proposal by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust for a database of 500,000 individuals to investigate links between genetics and health in a large population.

Family and friends pay tribute to Selby victim
Family, friends, colleagues and students will gather at Teesside University next Tuesday in memory of academic Steve Baldwin who was killed in the Selby rail crash.

Professor Baldwin, a professor of psychology at Teesside, was internationally recognised as an expert in the areas of drug, alcohol and cigarette addiction.

He also set up a clinic at Teesside University to help young people who had been prescribed the drug Ritalin - as treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit disorder - to find alternative treatments.

Architects to design more tempting courses
The Royal Institute of British Architects is revamping its curriculum in a bid to dust off the image of the profession and enable architecture students to demand better courses.

The new syllabus will be presented to students, parents, the government and academics. It will include case studies and anecdotes from students, aimed at giving prospective students a clear view of the profession.

Psychology will hold centre stage, says don
Psychology is poised to play a much more central role in society, Tommy MacKay told the British Psychological Society in his presidential address on Wednesday.

Dr MacKay, who holds an honorary post at Strathclyde University, said larger numbers of students were studying the subject than ever before and the society was enjoying record membership. "If we do anything short of placing psychology at the heart of the human agenda, then we settle for too little," he said.

Website leads the way to grants and bursaries
A website that offers to match students with 200 sources of bursaries and grants was launched last week by the "hotbot" search engine. The site has stumped up the money for 100 bursaries of between £50 and £2,000.


Shortage in science teaching under inquiry
An inquiry into the shortage of maths and science teachers in secondary schools is due to start in the next few weeks.

The study, funded by the Standing Conference on Studies in Education, will focus on undergraduates at several northern universities and their attitudes to becoming teachers. It will look at how many lessons are being taken by teachers without specialist qualifications.

High-tech lab will aid Alzheimer's research
An £18 million project to build state-of-the-art laboratories for neuroendocrinology research at Bristol University has been given the go-ahead.

The Dorothy Hodgkin Building is being funded by more than £8 million from the Wellcome Trust and £10 million from the university. It will help Bristol's scientists forge new approaches in the treatment of stress-related, hormonal and psychiatric diseases and Alzheimer's disease.

UUK stands firm on flexibility in declaration
Universities UK will today press for any reforms to the Bologna Declaration, on the comparability of European qualifications, to be flexible.

It wants any European qualifications framework to recognise that, in the United Kingdom, masters degrees are postgraduate courses that are separate from undergraduate programmes.

It also wants to keep four-year undergraduate courses in the sciences, which lead to qualifications such as the MSci, MPhys and MEng, as coherent and integrated programmes rather than splitting them into bachelors and masters stages.

The meeting, at the University of Salamanca, Spain, aims to identify how institutions wish to shape their future.

Red light for redheads, fair share for fairhair
Edinburgh University dermatology professors prefer blondes, at least for their latest research project.

Jonathan Rees, who has carried out research into the genetics of red hair, is focusing on fair hair in a bid to discover why people's skin reacts differently to sun depending on hair colour.

"Curiously, for all the jokes about dumb blondes, we can hardly say anything sensible about blonde hair," he said.

Professor Rees was once black-haired, but says he is now grey and balding.


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