For the record

July 27, 2001

Charities back away from Nottingham
The Association of Medical Research Charities has asked Nottingham University to delete a press release with the headline “Association of Medical Research Charities backs Nottingham’s stance on donation”. But it was still on the university’s website this week with a new headline.

Nottingham ran into controversy when it accepted £3.8 million funding from British American Tobacco in December.

The Cancer Research Campaign, a member of the AMRC, withdrew £1.5 million funding for building work at the university in February.

SNP calls for aid for asylum seekers
Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish National Party’s enterprise and lifelong learning spokesperson, has called on the Scottish Executive to allow asylum seekers access to individual learning accounts.

Wendy Alexander, Scotland’s enterprise and lifelong learning minister, told Mr MacAskill in a written answer that under ILA regulations, individuals who did not live in Scotland permanently must ordinarily live within the European Economic Area. Mr MacAskill said he believed the regulations could be interpreted “more liberally” without the need for legislative change.

New chief appointed for synchrotron project
Gerhard Materlik has been appointed chief executive officer for the Diamond Synchrotron project to be based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire.

Professor Materlik, who takes up his seven-year appointment in October, has been running the X-Ray Free-Electron Laser project since 1995 at DESY laboratory in Hamburg.

The Diamond synchrotron, designed to supersede the X-ray source at Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, is a collaboration between the Office for Science and Technology, the Wellcome Trust and the French government.

Security reviewed after theft at Bodleian
The Bodleian library, part of Oxford University, is reviewing its security measures after 17th-century theological books, worth £20,000, went missing. Police are investigating the theft and antique book traders have been put on alert.

£6m to make Scottish research commercial
The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has announced an annual £6 million scheme to help researchers turn projects into commercial reality.

The money comes from merging Shefc’s funding for continuing professional development and its “professionalisation of commercialisation” grant.

Edinburgh and Glasgow universities will be the biggest winners, each standing to gain more than £1 million this year.

N. Ireland department changes its name
Northern Ireland’s department for higher and further education, training and employment has changed its name to the department for employment and learning. Minister Sean Farren said he believed the renaming “effectively and equably” represented the department’s key areas.

Imperial fined £25,000 for causing viral risk
Imperial College London has been fined £25,000 and ordered to pay more than £21,000 costs for exposing workers to possible infection from a virus for which there was no known cure.

John Monjardino, who was in charge of the work, ignored safety guidance from the college, and from the Health and Safety Executive, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

The college pleaded guilty to failing to apply principles of good microbiological practice and good occupational safety, and breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Dominic Grieve, defending, said Professor Monjardino was no longer allowed to conduct research.

Medical applications freefall
The government has sought to minimise the fall in medical school applications by blaming a 1998-99 rule change. Applications have been falling alarmingly, with a 30 per cent fall between 1999-2000 and 2001-02 after the rule change.

Review leaves research councils unchanged
The six grant-awarding research councils look set to carry on in the same structure for the next five years at least, following the completion of the first stage of the quinquennial review.

The review praised the councils’ progress in efficiency savings, demonstrating value for money and maximising spending on science.

Private group to run Sheffield student digs
Unite Group has been selected to operate the University of Sheffield’s residential properties. The public-private partnership project will see a private group take over the running of the properties for 30 years.

The university hopes to reach an agreement with Unite as early as possible next year, but it is planned that current service provision for students will continue for the next session.

Pro chancellor doubts Labour’s commitment
Birmingham University’s pro chancellor, Lord Hannay of Chiswick, has accused the government of neglecting higher education funding.

Ministers seem to have forgotten the “third leg” of prime minister Tony Blair’s 1997 electioneering slogan “education, education, education”, he said.

Addressing a dinner for the university’s honorary graduates, Lord Hannay said: “The improvement in the standards of primary and secondary education is crucial to our future too and determines the quality of our intake. But what happened to the third leg of the stool - higher education? We sometimes feel that it has been forgotten.”

Calorie-free cake served up on the net
A cake with no calories is dish-of-the-day at an online government consultation launch to test whether foods of the future are to the taste of consumers.

The public are being asked whether they would buy the sweet, developed to taste as good as conventional cake, and whether it would benefit them.

Alastair Robertson, chairman of the Foresight Food Chain and Crops for Industry panel and director of the Institute of Food Research, said: “Many people are concerned that new technology may be introduced without adequate information and public debate about its potential benefits and risks.”

The site, being hosted by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, is at www.bbsrc.ac.uk/life/scififoods .

 

 

 

    

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