For the record

February 1, 2002

AUT decries stealth introduction of PRP
The Association of University Teachers has vowed to fight the back-door introduction of performance-related pay amid concerns that national pay bargaining faces collapse.
At its annual winter council meeting, AUT members passed a motion warning that vice-chancellors were using the £330 million provided for pay last year to "introduce and embed forms of performance-related pay".

A motion from the Liverpool branch said: "We must reject and resist this introduction of PRP by the back door as these moves undermine our national pay-bargaining structure."

An AUT survey found that much of the money was being sidelined into management systems and institutional initiatives such as performance-related pay.

Natfhe warns of action if pay demands ignored
College lecturers' union Natfhe has called on the heads of 65 further education colleges to pay teaching staff a nationally agreed 3.7 per cent pay rise.
A survey conducted by the union has found that more than 30 per cent of colleges have not fully honoured the pay award. Natfhe further education officials have warned that industrial action is likely this year unless more money is made available for pay rises.

Overseas students flock to Scotland
Scotland has accepted 34 per cent more overseas applicants this year than last, compared with a rise of 20 per cent in the United Kingdom.
The Scottish Executive highlighted the figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service to coincide with a conference of Scottish Education + Training, which promotes Scottish education abroad.

The increase does not hinge on the predicted "Prince William effect". St Andrews' total overseas figures have risen by just a third, from 56 to 75. The largest intakes, more than 200, were at Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow universities. Napier University had a 57 per cent increase (69 to 108), and Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh had an 88 per cent rise (32 to 80).

International student recruitment climbed at Bradford University. New registrations rose 52 per cent and, for the first time, one-quarter of new full-time students came from abroad.

Molecular bioscience centre comes to Ulster
Science minister Lord Sainsbury today opened a £14.5 million centre for molecular biosciences at Ulster University.
The award is the largest single research grant made to a Northern Ireland university. It comes under the Department for Education and Learning's Support Programme for University Research initiative. The centre will study factors that predispose people to age-related illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Biomedical research first for Oxford and NIH
Oxford University has joined the National Institutes of Health in the United States to start an interdisciplinary programme for biomedical researchers.
The scheme, part of the NIH's plan to open its laboratories to more research students, is the first joint venture with an overseas university under its graduate partnerships scheme.

Constitution binds nine in Cornwall cluster
The partners that will form the Combined Universities in Cornwall formalised their collaboration last week by signing a constitution detailing the CUC's management structures and its objectives.
The group was founded by Exeter and Plymouth universities with Falmouth College of Arts to provide higher education in Cornwall. The Open University, the College of St Mark and St John and Cornwall, Truro and Penwith colleges have since joined. The group is now an incorporated association.

ESA funds Umist work on radiation badges
The European Space Agency is helping fund a Umist project to develop radiation monitoring badges for astronauts. The £520,000 research uses genetically modified yeast cells that fluoresce as they repair radiation damage.
The technology will be used to monitor exposure on the International Space Station.

Shefc forks out for SuperJanet upgrade
The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is underwriting a Scottish spine to the upgraded SuperJanet4 academic network. Shefc has committed £5.2 million to the project, whose first stage has created connection points in Edinburgh and Glasgow to the UK-wide backbone.
The next stage will link these points to Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, with a final £1 million stage buying the circuits to connect each institution to its metropolitan area network.

Government to give £11m for cancer study
Cancer research centres are to get £11.2 million of government funding over five years to speed scientific breakthroughs from the bench to the bedside. The National Translational Cancer Research Network will incorporate eight existing centres. Two more are expected to follow.

UUK responds to draft of copyright licence
Universities UK this week submitted its response to the draft licence produced by the Copyright Licensing Agency in the copyright tribunal case.
The CLA no longer requires members of UUK or the Standing Conference of Principals to clear photocopying for course material through its Clarcs system, and a notice on its website says it will pay a rebate for course material copying charges incurred since August last year, when the tribunal's ruling was made. A final hearing of the tribunal will settle disagreements between the two sides and resolve costs.

Debt protest website big hit with students
More than 10,000 students have signed an online petition protesting against student debt. A website called is receiving hits every few seconds, and students have so far logged a combined debt of well over £100 million.
Manchester Metropolitan University student Craig Norris said he never expected his idea to take off so spectacularly. He said the aim was to make the government aware of the injustice suffered by thousands of students and their parents. He denied suggestions that the site was collecting people's email addresses for sale to commercial organisations.

I'm 50 - skip the cake, just bring me a coffin
Adrian Sodo, a photography, art and design lecturer at Yeovil College, marked his 50th birthday this week with a wake complete with a life-size model of him in a coffin. The coffin, designed by colleague Richard Apps, had a lid with a built-in tummy bulge to accommodate Mr Sodo's beer belly.
"I do not want to miss the party when I am dead, and it's an opportunity for others to get their own back for all my leg-pulling," Mr Sodo said.

UK readers among best
The percentage of secondary pupils with top-rank reading ability puts the United Kingdom among the five best countries, the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment shows. The UK, Australia, Canada, Finland and New Zealand had more than 15 per cent proficiency at the top level. The average was 9.5 per cent.

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