Projects scoop £20m in technology awards
The first projects sharing £20 million in the cross-research council Basic Technology Programme were announced this week. The government gave £41 million for the scheme in the 2000 spending review.
The money will go to: Cambridge and Leeds universities' project to develop terahertz band technology; Surrey University's project to develop artificial vision systems; Gray Cancer Institute, Middlesex, for deep-tissue imaging technologies; Queen Mary, London University, to develop a new method for building biological structures; Strathclyde University to develop laser plasma light sources and accelerators; Southampton University to deve-lop nanoscale X-ray sources; and Sussex University to advance the detection of electrical fields and a project to develop atom chips for quantum computing.
Wellings appointed v-c of Lancaster
Paul Wellings, deputy chief executive of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, has been appointed Lancaster University's fifth vice-chancellor.
Dr Wellings was born in Nottingham and was a student at Lancaster Royal Grammar School. He succeeds Bill Ritchie, who retires this summer.
Step forward in plan for worldwide data grid
The creation of a worldwide computing grid took a step forward when data files were exchanged by Imperial College, Lancaster University and collaborators at Fermilab in the United States.
The grid will enable scientists to analyse large amounts of data using computers throughout the world.
Cornish institutions to combine at Penryn
Exeter University and Falmouth College of Arts have signed an agreement to jointly operate the Tremough campus at Penryn as part of the £96.3 million Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative. The agreement has established a board responsible for overseeing the development and running of the Tremough site. It provides for changes in the future if other institutions join the site. Exeter students and staff will move to the Tremough campus in 2004, joined by Exeter's Camborne School of Mines and lifelong learning and Cornish studies activities.
Minister questioned over ILA administrator
MPs rounded on adult skills minister John Healey this week when he was called in front of the Commons select committee on education's inquiry into individual learning accounts.
They wanted to know why ILAs, which were administered by the Capita organisation, had been open to fraud.
Mr Healey told the committee that he was "unhappy with Capita because of shortcomings in their security and their performance and management of the system".
But Capita had earlier told the committee that it was not in the company's contract to scrutinise training providers to ensure they were bona fide organisations or to check the quality of their training.
Bangor bids to produce media-savvy biologists
Bangor University is setting up a new degree to produce media-aware biology graduates.
The aim of the biology with media practice degree is to produce graduates who can explain complex science in areas such as genetics and cloning to the press and public.
The biology component of the degree will be taught by Bangor while the media practice element will be taught by the North East Wales Institute, in Wrexham.
Rush in take-up of foundation degrees
More than 4,200 people have started foundation degrees since their launch last autumn, higher education minister Margaret Hodge announced yesterday.
Recruitment was slow initially, with 1,300 students registering. Since then, numbers have more than trebled. The retention rate for the first semester was 95 per cent.
Ms Hodge said: "It's a win-win situation for everybody. Universities attract students, businesses get the skilled people they need and individuals who successfully complete their courses get a passport to a good job."
Oxbridge to recruit at home of the Magpies
Oxford and Cambridge universities are to hold a conference at Newcastle United Football Club to encourage young people from the Northeast to apply to the institutions.
They hope to attract 8,500 potential students from areas that traditionally produce few applicants. Other venues include Manchester United Football Club and Sandown Park racecourse.
Conference to hear science careers report
Sir Gareth Robert's long-awaited review of the supply of scientists and engineers will be published at next Tuesday's Supporting and Developing Research Careers conference.
The conference will include updates on the Research Careers Initiative as well as Sir Gareth's report on the subject for the Treasury.
It will discuss whether postgraduate research training and postdoctoral professional development are producing what universities, industry, wider society, students and staff need.
French pass up a share in a Diamond offering
The French government will not be a shareholder in the company set up to run the third-generation synchrotron, Diamond, built at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire.
The French were believed to have influenced the decision to build it there rather than at Cheshire's Daresbury Laboratory, home to the current synchrotron.
Gerhard Materlik, chief executive of Diamond, said France might join the company later.
Scientists hit the roof after drippy experiment
Two scientists at Durham University may have stumbled across a new explanation for ceiling stains after discovering a way to make a liquid drip upwards.
David Wood and Damian Hampshire stumbled across the effect while preparing a superconducting experiment. They found that liquid oxygen dripped upwards towards a levitating magnet from the surface of a superconductor cooled to about - 200C.
The finding has been published in the journal Nature .
In last week's news analysis, "Expansion set to cost billions", it was incorrectly stated that Universities UK estimated the cost of additional places in higher education at £485 million for 2003-04. In fact, this figure is UUK's estimated cost of additional places for the spending review period 2003-04 to 2005-06 and not a per annum figure.
We wish to apologise for this error.