For the record

March 15, 2002

EPSRC pilots combined grants programme
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has approved plans to consolidate grants into large five-year tranches for big research teams that continually succeed in their applications.

David Clark, director of research and innovation at the EPSRC, said: "Fifty per cent of our grant support goes to 15 per cent of the community - individuals who have a strong track record with us over an extended period. It is this cohort that we wish to talk to about five-year consolidation."

In the next few months, up to 15 teams will be invited to join a pilot. They will get a grant for five years, during which time they may not seek more funds.

THES/OUP writing prize goes to physiologist
Kathleen Taylor of the physiology laboratory at the University of Oxford has won the 2002 THES /Oxford University Press science writing prize.

She will receive £2,000 for her essay on dyslexia, "Does He Like Kippers?", which we hope to publish on March 29.

Second prize went to Chris Cooper of the University of Essex for his essay on artificial blood, and third to Milton Wainwright of the University of Sheffield for his essay on cholera.

Queen's students pelt McGuinness with eggs
Northern Ireland's education minister, Martin McGuinness, the former IRA second-in-command in Londonderry, was pelted with eggs by students at Queen's University, Belfast, after speaking about a united Ireland.

A group calling itself Unionist Students against Intimidation, which includes Ulster Unionists and members of the Democratic Unionist Party, organised the protest because it was "offended" by Mr McGuinness's presence. But spokesman Christopher Stafford, a DUP member, said the group had nothing to do with the egg-throwing.

Committee expected to call for Scots shake-up
The Scottish Parliament's enterprise and lifelong learning committee is expected to propose a radical shake-up of further and higher education next week.

The committee's interim report on lifelong learning will outline a national strategy. It is set to focus on individual learners, with funding encouraging individuals to move in and out of education throughout their lives.

The cross-party report is likely to demand more collaboration between colleges and universities, but it will leave it to institutions to form alliances.

ILT signs 10,000th member
The Institute for Learning and Teaching recruited its 10,000th member this week. The ILT draws 40 per cent of its members from pre-1992 universities, 38 per cent from post-1992 universities and 22 per cent from higher education colleges and other institutions. It has accredited 111 staff development programmes in 96 institutions.  

AUTS set to fight shift in ministerial oversight
The Association of University Teachers Scotland is preparing to combat attempts to split ministerial responsibilities for higher education and enterprise.

Scotland's first minister, Jack McConnell, was believed to have backed off plans to place tertiary and school education in a single ministerial portfolio.

Further and higher education currently fall under enterprise, transport and lifelong learning. But there is growing speculation that the decision has merely been postponed until after next year's Scottish parliamentary elections.

The AUT Scottish council is tomorrow expected to pass an executive motion saying that higher education plays a crucial role in the Scottish economy.

Greenwich, Mid-Kent and Kent form campus
The University of Kent, the University of Greenwich and Mid-Kent College will build a joint campus at Medway after winning £4 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England this week.

Higher education minister Margaret Hodge said: "I am delighted to give support to this excellent regional collaboration."

The development will be based on and around the Greenwich site, serving the towns of Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham.

Lancaster to offer European double
Lancaster University Management School has joined Reims Management School in France, Reutlingen University in Germany and Icade Business School in Spain to offer a double degree programme for undergraduates.

Students on the BBA programme will spend two years at Lancaster and then two more at one of the partners.

They will combine business studies with at least one European language and work experience with blue-chip firms. Graduates will gain degrees from both universities.

Research councils gain £10m for equipment
The research councils will get £10 million a year from the Office of Science and Technology to buy equipment as part of their baseline funding. The money had been earmarked for the joint research equipment initiative, which has been wound up.

UK trio join elite European lobby group
Cambridge, Edinburgh and Oxford universities have joined a new European group of elite research-led institutions that aims to lobby European Union parliaments and committees.

The move was initiated by Belgium's Leuven University. Other invited universities include Geneva, Helsinki, Heidelberg, Leiden, Milan, the Ludwig Maximillians University, the Karolinska Institute and the Louis Pasteur University.

Report offers guide to Gats' potential impact
The higher education sector must know the ins and outs of the General Agreement on Trade in Services to enjoy the benefits but avoid the threats, says a report published this week.

Jane Knight, an expert in internationalisation of higher education at Canada's Toronto University, aims to provide higher education policy-makers with a guide to the legal and technical complexities of Gats. The report reviews the negotiating positions of the nations that have made statements on education, including the United States.

It is published by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (details: uk/products/reports ).

John Hume to take Ulster chair in peace
Nobel peace prizewinner John Hume, former leader of Northern Ireland's Social Democratic and Labour Party, has been awarded the Tip O'Neill chair in peace studies at Ulster University.

The chair, financed by the American Ireland Fund, commemorates the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who was a strong supporter of the Northern Ireland peace process.

'Work smarter' to take on male researchers
Women who want to compete successfully with male researchers have just three choices: stay single, marry a colleague in the same field or "work smarter", according to Christina Hughes, senior lecturer in the University of Warwick's department of continuing education.

Dr Hughes, co-chair of the new Gender and Education Association, said women deserved more choices. The association, which aims to help women in education, will kick off with a career development seminar on Tuesday at the University of Warwick.


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