Inside track...

December 1, 2006

Our occasional column keeps youJabreast of developments in the jobs market, from tip-offs and career pointers to who's on the move in your field.

HEAVY LEGAL LOSSES

Birmingham University has acquired a significant slice of Durham University's Law School, after a "highly unusual" staff exodus from the northeastern university.

Five top-rated academics have defected to Birmingham from Durham's 5* department over the past year.

They include renowned international law expert Colin Warbrick and Bob Sullivan, world-class civil lawyer and theorist, both of whom are taking chairs at Birmingham.

The other three are intellectual property law specialist Ronan Deazley, who is taking up a readership; Sonia Harris-Short, a senior lecturer and research-active family lawyer; and Claire McIvor, lecturer and tort specialist.

Sources have told Inside Track that the exodus is a symptom of unease among some long-serving academics at Durham over a reorganisation ordered by David Campbell, the Law School's new head.

Durham declined to comment specifically on the recent staff losses. In a statement, it says: "Durham University's department of law is one of only four UK law schools to have been awarded the top grading of 5*A in the last research assessment exercise. The university is committed to the further improvement of the department, backed by considerable investment and, since the last RAE, its academic staff has increased from 20 to 31."

Tony Arnull, Law School head at Birmingham, commented: "It is highly unusual for this degree of turnover to occur in a single university department in such a short space of time."

'It is highly unusual for this degree of turnover to occur in a single university department in such a short space of time"

GURU IS GOING TO GLASGOW

Stirling University's Media Research Institute has taken a hit following the decision by its director, media studies guru Philip Schlesinger, to join Glasgow University's new Centre for Cultural Policy Research as academic director in January. And he is thought to be taking two senior researchers and a clutch of PhD students with him.

BIOLOGY HAT TRICK

Leicester University's School of Biological Sciences has poached two leading Cambridge University scholars, adding to a stream of academics that have flowed in from all over the world in the past 18 months.

Molecular cell biologists John Schwabe and Martyn Mahaut-Smith have been persuaded to leave Cambridge to take up chairs at the school. The prominent neuroscientist Nicholas Hartell, from the School of Pharmacy in London, has also been poached.

The hat trick brings the total number of appointments made by the school since summer last year to 22 - and it is still looking to fill other posts, including another chair.

A new £22.5 million Centre for Biomedicine, backed by the Wellcome Trust and formally opened two weeks ago, has added to the school's attractions.

PAISLEY'S GRAND THEFT

Is Paisley Univer-sity challenging Abertay Dundee University in the field of digital entertainment?

In a bid to beef up its computer games courses, Paisley has lured Abertay expert John Sutherland, who developed the world's first degree courses in video game programming and video games media.

His Abertay students have included Dave Jones, designer of the hugely popular games Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings .

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