News in brief - 17 October 2013

October 17, 2013

Immigration bill
May day ‘discrimination’

Measures to tackle illegal immigration are “discriminatory” to international students and send the message that they are not welcome in the UK. That was the reaction of the National Union of Students to the immigration bill, unveiled on 10 October. Under the proposals, landlords will need to check the immigration status of potential tenants and temporary migrants, including overseas students, will be required to pay to access NHS services. However, the proposals were branded “unworkable, expensive and discriminatory” by Daniel Stevens, international students officer at the NUS. Forcing private landlords to undertake visa checks on overseas students will lead to racial profiling as many property owners seek to avoid being entangled in red tape, the student body said.

Research Partnership Investment Fund
Match points

The final three universities to benefit from the current round of the government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund have been announced. The fund, which allocates money for university research infrastructure when matched two to one by private investment, will contribute £15 million towards a £163 million “research and innovation hub” at King’s College London’s new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital, in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. The University of Glasgow has been awarded £10 million towards a £58 million clinical research facility focusing on chronic diseases, in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and others. And the University of Southampton will also receive £10 million as part of a £33 million engineering research facility, in partnership with risk-management body Lloyd’s Register.

Ahead in the ‘cloud’

Google has signed an agreement with Jisc, the higher education technology consortium. The agreement makes it easier for universities to outsource services such as email to Google after university network infrastructure provider Janet, part of Jisc, approved a contract confirming that Google’s services meet its standards. The Cloud Services for Education Agreement is designed to give institutions peace of mind in relation to the security, cost, functionality and legal and data compliance of Google’s educational applications, which include spreadsheet, email and website-building tools. A similar agreement was recently signed in the Netherlands, and half of its academy has moved at least part of its provision to Google Apps for Education.

Taking the humanities higher

The recipients of the 2013 Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities – each worth £75,000 over three years – have embarked on doctorates at nine leading universities across the UK. Launched in 2011, the scholarships reflect the foundation’s concern about funding for the humanities and the potential impact of increased student debt on postgraduates. The awards are given annually to students in history, literature and languages with the potential to be future academic leaders, and cover full fees, maintenance and an element for research and training costs.


Mark Lee (Letters, 10 October) has not been a chartered engineer since 2005. The Royal Academy of Engineering has no record of having received any correspondence from him.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

News that an Indian student was denied a UK study visa after currency fluctuations left him £20 short of the amount required for living costs had our Twitter followers up in arms. “Dear UK, this is not only idiotic but utterly self-defeating,” said @sunnysingh_nw3. @TimHeal8193 accused the Home Office of “ruining the reputation of our Higher education sector”, while @alexburrett said the situation “sums up the current immigration rules”. @DentedSaint described the decision as “depressing jobsworthing idiocy”. Meanwhile, @MLBrook was keen to help. “I’ll happily lend the £20,” she tweeted.

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