News in brief - 19 December 2013

December 19, 2013

CIPR Education Journalism Awards
Honours for THE writers

Times Higher Education journalists have been honoured at a national awards ceremony. The annual Chartered Institute of Public Relations Education Journalism Awards, held at the Houses of Parliament on 12 December, recognised the best in UK education journalism across print, web and broadcast media. The award for Outstanding Higher Education Journalism was won by THE reporter David Matthews, for a feature examining the cooperative approach of the University of Mondragon in Spain’s Basque Country. Paul Jump, THE’s senior research reporter, was runner-up in the category, winning a commendation from the judges for a piece on a slew of plagiarism cases across Europe, while reporter Jack Grove and deputy news editor John Morgan also made the shortlist. Meanwhile, John Morgan was named runner-up in the category of Outstanding National Education Journalism, for a feature on the state of higher education in India.

Census plans
Academy registers concerns

The Academy of Social Sciences says it has “fundamental concerns” about a proposal to scrap the national census and to use administrative data as an alternative. However, it has welcomed – albeit with reservations – a different proposal for people to fill in census returns online. It follows plans put forward by the Office for National Statistics, the final decision on which will be taken in 2014, and will affect the next census in England and Wales in 2021. After consulting its 46 learned society members and 900 academicians, the Academy of Social Sciences says in its response to the plans that if the census were abandoned it would mean “the UK’s position as a world leader for the quality and breadth of its social science (second only to the US) would be jeopardised, as the census is the backbone for much of our current research”.

University Enterprise Zones
Help for high-tech start-ups

The Treasury has funded a £15 million pilot project to establish three to four University Enterprise Zones in England. The zones will house clusters of high-tech start-up companies that can access the expertise of their local universities. As part of this, the zones will offer affordable business space for students to start businesses after graduation. The scheme is designed to combat the shortage of private sector funding for office, laboratory and workshop space for innovative firms. It will also encourage universities to foster innovation and growth locally, and get more involved with businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Treatment of animals in research
Imperial changes should ‘resonate’

A list of recommendations aimed at improving the management of animal research at Imperial College London should “resonate” across the UK, its authors say. Imperial commissioned an independent report into its animal research practices after the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection infiltrated its facilities earlier this year, leading to allegations in The Sunday Times of mistreatment of animals. The report was drawn up by a committee of experts in animal experimentation and welfare chaired by Steve Brown, director of the Medical Research Council’s Mammalian Genetics Unit at Harwell. The report, which includes 33 recommendations, found that Imperial’s ethical review processes did not provide a forum to bring scientists together with animal house staff, technicians and statisticians to discuss improvements.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

Our story about two university vice-chancellors who have refused pay rises brought the twitterati out in force. “About time – but only 2. What of rest? Will they say no?” asked @thelarker67, while @Addy_Pope called on MPs to “take note”. @Dr_Aust_PhD said that more university leaders should follow suit “if they aspire to be ‘leaders’, & not ‘bosses’” with @PhilPurnell asking, sarcastically, “should we doff our caps or tug our forelocks in penitent gratitude?”. @LizMorrish suggested that “VCs must be afraid of becoming the new bankers!”, while @FrancinoF praised them for “leading by example”.

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