News in brief - 9 May 2013

May 9, 2013

Moocs
Another four on Futurelearn

Four more universities have announced plans to offer massive open online courses via the UK-based Futurelearn platform, taking the total number of higher education institutions involved to 21. Loughborough, Sheffield, Glasgow and Strathclyde universities are the latest to partner with The Open University-owned company, which is due to start offering courses from affiliated universities, free of charge to students, later this year. In addition, the British Museum has signed up to work with Futurelearn, following the lead of the British Library, which partnered with the Mooc provider in February, and the British Council. “We are delighted that more of the UK’s leading universities, along with one of its most popular cultural institutions, have agreed to work with Futurelearn,” said Simon Nelson, the venture’s chief executive.

Spending review
Increase science budget petition

More than 5,000 people have so far signed a petition asking the government to increase the science budget in this year’s spending round. The petition, launched late last month by the Science is Vital campaign organisation, calls for UK government spending on research to increase to 0.8 per cent of gross domestic product, a rise of 0.2 percentage points on its current level. This would amount to an increase of about £2 billion a year. Science is Vital also organised a petition ahead of the 2010 spending review, in which research received a flat-cash settlement. The group understands that the Treasury favours a similar settlement in this year’s spending review - which will set budgets for 2015-16. But the petition argues that this would further erode the budget in real terms and make it “difficult for the UK to maintain its excellent reputation for scientific research”.

Sector finances
Surplus down 6.4 per cent

The surplus recorded by UK higher education institutions has fallen by 6.4 per cent. The Higher Education Statistics Agency has released figures showing that the surplus of net income over expenditure fell to £1.1 billion in 2011-12. But that is still significantly higher than the surplus of £836 million recorded for 2009-10. Within the individual UK nations, the 2011-12 surplus was highest in Northern Ireland (where there are two universities), at 5.1 per cent, up from 1.3 per cent the previous year. England was next highest at 4.2 per cent, down from 4.6 per cent the previous year.

Graduate employment
Arts graduates: ‘widen job search’

The career options that arts graduates are likely consider are almost as limited as those pursued by engineering graduates, according to research. Graduate-jobs.com analysed data from its 470,063 subscribers and looked at how many industry sectors they said they were willing to work in. Gerry Wyatt, operations director of the site, said: “The stereotype of arts graduates waiting tables hoping for a big break is backed up by our data, which shows these graduates strongly focusing on industry sectors directly related to their degree subjects.” Social science, business and management and language graduates were rated the top three most flexible groups. “Arts graduates should recognise the benefits of broadening their job search and the transferability of their skills to other industry sectors,” Mr Wyatt said.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Retired academics calculating moves while playing bowls

Lincoln Allison, Eric Thomas and Richard Larschan reflect on the ‘next phase’ of the scholarly life