News in brief

October 12, 2001

Brunel bids to boost research profile
Brunel University is hiring 60  lecturers to help boost its research profile. The move is part of a ten-year plan that includes the immediate establishment of five research centres focusing on child development, risk analysis, innovation and enterprise, design process and healthcare analysis.

Brunel will spend £14 million during the first six years of the plan. Contracts for new staff will require them to spend at least 70 per cent of their time on research. A healthcare professor has already been recruited. Remaining staff will be appointed next year.

Peer-review points mean pounds
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has launched a £750,000 incentives scheme to speed up the peer-review process.

Points will be awarded to departments for responses received on time, to encourage reviewers to take part. Once a year, the points for each department will be converted to pounds. The money should be used for EPSRC-compatible expenses, such as travel or conference attendance.

Universities sign up for charitable project
Several UK universities have held preliminary discussions with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to be part of a project to help bright but disadvantaged young people who want a career in architecture.

Sheffield and Greenwich universities and the universities of North and East London may join Lewisham College to provide courses at the Stephen Lawrence Technocentre, to be built in Deptford.

The £9.2 million scheme has received funds from the Arts Council and the Millennium Commission. Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in 1993, had planned to become an architect.

£31m expansion planned for Leicester
Leicester University has announced a £31 million expansion plan to build on its record growth this year.

The plan involves building a  biomedical research facility, extending the space research centre to house a mathematical modelling centre, expanding accommodation for archaeology, creating laboratories for “green technology” and equipping laboratories for biological sciences and psychology.

Vice-chancellor Bob Burgess said: “We see this as a great opportunity to improve the infrastructure so that researchers can improve their grant-gathering and develop the research base further.”

The university will have to raise cash to add to funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Science Research Investment Fund.

Record year for MBA applications at LBS
London Business School has announced a record year for its full-time MBA programme.

Applications were up 47 per cent, the largest ever year-on-year increase, leading the school to increase its intake from 265 to 305 students. Female students made up 29 per cent of the 2001 class, a 7 per cent increase on last year.

The LBS also said the entry standard had risen, with an average graduate management admission test score of 6.9.

Residents oppose York’s third campus
York University’s plans for a third campus, which will include a science park on 40 hectares of greenbelt farmland, have run into opposition from residents. The campus in Heslington will not go ahead until an inquiry into a revision of York’s greenbelt boundaries has been completed.

Protect (People and Residents Objecting to the Erection of Campus Three) chairman David Pearcy said the university’s reported desire to increase student numbers to 15,000 over the next ten years could not be sustained by the city’s infrastructure.

Stirling could say sayonara to Japanese
One of the United Kingdom’s major centres for Japanese studies could face the axe after Stirling University’s court meets later this month.

The academic council has ratified a proposal that this year’s student intake be the last. Despite strong student dissent, the council has “reluctantly” recommended a phased withdrawal over the next four years. This would leave Edinburgh as the only Scottish university offering a full degree in Japanese.

John Crump, Stirling’s professor of Japanese, said: “Despite the current economic difficulties facing Japan, its economy remains one of the largest in the world, and Scotland can ill-afford to be without a core of graduates who are knowledgeable on Japan and competent in Japanese.”

Napier principal prepares to step down
John Mavor, principal of Napier University since 1994, is to step down in December 2002. He is an electronics engineer and plans to work in the private sector and develop personal interests.    

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