News in brief

June 19, 2008

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Graduate scheme plugs skills gap

A £2.3 million grant from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will fund a national graduate programme for the industry. The programme aims to plug a skills gap for nuclear engineers as well as in areas such as environmental science and the finance of decommissioning. Twelve graduates have already been recruited for the first cohort and will take part in three six-month placements and one three-month placement at nuclear facilities.

British Universities and Colleges Sport

Busy bodies get a boost

A new national body has been set up to promote sport at universities. British Universities and Colleges Sport is a merger of the British Universities Sports Association and University College Sport. Its aim will be to improve the availability of sport and sports facilities at 150 higher education institutions, as well as supporting elite university athletes. Ed Smith, chairman of BUCS, said: "Encouraging more people on campus to get active, maybe for the first time, to improve their health and fitness, as well as to develop new skills is a commitment every higher education institution should be making."

NUS Scotland

Minister resolves fees anomaly

The National Union of Students Scotland has praised Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education, for her speed in resolving a legal anomaly that left postgraduates facing an immediate bill of £2,000. After the Scottish Government axed the graduate endowment charge, it emerged that students who became postgraduates between 2005 and 2007 were not eligible to take out a loan to settle their deferred endowment charge. Ms Hyslop said the Scottish Parliament would next week agree regulations allowing the students to pay the fee through the student loans system, and ministers would not request repayment of deferred fees.

National Prevention Research Initiative

Lifestyle venture targets illness

A partnership between governments, research organisations and charities is to make an extra £12 million available for research to prevent people falling ill as a result of their lifestyle. The National Prevention Research Initiative is made up of 16 funders that range from the Medical Research Council to the Stroke Association and the Food Standards Agency. It underwrites research aimed at improving health and preventing diseases.

See: www.npri.org.uk

Joint Information Systems Committee

Librarians' lives made easier

University librarians and other staff who help disabled students to access textbooks in a usable format are about to have their work transformed thanks to the Joint Information Systems Committee. TechDis, Jisc's educational advisory service, has joined forces with the Publishers Association to create a new resource, Publisher Lookup UK, which simplifies the search for material in a range of formats. TechDis has also produced a publication, Guide to Obtaining Textbooks in Alternative Formats, that offers academics, learner support and library staff on the options that are available.

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