News in brief

August 21, 2008

Leadership grants

Scholars losing out

Academics are among those most likely to fail in their applications for a share of £10 million set aside to improve leadership in higher education. The Leadership Governance and Management Fund will be distributed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) between 2007 and 2010. Hefce's guidance for applicants shows that half are turned down and that a relatively high proportion of rejected applicants are academics. Seventy applications were submitted for grants from the fund in 2006-07, of which 35 were rejected. Of these, ten came from academic departments while seven were from human resources departments and five from senior executives within institutions.

British Council

Eastern promise

The British Council is to launch new funding opportunities for British universities in central and south Asia. Inspire, the International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education, is designed to strengthen high-level strategic relationships between higher education institutions in Britain and those in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Iran and Afghanistan. The project is not designed to promote student recruitment to Britain and projects will be selected according to criteria of research excellence. The launch will take place at the British Council's London base, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN, on 18 September, 12.00-16.30.

Cost of living

Students' reality cheque

Students are badly underestimating the basic costs of living. Research by the National Union of Students and HSBC bank has found that prospective university students tend to underestimate their spending on costs such as groceries, household bills and travel by nearly £450 a year.

Patent law

Exemption feedback

The UK Intellectual Property Office has launched a consultation on the research exemption to patent law and whether ambiguities are hindering researchers. The exemption provides that acts that would otherwise be an infringement of a patent are permissible if they are "done for experimental purposes relating to the subject-matter of the invention". A series of reviews and reports have found that it is not clear what falls within the scope of the exemption. Universities interested in contributing should contact the UK IPO on http://www.ipo.gov.uk/consult-patresearch by 7 November.

Remuneration

Payment powers granted

For the first time, two higher education institutions have been granted permission to remunerate their governors or council members, law firm Pinsent Masons has said. In a higher education law briefing, it said: "The university must have the power legally to make the payment. Most universities will not have a specific power. We have advised both a chartered university and an HEC (higher education college) on introducing such a power and have obtained Privy Council approval."

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