News in brief

September 18, 2008

Overseas admissions

Chinese students up 15 per cent

The number of Chinese students accepted to start degree courses in the UK this autumn has increased by almost 15 per cent compared with last year, according to the latest figures. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) said that almost 5,000 students from China have been accepted by UK universities and colleges. So far this year, 47,802 students from outside the UK have been accepted on to courses; this compares with 45,947 at the same point in 2007 - a rise of 4 per cent. "Accepted applicants from Hong Kong, Malaysia and India have also showed a strong increase as well as emerging markets such as Singapore and Canada," Ucas said. "In contrast, some countries such as the United States and Nigeria showed marked falls - 13.2 per cent and 11.9 per cent, respectively."

University spin-offs

Policies hurt innovation, BA hears

The innovation strategies of UK universities may actually be damaging to the UK economy, a leading business academic has warned. Alan Hughes, director of the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge, said in a speech at the British Association for the Advancement of Science festival last week that universities' aggressive pursuit of protection for their intellectual property (IP) was likely to stifle innovation rather than foster it. In his speech, "The realities of university relations", Professor Hughes said: "Spin-offs from university IP are tiny, and the idea that universities will generate a lot of wealth is completely false. If universities are going to patent their own research outputs and aggressively pursue commercial gain, the system then malfunctions because you close down a degree of openness." Professor Hughes went on to argue that the UK was "apeing a US model" that does not actually encourage innovation. He noted that some American universities are already moving to a new, more positive model in which their licensing office is integrated within their academic interchange operations. "If we are to learn lessons from the US, we should learn the right ones and not the wrong ones," he said.

Research careers

Concordat group led by Crewe

A group has been set up to oversee the implementation of the recently launched concordat to support the career development of researchers. The concordat, which was launched in June this year, sets out the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. The oversight group will be made up of concordat signatories and stakeholders, including Universities UK and Research Councils UK. It will be chaired by Sir Ivor Crewe, who was vice-chancellor of the University of Essex from 1995 to 2007.

Correction: Amnesty International

Last month ("Sporting spirit", Times Higher Education, 7 August), we reported that Grant Jarvie, professor of sports studies at the University of Stirling, had "noted that Amnesty International had helped vet the (Beijing Olympic) bid and had approved it". Amnesty said that although it did give the International Olympic Committee (IOC) information on human rights in China at several meetings, "at no point did the IOC direct Amnesty, nor did we 'approve' the Beijing bid".

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