News in brief

November 20, 2008

Research and development

Mind the funding gap

A lack of investment in research and development has left the UK's higher education sector lagging behind those of the US and other competitors, according to a report for the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE). The paper, debated at the CIHE's 50th council meeting last week, found that the gap between the two countries is widening owing to a lack of investment in the UK. The report (UK and US Competitiveness and the Role of Universities) says Britain "could gain relative advantage from more collaborative approaches with businesses and other universities". Richard Brown, chief executive of the CIHE, said a lesson from the recession of the early 1990s was that while the UK cut back on its R&D, the US continued to invest and was therefore better placed to pull out of the economic downturn.

Science and technology

STEM graduates lack opportunity

Talented young science and technology researchers could be lost to the UK because of a shortage of research opportunities in universities and businesses, a report has warned. In a poll of 300 postgraduates studying science and technology in the UK, 80 per cent of respondents called for more opportunities in research in both industry and academe. The survey, carried out by Toshiba, also found that half (48 per cent) believed that the UK did not invest enough in research and development, and three quarters had already considered moving overseas in order to gain experience in R&D. Some 82 per cent said there should be more collaboration between academia and industry. At a round-table debate on the issue, Roberto Cipollo, professor of information engineering at the University of Cambridge, said that "translating (universities') investment and talent into new business and innovation is where we have got a problem".

Digital archives

Veritable armada of history online

A new online collection of Tudor and Stuart state papers is set to become an invaluable resource to scholars. Covering over 200 years from 1509 to 1714, the collection will include three million pages of correspondence, reports, memoranda and parliamentary drafts from civil servants, administrators and foreign ambassadors. Assembled by education consultancy Cengage Learning, with help from the National Archives, the resource can be accessed in themes ranging from Henry VIII's break with Rome to the Spanish Armada.

University housing

Small is beautiful, say students

Nottingham students prefer living in private houses to large developments, according to an online survey of about 5,300 local students by the University of Nottingham. Just over two thirds of respondents said they preferred to live in private rented houses rather than larger developments housing ten or more students. Just over one fifth preferred to live in larger off-campus developments.

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