News in brief

January 1, 2009

DIUS funding

£158m retraining allocations

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has released details of how it will allocate a £158 million fund to help train people who are unemployed or who are at risk of being made redundant. The cash will support pre-employment training, workplace training and careers advice. It will also be used to ensure that local colleges react quickly to redundancies so that those who lose their job access training opportunities. The announcement came as government figures showed that a record number of adults gained vocational qualifications in the past academic year, including 1,900 who achieved a full Level 3 qualification.

Copyright policy

Lammy announces review

The Higher Education Minister has launched a review of copyright policy as part of a bid to boost the UK's creative competitiveness. David Lammy wants leaders of the creative industries to inform the review process, which will shape the rules on copyright for the 21st century. Ian Fletcher, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office, said: "Rapid technological advancements have meant that consumer behaviour and demand continue to change; we need to ensure that our copyright system keeps pace."

Ucas tariff

Pre-U exam to draw 'fine' line

A qualification launched as a rival to the A level will help to distinguish between the highest-achieving students, it was claimed this week. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service said that a student gaining Distinction 2 in the Cambridge Pre-U will earn 145 points, against 140 points for the new A* A level. The tariff for candidates who reach an "exceptional" level of achievement - Distinction 1 - is yet to be announced. Kevin Stannard, director of international curriculum development for Cambridge International Examinations, said: "The intention is to differentiate more finely among students who would achieve an A grade at A level while ensuring that a pass at Pre-U is accessible to the full range of students currently achieving an E or above at A level."

- www.ucas.com/students/ucas_tariff/tarifftables

Internet evolution

£2.7m to fund network expansion

A fibre-optic network that provides a test bed for researchers contributing to the evolution of the internet will be extended after winning an extra £2.7 million in funding. The Janet Aurora network links photonics and optical systems research groups at the universities of Cambridge and Essex and University College London, and the new funding will help it expand to research groups at the universities of Aston and Southampton and extend its life until 2011.

Corrections

In our "RAE subject tables" (18/25 December 2008), the University of Cumbria is incorrectly named as St Martin's College, which was one of a number of institutions that merged to form Cumbria in 2007. Swansea Metropolitan University is wrongly referred to by its old name, Swansea Institute of Higher Education.

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