News in brief

March 5, 2009

European Research Council - Sainsbury joins review panel

David Sainsbury, the former Science Minister, is part of a five-member high-level panel reviewing the European Research Council, the blue-skies research funding body set up two years ago. The review will scrutinise the ERC's structure, mechanisms and achievements and advise on the direction it should take for the future. The ERC was launched in 2007 as a radical departure from the European Union's established approaches to funding research. It is managed by an independent scientific council and so far it has allocated more than EUR850 million (£758 million) to research projects.

Graduate job market - CIHE vaunts overseas talent

A new report will highlight the benefits to small businesses of employing international graduates in an attempt to make the UK a more attractive place to study. A study being carried out by the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) will address the difficulties students say they experience in finding work experience and gaining access to the graduate job market in Britain. The CIHE is working with the Initiative for International Education, which works to ensure that international students get what they expect from UK higher education. The CIHE says some employers do not realise that international students are able to work in the UK for two years following graduation.

Office for Fair Access - Focus on under-18s urged

The Government should look at students below the age of 18 in its drive to increase participation in higher education, according to Sir Martin Harris, director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa). Speaking at a seminar on university access held by the Higher Education Policy Institute, he said: "The principal task of Offa, that no students should be deterred at the age of 18 by financial worries, seems to have been largely successful. This leads to the question of what would be the best areas of increased support for widening access much earlier in the educational system."

University of Westminster - Save ceramics, say petitioners

Grayson Perry, the Turner prize-winning artist, has joined a campaign against plans by the University of Westminster to close its world-renowned ceramics department. The university said the department is to close in 2013, but resistance is mounting, according to the University and College Union, which is leading the campaign against the closure. A petition on the Number 10 website has so far attracted almost 1,000 signatures and the support of specialists including Felicity Aylieff, chair of the National Association of Ceramics in Higher Education and a senior tutor at the Royal College of Art; Alun Graves, curator of ceramics and glass at the Victoria and Albert Museum; and Lord Queensbury, who spent 20 years as professor of ceramics at the Royal College of Art.

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