News in brief

April 23, 2009

Emissions reduction

Trio lands £10m for green plans

Three institutions have taken the lion's share of funding distributed to universities to help reduce carbon emissions. More than a third of a £25 million pot available under the Revolving Green Fund, established by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Salix Finance, was shared out between three institutions: the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University and Harper Adams University College. They pocketed £10 million between them for their proposals to overhaul their energy consumption.

Quality assurance

Irish board seeks reviewers

A watchdog established to monitor standards at Irish universities is looking for reviewers. The Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB), an independent body in charge of quality assurance reviews, is seeking to form new teams to assess institutions. Each team will include senior university leaders at president or rector-level or their deputies, reviewers with direct experience of quality assurance at Irish universities, student representatives and representatives from industry or other interested parties. For more information on joining the register of reviewers, contact Karen Jones, IUQB quality reviews manager, via email:

Research review

Sciences come under scrutiny

A review of nuclear physics and engineering in the UK is to be undertaken by two research councils. The review by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council will look at the scope of funded work and whether it delivers the expertise required for future economic impact. It is due to be completed by the autumn.

Vice-chancellor's pay

UEA coy over settlement details

The University of East Anglia has refused to reveal details of any severance payment made to former vice-chancellor Bill Macmillan. Professor Macmillan joined UEA in 2006 and went on sick leave two years later. In January this year he announced that he would be taking early retirement because of ill health. He was given an 8.7 per cent pay rise in 2007-08, bringing his pay to £213,000 - well above the national average of £193,970 for vice-chancellors. Although recent guidance from the Higher Education Funding Council for England said severance payments should be open to public scrutiny, UEA has failed to comply with a request from Times Higher Education for details of any such payment made to Professor Macmillan. In a statement, the university said: "It is not our normal practice to discuss the details of the early retirement of any colleague."

Copyright infringement

Textbook sharers sentenced

Four men behind a file-sharing website that offers access to textbooks have been jailed for breaking copyright law. Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde were all sentenced to a year in jail on 17 April. Although most of the millions of files shared between users on the Sweden-based website The Pirate Bay are films, television shows and music, there has been growing concern in the academic community about copyright infringement of academic books online.

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