News in brief

September 3, 2009

Funding warning

Reductions due in 2010-11

Universities in Wales have been assured that their funding for 2009-10 will not change, but warned to expect less money in 2010-11. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) said: "We have not made any anticipatory adjustments to institutions' 2009-10 academic year funding. However, we have informed institutions that this means that they will receive a steeper reduction in 2010-11 funding. We have asked them to take necessary action to smooth the impact of reductions, such as being prudent in their planning assumptions." A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly said that it was sensible to "consider potential funding scenarios".

New Ucea appointments

Challenging times

Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, is to be the next chair of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (Ucea). He will succeed Bill Wakeham, University of Southampton vice-chancellor, on 1 October and will hold the post for three years. Professor Burnett said: "These are increasingly challenging times for all in higher education, but we can work together to achieve sector stability." Ucea's board has also welcomed Paul Webley, principal of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and Arthur Naylor, principal of St Mary's University College, Twickenham, as new members.

BBSRC data storage expansion

Bioscience information avalanche

The UK has made its first major commitment to a Europe-wide project that aims to help researchers deal with the avalanche of information produced in bioscience. The £10 million investment from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council goes to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute to allow an expansion of its data storage capacity, based at Hinxton near Cambridge. This is the first step in its planned role at the centre of the European Life-Science Infrastructure for Biological Information.

SFC cash injection

Next phase for voucher scheme

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has trebled the funds available for its innovation "voucher" scheme, which will help Scottish universities collaborate with small businesses across the country. The scheme was launched in February, and the SFC has upped its investment for universities while broadening the project out to Scotland's further education colleges. In the first phase, the SFC offered universities match funding of up to £5,000 to meet costs of new ventures with small- and medium-sized businesses. Now a second round of funding has increased the sum available to universities to £15,000 per project, and up to £3,500 is available to colleges.

Joint contract

EAS in non-space sectors

STFC Innovations, the technology transfer office of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, has won a contract to help the European Space Agency (ESA) exploit its technology and expertise in non-space sectors. ESA technologies have been used to improve air purification in hospital wards and monitor offshore oil and gas fields. Tim Bestwick, STFC Innovations chief executive, said: "A new technology is usually developed to meet a specific need, but can often have many more uses that could be exploited."

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