News in brief

November 29, 2012

Business schools

Excluded middle costs us dear

Business schools are failing to help mid-sized companies as much as they could and thus are holding back the UK's economy and society, a study has concluded. The report by the Business Schools Task Force, established by the government in November 2011, says that the institutions should promote to their students careers in mid-sized businesses, defined as having turnovers between £25 million and £500 million, not just focus on big firms. The task force is composed of business school academics and representatives of the CBI and UK Trade and Investment.

Space funding

Boost stage but flat trajectory

The UK Space Agency is to increase its investment in the European Space Agency over the next five years, although the total budget will remain flat. The ESA's ministerial council confirmed after a meeting in Naples last week that the agency budget for 2013-17 will be €10.1 billion (£8.1 billion), of which the UK will contribute around £1.2 billion. The budget will fund, among other things, a Mars mission. David Willetts, minister for universities and science, said the agreed programme would generate around £1 billion a year in orders for British businesses, contributing to the UK's ambition to more than triple the value of its space industry by 2030. He said that the investment "will not only allow us to get ahead in the global race by securing more major contracts" but will also provide the UK with the tools to face challenges such as climate change.

British Council Going Global

Up for debate

More details have been released of the themes to be discussed at next year's British Council Going Global conference, the central topic of which will be universities' role in creating knowledge economies. Education experts, vice-chancellors and government ministers will discuss issues including whether the humanities have a place in the 21st century. Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK, and Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, will be among the speakers. Other topics will include: "'Soft Power': higher education and cultural diplomacy"; "How to create globally skilled young entrepreneurs"; and "Do universities have a moral obligation to drive change for stability and societal good?" During the conference, which will be held on 4-6 March in Dubai, Times Higher Education's 2013 World Reputation Rankings will be launched.

Immigration

Go now (then come in again)

The Russell Group has welcomed changes to immigration rules that will allow academics on indefinite work permits to leave the UK for up to 180 days over a 12-month period. Wendy Piatt, director general of the group of large research-intensive universities, said that the old rules had "restricted the ability of many academics to carry out important work overseas". Mark Harper, the immigration minister, announced the changes on 22 November. He also announced that the Home Office would restrict the ability of students to gain work visas through the entrepreneur route "due to concerns about abuse".

Clarification

Last week, Times Higher Education carried a story about a strike at Queen Mary, University of London, scheduled for 22 November. Although the article was correct as THE went to press, the strike was called off on 21 November.

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