Policy watch

February 21, 2008

Arts and Humanities Research Council

Researcher-leave scheme cut

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has cancelled the September 2008 round of its researcher-leave scheme. The move stems from cuts announced to manage the council's three-year budget settlement. "For the current (financial) year, we made two rounds of awards for researchers' leave, but for the forthcoming year we will be funding just one," an AHRC spokesman said. He said the 2008-09 financial year would still see up to £1 million of AHRC funds spent on research leave. This will fund 50 places, a drop of about 50 places on the current year.

Green education declaration

V-cs sign up to cut emissions

Vice-chancellors are calling on the Government to put the education sector at the forefront of action on climate change. The heads of ten universities, including Edinburgh, St Andrews and Oxford Brookes, have signed a green education declaration launched by student campaign group People & Planet. Signatories promise to "take decisive and strategic action to reduce year-on-year the carbon emissions of our own institutions". The declaration comes as People & Planet prepares to publish its Green League 2008, in partnership with Times Higher Education, revealing the best and worst performers in the university sector.

Higher Education Innovation Fund

Third-stream budgets assessed

A new analysis shows how funds allocated for knowledge transfer between universities and businesses have changed institutions' so-called third-stream activity. The report for the Higher Education Funding Council for England analyses plans submitted by 133 institutions before the third round of Higher Education Innovation Fund allocations, which totalled £238 million and covered the period 2006-08. It warns that the plans are of limited use in pinpointing the outputs of third-stream activities, but it identifies trends in institutions' plans for the money. It says 19 planned significant changes to the institutional management of knowledge transfer and 54 aimed to expand their third-stream activities. Some 57 intended to provide knowledge-transfer training to mainstream academic staff.

See: Hefce

Further education and skills sector

Key appointments for new body

The new improvement organisation for the further education and skills sector has announced its first appointments. In November, John Denham, the Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary, announced the launch in April of a new organisation to take over the work of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership and the Quality Improvement Agency. Dame Ruth Silver, principal of Lewisham College, has been appointed chair, and Ioan Morgan, principal of Warwickshire College, has been named chief executive officer of the as-yet unnamed body.

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