Today's news

February 21, 2003

Research elite want rethink of knowledge-transfer funding
Top research-led universities want the government to revise plans to give new universities access to a £50 million fund to work more closely with business and industry through knowledge transfer. The recent white paper on higher education proposes to set up 20 knowledge exchanges that will get £500,000 a year for five years for "less research-intensive" universities to work closely with local enterprises. Critics of the plan to give each university a separate mission see the funding stream as a sop to the new universities to compensate them for the concentration of research funding at the Russell Group universities. Vice-chancellors at leading research institutions have complained that while they may have a high-profile academic record, creating commercially valuable intellectual property, they also carry out important work "close to market".
(Financial Times)

Patten aims for Oxford's glittering prize
There is possibly only one election in the world where a 58-year-old former Conservative Party chairman and last governor of a British colony could be touted as the anti-establishment candidate, and Chris Patten has found it. The European Union commissioner is quoted as saying: "It's an extremely wise and effective establishment... and I should very much like to be part of it."
(Guardian)

Sir Geoffrey off his trolley?
"What sort of society is it that applauds politely and showers KCBs on people capable of spouting such drivel?" Leader article criticises Sir Geoffrey Holland for saying that universities should be like supermarkets.
(Daily Telegraph)

US professor on terrorist charge
A Florida professor and seven other men were charged yesterday with overseeing and financing the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. Sami Amin al-Arian, 45, a professor at the University of South Florida is indicted as being head of a terrorist cell in Tampa and secretary of the group's worldwide council.
(Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Ambassador chooses the LSE over home
The outgoing Czech ambassador to London, Pavel Seifter, is to take up an academic post at the London School of Economics rather than return home. "Prague used to be a good place for eccentricity, but it has recently lost its sense of humour," he said.
(Times)

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