Today's news

February 26, 2004


Ivy League may take best British students
US Ivy League universities will have set up campuses in the UK by the end of the decade to recruit British students, predicts Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at the University of Warwick. "It is only a matter of time before US universities set up shop in our country", he says. "Crucially, the newcomers will offer generous scholarships to our cleverest students from hard-up backgrounds. They will do this by transferring part of the cash paid up - cheerfully - by British students coming from well-off British homes." Leading academics believe the group of eight prestigious and long-established universities in the east of the US  will have a head start on their British counterparts. They will be able to charge full-cost fees as they will not be bound by the government's maximum top-up fee of £3,000 a year for UK state universities. They will also be able to provide world-class research facilities and resources.
( Independent )

Top cancer expert, 91: 'I'll go to jail for science'
One of the world's leading cancer researchers, 91-year-old Sir Richard Doll, has said he would be willing to go to prison for breaking one of the many new laws that academics believe are stifling clinical medical research. Sir Richard, who was the first scientist to show a link between lung cancer and smoking, told a crisis meeting of clinical academics at Oxford University last Friday that something dramatic had to be done to alert the public to the serious constraints being placed on researchers working with patients.
( Times Higher, Daily Telegraph )

Students with term jobs risk poor results
Doing paid work during term time has a damaging effect on students' results, research shows. The first study of graduates who entered university when tuition fees were introduced in 1998 showed that, although most students worked during their holidays, 42 per cent had taken paid employment while studying. This group was less likely to gain a good degree, according to the Institute of Employment Studies.
( Financial Times, Guardian )

Working-class graduates still at a disadvantage
A class divide between rich and poor students continues after they have graduated from university, the Institute for Employment Studies report concluded yesterday. Students from working-class homes were less likely to do well at university and more likely to be in lower-paid jobs when they graduated. They also accumulated bigger debts than their middle-class peers.
( Times )

Lecturers defiant on marking boycott
Defiant academics vowed yesterday to press ahead with a boycott of marking that could jeopardise students' chances of getting their degrees, after failing to achieve a threatened mass shutdown of universities in England. Picket lines of lecturers and students engaged in a joint protest over low pay and top-up tuition fees did, however, succeed in causing disruption to some campuses.
( Guardian )

Should the dons strike?
The case for industrial action investigated.
( Independent )

Shayler wants to become Dundee rector
MI5 whistleblower David Shayler is reportedly campaigning to become rector of Dundee University - which nearly threw him out as a student in the 1980s.
( Daily Mail )

Centre to cut down on animal research
A plan for a national centre to research and develop alternatives to using animals in medical experiments is to be unveiled by the government. The science minister, Lord Sainsbury, said last night that proposals for a centre to develop non-animal testing would be announced "within a few days". The move comes weeks after Cambridge University's decision, in the wake of violent animal rights protests, to scrap a planned primate research lab to investigate brain conditions.
( Guardian )

Dolly firm ready to sell
PPL Therapeutics, the creator of the cloned sheep Dolly, yesterday said it was in exclusive talks to sell the firm for about £6 million. The company put itself up for sale last year and whittled down the number of potential bidders to one this month. PPL sold off its "Dolly" technology to US firm Exeter Life Sciences last year.
( Guardian )

Don't cut fees, say Indian business students
Students at the Indian Institute of Management are in revolt over fees: not because they are going up, but because they are being cut. The government says it wants to increase access to India's six elite business schools by cutting the cost of courses. At the heart of the issue is middle-class India's distrust of the state. Opponents say the plans amount to renationalisation.
( Guardian )

800 apply for 35 places to learn plumbing
Demand is soaring on a four-year NVQ course in plumbing at Hackney Community College in East London. The college has been inundated with applications - many from graduates with good degrees in law and accounting looking for career changes.
( Daily Mail )

Demands for return of Lindisfarne Gospels
The wrangle over north-east England's equivalent of the Elgin Marbles, the Lindisfarne Gospels, intensified last night when calls for their return reached the House of Commons. The beautiful eighth-century illuminated manuscript, one of Christianity's earliest documents and a magnificent example of Northumbrian craftsmanship, is displayed in the British Library in London. John Tomaney, who chairs the Yes4theNorthEast devolution campaign said: "The obstructive attitude of the British Library perfectly epitomises the condescension of London elites to the English regions."
( Financial Times )

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