Today's news

March 8, 2004


French researchers urge brain drain reversal
A petition by researchers in France calling on their government to provide more money to prevent the brain drain and provide extra funds for research has notched up over 57,000 signatures since January. The latest offer of more funds and extra jobs from science minister Claudie Haigneré has yet to appease the movement of protest, nor have last-minute appeals by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the prime minister. "We are heading towards a collective resignation tomorrow if the government offer is not modified" Alain Trautmann, spokesman for the protest movement, said after the minister had announced the unfreezing of €294m (£198 million) and 300 extra research jobs this year.
( Financial Times, Daily Telegraph)

Corpses 'sold' at US university
The man entrusted with supervising corpses and body parts donated to the University of California's prestigious medical school in Los Angeles was arrested at the weekend on suspicion of stealing them to sell to biomedical firms. Reports of an illicit trade in cadavers - undetected for as long as five years - came as a shock to UCLA. Yesterday, it posted guards outside the seventh floor freezer where it stores corpses.
( Guardian )

Global warming scientist 'gagged' by No 10
Downing Street tried to muzzle the government's top scientific adviser after he warned that global warming was a more serious threat than international terrorism. In a leaked memo, Ivan Rogers, Mr Blair's principal private secretary, told Sir David King, the chief scientist, to limit his contact with the media after he made outspoken comments about US president George Bush's policy on climate change. In January, Sir David wrote a scathing article in the journal Science attacking Washington for failing to take climate change seriously.
( Independent )

Science tries to woo women
A report from the Institute of Physics, timed to coincide with International Women's Day, suggests that the debate over women in science has moved on from a focus on helping women to get on in a man's world, to a recognition that scientists are crucial to a properly functioning modern economy. Overall in the European Union, four in 10 science graduates are women, although this hides large variations between countries. Only Italy and Portugal have more women than men graduating in science subjects, at 55 and 58 per cent respectively. In the UK the proportion is 37 per cent.
( Financial Times )

Minister urges small firms to take students
Nigel Griffiths, minister for small business, has called on more small firms to take on university students for summer work placements. Speaking at the launch last week of the annual Step programme, which places students at small and medium size companies for eight weeks over the summer, Mr Griffiths predicted that only one in eight requests for work would be filled this year.( Daily Telegraph )

Oxford student jailed for stabbing
An Oxford University student who fought a long battle against depression has been jailed for three years after stabbing his girlfriend in the chest. Neil Cornish had completed a criminology degree from Hull and was planning a career as a probation officer. It is unlikely, however, that Oxford University will allow him to continue with his Masters studies on his release. The university has already suspended him.
( Times )

PCs: the latest waste mountain
A study released today by scientists at the UN university in Tokyo reveals our relentless appetite for buying new computers - and the ease with which we throw out old ones. To make a new computer requires at least 10 times its weight in fossil fuels and chemicals. The study criticises governments for concentrating on recycling instead of introducing measures to reduce the numbers of new computers people buy, or encouraging them to buy secondhand machines.
( Guardian )

Get science out of the lab and on the balance sheet
Sir John Chisholm, chief executive of the QinetiQ Group, writes that there is no shortage of academic research in the UK, but it is its application and commercial exploitation that the government must tackle.
( Financial Times )

World MBA Tour tops 50 cities
The World MBA Tour will visit more than 50 cities worldwide, beginning tomorrow. The tour travels with 200 leading business schools, allowing potential students the opportunity to gather information on all aspects of business school life.
Details: http://www.topmba.com
( Financial Times )

Higher education items in the weekend press
- A £7.5m boost for facilities at Newcastle University marks the emergence of a two-tier system, according to student leaders. ( Mail on Sunday )
- Universities are turning to flexible study options as students grapple with burgeoning debt. ( Mail on Sunday )
- 20,000 gifted schoolchildren will receive extra help to fulfil their university potential. ( Sunday Telegraph )
- British universities are to be given the right to introduce US-style positive discrimination. ( Sunday Telegraph )
- Some students are finding it hard to organise their thoughts to write essays because of the way they are taught at school ( Independent , February 6)
- Over 75% of students do not realise that they are entitled to help with health-care costs. ( Guardian , February 6)
- Manchester University is hoping to aid students by offering cooperatively owned lodgings. ( Guardian , February 6)
- Feature on a disillusioned sociology lecturer from Liverpool University who wants to change career. ( Independent , February 6)

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