Today's news

March 18, 2004


Brown finds extra cash to fund growth
Gordon Brown quashed fears that universities would be expanded on the cheap this week by confirming that the government will fully fund rising student numbers until 2008. In Wednesday's budget speech, the chancellor declared for the first time that public spending per student would be maintained in real terms, appearing to rule out the threat that income from top-up fees from 2006 would be clawed back for other uses. Overall, the education budget for England will rise to £64 billion by 2007-08, amounting to an average 4.4 per cent real-terms rise a year for three years.
( Times Higher )

Research boost for new medicines and technology
A 10-year plan to strengthen medical research in the National Health Service was unveiled as part of a package of measures to boost the development of new medicines and technology. The chancellor said NHS spending on research and development would increase by £100 million a year within four years. Together with an extra £100 million a year from the Medical Research Council, this would take public investment in clinical research and development within the NHS to almost £1.2 billion a year from 2008. Gordon Brown also announced the creation of a National Clinical Research Network to co-ordinate the activities of private companies, public sector organisations and medical charities.
( Financial Times, Independent )

Foreign graduates told they're in business
Ministers have decided to boost the calibre of Britain's bosses by throwing open the country's doors to graduates of "the world's top 50 business schools", giving MBA alumni a fast track into British management. Gordon Brown's budget package includes a "new entitlement" for business school graduates from outside the European Union to come to the UK in search of work.
( Financial Times )

'Serious lack' of women in academia
The higher education sector could be plunged into crisis unless young women are given more encouragement to aim for top jobs in academia - where their sex remain seriously under-represented, the head of the universities' umbrella group warned last night. In a hard-hitting speech Lady Warwick said there were negative knock-on effects for public life if higher education continued to be perceived as a male-dominated culture, with limited opportunities and challenges for women. Her analysis of the gender split showed that of the 170 heads of higher education institutions - which include universities as well as specialist colleges - only 13% are women, while there are only 10 women vice-chancellors of universities, 8% of the total.
( Guardian )

Male lust is blamed for Oxford bias towards girls
Oxford dons are biased in favour of female applicants, especially if they come from independent schools, according to a study for the Oxford Magazine by four eminent academics. One of them, A. H. Halsey, emeritus professor of sociology at Oxford, said: "I fear that the male lust hypothesis is part of the explanation." The four compared the fates of more than 2,000 pupils from state and independent schools who achieved at least three As at A level and applied to read medicine at Oxford between 1994 and 2001.
( Daily Telegraph )

Internet 'call-girl author' unmasked by academic
Don Foster, the English professor from Vassar College in New York, who unmasked Joe Klein as the author of Primary Colors , announced yesterday that he took just 20 minutes to deduce the identity of the infamous "Belle de jour" - the internet "call-girl author" who has set literary tongues wagging since a lucrative book deal was announced. The academic identified prime suspect Sarah Champion, 33, from Manchester, using little more than common sense, the internet and the vagaries of the English language. Belle's agent was anxious last night to deny that Foster had identified the correct person.
( Times )

Academic reveals types of man
After 15 years studying masculinity, Stephen Whitehead, a gender expert at Keele University and a member of the Cabinet Office Forum on Gender Research, has concluded that, when it comes to relating to the opposite sex, there are types of man. He has produced an A to Z explaining what makes each one tick.
( Times )

Life on Earth depended on the Moon
British biologist Richard Lathes from Pieta Research, Edinburgh, believes that the Moon's gravitational pull kick-started life on Earth four billion years ago when it orbited far closer. According to Lathes, the tides this caused triggered major fluctuations in salt concentrations that gave life a helping hand.
( Daily Telegraph )

Cambridge lose oldest chess fixture
The outcome of the 122nd Varsity match, the world's oldest chess fixture, hosted by the RAC Club in London last Saturday, was a 6-2 win for Oxford. This was Oxford's 50th victory since the competition began in 1873 but their first since 1998.
( Daily Telegraph )

Obituaries
- Sir John Pople, the mathematician who won a Nobel prize for a computer program that elucidates chemical processes, died on March 15, aged 78. ( Daily Telegraph )
- Sir William Wade, legal scholar, died on March 12, aged 86. ( Daily Telegraph )
- Cedric Sandford, public-finance economist and founding pillar of Bath University, died on March 5, aged 79. ( Independent )
- Bernhard Henbest, organic chemist and educationalist, died on February 16, aged 79. ( Times )

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