R&D funding boost given a welcome
Scientists have welcomed the Government's 10-year investment framework for science and innovation, which aims to increase British spending on research and development from 1.86 per cent of gross domestic product now to 2.5 per cent in 2014. For the three years covered by the Chancellor's spending review, the Government's core science budget will grow by 5.8 per cent annually, rising from £4.2 billion in 2004-05 to £5.4 billion in 2007-08. Ian Diamond, chairman of Research Councils UK, which represents the bodies that distribute public grants to university researchers, said: "The new framework balances the need for money for new frontline research projects with the need to ensure that our research base is sustainable." Peter Cotgreave, director of the pressure group Save British Science, said: "We're especially pleased that the gap between the funding councils and the research councils will be closing."
Financial Times, Guardian, Times
See also Times Higher , June 11: Brown set to double cash for science
Lecturers set for new union
The Association of University Teachers and the lecturers' union Natfhe decided last Friday to dissolve and wed their members under a brand new union. The new union will bring together Natfhe's members in new universities and colleges with the AUT's members from the old universities. The deal, backed by the Trade Unions Council general secretary, Brendan Barber, is to begin "detailed work" on how the change will proceed. Initial proposals will be discussed in October, with a firm proposal for the creation of a new union to be considered by their individual conferences next spring.
The confusing system of more than 4,000 different vocational awards is to be reformed. The fundamental principles of a flexible credit-transfer system that will allow college students to build up the qualifications they need and meet the demands of industry have been agreed, according to Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Free entry to boost university museums
Free entry to university museums was announced yesterday in an extension of the scheme that has boosted numbers of visitors to national museums and galleries by 72 per cent. The principal benefit of the concession to museums such as the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge is that it allows them to reclaim Value Added Tax, which they could not do when they charged.
Museums go shopping for a display
Two consultation documents published this week by professional bodies for the museum sector are calling for museums to think "more creatively", considering that 90 per cent of their billion artefacts are kept in storerooms at any one time. They propose "diffusing" collections into everyday life by displaying parts of them in travel agents' windows, doctors' surgeries, schools and supermarkets.
Statistics show that people form ethnic minorities are now more likely to go to university than their white friends. But the figures conceal a disturbing array of problems: a look at DfES Research Report RR552.
Grants provide for clean energy development
Ceres Power, a company spun out from Imperial College London to develop fuel cells, is presented as a model for the sort of enterprise the Government wants to stimulate through its science and innovation strategy.
Research careers often badly paid
A short feature on how insecure the future is for Britain's young researchers.
Time to face the music
Article on the way that changes in the rules governing copyright have affected business and higher education institutions.
Interview with Christopher Ricks, the new Oxford professor of poetry, better known for his admiration of Bob Dylan than for his own work.