Today's news

October 4, 2004

Parents stay ahead of university access game
Some parents are moving to more working-class areas to help their children get into good universities, it was claimed yesterday. Vice-chancellors believe that families are increasingly "playing the system" as the Government tries to widen university access through social engineering. Michael Sterling, chairman of the Russell Group which represents 19 leading universities, warned that parents were already getting wise to the changes.
Daily Mail

Discordant note over 'too posh' Academy
The Royal Academy of Music is facing allegations of class bias after official figures revealed it managed to admit just over half of entrants from the state sector, against a government-set benchmark of almost 88 per cent. Another leading conservatoire, the Royal College of Music, managed only 45 per cent, leading to criticism that the two institutions had a toff count of Oxbridge proportions. But Royal Academy of Music principal Curtis Price defends his position: "The problem is not with higher education but with secondary education. Send me the students, please!"
Guardian, Times

'Idiotic' EU directive accused of threat to medical research
Vital medical research is faltering across the European Union as the result of a poorly drafted law that has infuriated scientists. Researchers fear that the EU's Clinical Trials Directive, which came into force in Britain in May, will impose a heavy burden of extra costs, complexity and paperwork on universities and hospitals carrying out low-budget studies of medical products. The law was agreed in 2001 to harmonise EU standards, even though the existing code of conduct worked well. More than 2,000 scientists have signed a petition calling for repeal of the law. A survey of more than 400 doctors found that only 40 per cent of respondents knew of the new directive.
Daily Telegraph

First independent medical school for 100 years
Leading cancer specialist Karol Sikora is to head the first independent medical school to be set up in Britain for more than a century. The school is being established at the University of Buckingham. The department will provide a route into medicine for graduates who want a change of career and those who were forced to abandon their ambitions after failing to secure one of the limited places on existing university courses.
Daily Telegraph

Super business school born in Manchester
Professor John Arnold talks about the new Manchester Business School - part of the merger to create a "super university" at Manchester. It will be formed this month when the existing Manchester Business School, the Institute of Innovation Research, the Victoria University of Manchester's School of Accounting and Finance and Umist's Manchester School of Management merge.
Times

Killer volcano is ready to blow
Scientists from the US Geological Survey said that they detected tremors at Mount St Helens yesterday and warned that the volcano, which erupted in May 1980, killing 57 people, was about to blow again. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the area about 100 miles south of Seattle in Washington state after the volcano erupted briefly on Friday, spewing steam and ash for about 24 minutes to an altitude of 10,000 feet (3,050 metres).
Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph

Pinhole camera to seek out new worlds
Nasa has announced that it is planning to build a pinhole camera in space to spot planets orbiting distant stars. This particular device, however, will be a little larger than its classroom cousins: the new worlds imager would be the size of a football field with a hole 10m (30ft) wide in the centre. The man behind the scheme is Webster Cash of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Guardian

Science reveals its glorious hidden beauty
Intriguing images from the 2004 Daily Telegraph/Novartis Visions of Science photography competition reveal a normally unseen world of beautiful colour, pattern and symmetry. This year's awards attracted 1,300 entries, covering every scientific and medical subject from grisly gut parasites and eyelash mites, to operations in Romania and science lessons in Rajasthan. The full list of winners will be revealed at the Royal Society, London, tomorrow and posted on www.visions-of-science.co.uk .
Daily Telegraph

Higher education items in the weekend press
- Universities and colleges could be forced to close as one in three foreign students applying to enter Britain is rejected in a clampdown. Observer
- The mother of a murdered gap-year student is to make a national appeal to urge students to take basic precautions before travelling. Independent on Sunday
- At least three leading universities have introduced schemes that favour state school students. Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph
- UCL is appealing to its wealthiest alumni to raise £300 million to maintain its world class status. Sunday Telegraph
- Oxford and Cambridge are uniting to defeat attempts to force them to raise their intake of state school pupils. Mail on Sunday
- Euan Blair is rumoured to be applying for an MBA course at Harvard. Sunday Times
- Investigation into the bizarre world of university societies. Daily Telegraph , October 2
- More than 60,000 students returned to Leeds this week to discover a vast social experiment that aims to limit their takeover of scores of streets around the two universities. Guardian , October 2
- Cambridge University's vice-chancellor tells about the challenges faced by a changing academic institution. Financial Times , October 2

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