Today's news

November 9, 2004

Right to put up university fees must be earned
Universities will have to show they are "reaching out" to working-class children as young as 11 before they are allowed to charge higher fees, Sir Martin Harris, the new director of the Office for Fair Access, said yesterday. They would have to spend at least £200 million a year attracting more students from lower socio-economic groups and "put money directly into their pockets" in the form of bursaries. A particularly large contribution would be required from the 20 "middle-class" universities that have "furthest to go in attracting an increased number of applications from under-represented groups", Sir Martin said.
Daily Telegraph, Financial Times

Strings attached
Sir Martin Harris, the director of Offa, explains what he will require universities to do if they want to charge full fees.
Guardian

Proposal for later degree choices
A new system of university admissions allowing students to apply after they receive their results could be in place by 2008, head teachers said yesterday. Students would make "indicative" choices of two or three universities in May but leave their final decision until after getting their results in mid-July, a month earlier than at present, under the scheme being considered by the Government. The proposal, from a commission set up by the Secondary Heads' Association, is backed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which took part in the inquiry. Higher education minister Kim Howells said the Government's consultation group set up last month to recommend a system of post-qualification applications would study the proposals "with keen interest".
Daily Telegraph, Times

Change in scientific publishing rejected
A call by MPs to support a fundamental change in scientific publishing has been rejected by the Government. The move provoked a charge from Ian Gibson, chairman of the Commons science committee, that the Department of Trade and Industry "is more interested in kow-towing to the powerful publishing lobby than it is in looking after the best interests of British science". The committee wanted Britain to lead an international move away from traditional "subscriber-pays" journals to an "author-pays" model that would provide everyone with open access to research findings.
Financial Times

This could be the last time
Pressure is growing for the research assessment exercise to be axed - once universities have spent four years fighting themselves to a standstill in the battle for the best academics.
Guardian

The laughing cavalier
Historian David Starkey says there's nothing funny about the decline in academic standards.
Guardian

Camera flash keeps rescuers in the picture
Five members of the Newcastle University Mountaineering Club used the flash of a camera to attract rescuers after they got stuck 800ft up Snowdon in North Wales in pitch darkness. They summoned help with their mobile phones before eating chocolate and climbing into bivvy bags to keep warm.
Daily Telegraph

Gene that protects against lung cancer found
Scientists at University College London have discovered a gene that seems to protect against lung cancer. In research reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , they say that faulty versions of the gene, which may be a tumour suppressor, are associated with lung cancer.
Times

Cancer patient's ovary kept alive in her own arm
A woman of 29 being treated for cervical cancer had one of her ovaries removed and then implanted into her arm, doctors reported yesterday. The operation, the first successful "auto-transplant" of its kind, meant that the patient, from Surinam in South America, avoided being made menopausal by her radiation treatment. Doctors at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, moved the woman's left ovary to her left arm at the same time as they attempted to remove the cancer by a full hysterectomy. The team reported its success yesterday in the journal Cancer .
Daily Telegraph, Times

Stem cell treatment offers hope for cardiac patients
Scientists yesterday suggested that within a few years they could help cardiac patients repair and regenerate their hearts by using stem or parent cells from their own organs. They think they have developed a way of harvesting cells from sick patients and then multiplying them in laboratories into sufficient numbers for treatment. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine and Heart Institute in Baltimore worked with Rome University scientists to develop the Italian team's initial work in this area, and revealed progress to the American Heart Association's meeting in New Orleans.
Guardian

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