Today's news

April 28, 2005

Academics try to overturn Israeli university boycott
The controversial boycott of two Israeli universities by British academics could be overturned before it can start to take effect. Academics who oppose the boycott are to call an unprecedented special conference of the Association of University Teachers to overturn the ban after a massive international backlash against the action. Only 25 council members - AUT members elected to represent colleagues at the union's annual conference - need to request that a special conference be held.
The Independent, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Times Higher Education Supplement (April 29)

City backing Imperial College
Imperial College has raised £20 million from institutional investors to boost its work in finding industrial applications for intellectual property created by academics and students. Imperial Innovations, the company set up by the London college, said it was the first university technology transfer company to sell a stake to institutional investors. The unnamed investors have bought 29 per cent of the company, the remainder is owned by Imperial College. The company plans to float within three years.
The Financial Times

End inequality
New figures show that adults are flocking to sign up for part-time university courses, particularly at some institutions. In fact, they now form a staggering 41.7 per cent of the student body. But when they enrol, they find they're treated differently from the 18-year-old full-timers. They are not entitled to the same loans, and they have always had to pay fees. Moreover, they will not be part of the new top-up fee regime, which will mean they won't be able to pay deferred fees but will have to continue to pay fees up front. This is unfair. Why hasn't any political party said so?
The Independent

More women seeking degrees
The gap in university applications between women and men is the biggest yet, figures showed yesterday. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service said that there had been 244,300 applications from women and 194,342 from men this year. Applications from women rose by 8.8 per cent compared with 2004 but by only 7.1 per cent for men. The total of 438,642 applicants for degree courses starting in October was up 8 per cent on last year. Tuition fees increase to £3,000 a year in 2006.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (April 29)

English students look further afield
More English students are applying to universities in Scotland and Wales even before the introduction of top-up tuition fees in England, figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service revealed today. Applications to start degree courses this year have risen by 8 per cent (more than 32,000 extra students) on the same date last year, reflecting a rising population of 18-year olds in England. In Scotland, where the young population is falling, there was only a 1.8 per cent increase in applications.
The Guardian

Scots can't do the business, says Strathclyde
Native-born Scots lack the entrepreneurial get up and go that migrants from the rest of the UK possess, according to a study by University of Strathclyde. The report found that people migrating to Scotland were four times as likely to be setting up or running a business than those who had lived in the country all their lives. UK migrants do better than Scots at setting up new businesses because they are more likely to spot an opportunity.
The Scotsman

Mutation of 'Thatcher gene' is key to the power nappers
A single gene that could explain why some people can get by on just a few hours’ sleep each night has been discovered. A small mutation in a gene known as Shaker - also nicknamed the “Thatcher gene” after the former Prime Minister, who famously needed little sleep - allows fruit flies to thrive on a fraction of the sleep that they usually require, according to research in the United States.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent

Letters
Should universities do more to make clear to students the rules about plagiarism?
The Independent

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