Today's news

May 6, 2005

Tuition fee rise leaves part-time students on brink of extinction
Thousands of students hoping to embark on part-time study for degrees next year will find their ambitions blocked as universities fear that they will no longer be able to afford the cost of running the courses. Vice-chancellors believe that part-time degrees could gradually disappear as more universities turn to full-time education to maximise funding. With more than 812,000 students, the part-time sector involves 42 per cent of higher education students and is the biggest growth area for universities. However, from 2006, part-time students, unlike their full-time counterparts, will not be eligible for maintenance grants or bursaries and will have to pay increased tuition fees.
The Times

OUP widens open access trial
The drive to make scientific, medical and academic research more freely available on the internet got a shot in the arm yesterday as Oxford University Press widened its trial of open access publishing. In a separate move, a new plan was announced yesterday to digitise thousands of core legal judgments and law reports, making them available free over the web. Academics and publishers have debated the benefits of open access for years, with some commentators suggesting that making information freely available over the internet could destroy Britain's publishing community.
The Guardian

Critics fear university's £40m centre vision will dwarf area
Critics have warned that a £40 million state-of-the-art university building to transform a city eyesore will be too large for the area. Edinburgh University has lodged a bid to build the centre on the unsightly Crichton Street car park at Potterrow. The development, planned for completion in 2007, will provide a new School of Informatics. The school's South Bridge premises were destroyed by the Old Town fire in December 2002. It is the first stage in the university’s 15-year masterplan to revamp the George Square and Bristo Square area.
The Scotsman

Fashion students seek Huddersfield touch
Fashion students from one of the world's leading couture centres have chosen to round off their education in the textile-rich but down-to-earth town of Huddersfield. The first of an annual group from Paris will arrive in the Yorkshire town later this year to spend 12 months adjusting à la mode couture to a price-conscious but often innovative local market. The scheme will also see students from Huddersfield spend time in Paris, trying out designs on big fashion houses.
The Guardian

Scientists discover key to a longer life (maybe)
Scientists have prolonged the lives of laboratory mice by 20 per cent using a technique that boosts the natural antioxidants of the body. If similar results are applied to humans then it would mean average lifespans could be extended from the present 75 years or so to more than 100 years. The findings demonstrate for the first time the important role damaging oxidising substances called "free radicals" play in the ageing process, the researchers said.
The Independent, The Times, New Scientist

Snails may bring back memories
The humble pond snail is playing a crucial role in the search for ways to improve human memory. Scientists at the University of Sussex have been awarded a £750,000 grant from the Medical Research Council to investigate developing a "Viagra for the brain" to build up long-term memory and learning. Humans and snails shared some important characteristics, unchanged by evolution, said George Kemenes, who is leading the trial.
The Daily Telegraph

Epilepsy grant to help develop new treatment
Research paving the way for a more effective treatment for epilepsy has been given a three-year grant worth £60,000. Mike Cousins of the department of biomedical sciences at the University of Edinburgh has secured the three-year grant from the Epilepsy Research Foundation to help his research into the treatment.
The Scotsman

Capital plan to join the science flock
Edinburgh is set to mount a bid to become an official "City of Science" just months after being designated a Unesco World City of Literature. City chiefs are behind moves to celebrate hundreds of years of world-class research and innovation as well as ongoing and future developments in science locally.
The Scotsman

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