Today's news

May 16, 2005

Universities warned of threat from degree harmonisation
The higher education sector's answer to the euro could see hard-pressed universities lose lucrative overseas students to institutions on the Continent, according to a leading university vice-chancellor. The Bologna Process is an attempt by more than 40 European countries to create degrees that are easily comparable and transferable between them. It could undermine the attractiveness of UK universities as continental institutions adopt a more Anglo Saxon-style degree structure, warned Roderick Floud, president of London Metropolitan University and a board member of the European University Association.
The Financial Times

Medical schools snub top student
A bright student who has dreamed of becoming a doctor since beating childhood leukaemia has been rejected by four leading medical schools. Rebecca Tredgett, 17, is expected to get grade As in her A levels. But has been turned down by all four of her university choices - Oxford, Bristol, Exeter and King's College London.
The Daily Express

University faces strikes over plan to lay off 250
Union officials yesterday threatened to bring Glasgow University "to a standstill" if management decides to lay off staff in an effort to address a £7 million budget deficit. As many as 250 jobs could go at the university after Sir Muir Russell, its principal, warned of the need for "staff savings". In an e-mail to staff this week, Sir Muir said he wanted losses to come from a voluntary severance scheme, but refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. A similar exercise in 2002 led to around 150 members of staff leaving voluntarily.
The Scotsman

Out-of-towners 'lack broadband touch'
Rural businesses may be more backward in making the best use of new technology than their urban peers, research suggests. Brunel University's Broadband Research Centre has just discovered that technology can cause more problems for small firms than it solves. Professor Jyoti Choudrie's team examined four small businesses - two urban, two rural - over three months and found the country-based firms struggled.
The Daily Telegraph

Alcohol 'harms women faster'
Excessive drinking causes brain damage in women more quickly than in men, according to a team of scientists. The finding is especially worrying in the light of reports that binge drinking among women is soaring, according to the charity Alcohol Concern. Scientists at the University of Heidelberg in Germany took brain scans of 158 volunteers, 76 of whom were alcoholic men and women. They found they could use the brain scans to trace the progression of alcohol dependency in women. The scans also revealed that alcohol-induced brain damage could be picked up much earlier in women than men.
The Guardian, Nature, The Scotsman

US scientists push for go-ahead to genetically modify smallpox virus
US scientists are awaiting World Health Assembly approval to begin experiments to genetically modify the smallpox virus, one of the most lethal organisms the planet has known. Researchers have already been given the go-ahead by a technical committee of the World Health Organisation, which accepts the argument that the research could bring new vaccines and treatments for smallpox closer. This week the debate will pass for a final decision to the floor of the full assembly of the WHO, whose representatives from 192 member states begin a ten-day annual meeting in Geneva today.
The Guardian

Letter
Stating that it is universities who need to ensure the relevance of MBAs not business.
The Financial Times

Letter
From the pro vice-chancellor of Thames Valley University on the range of courses available at the institution. The Guardian

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday

  • Staff and academics at Oxford Brookes University have started a campaign to prevent Jeremy Clarkson receiving an honorary degree from the university. The Daily Telegraph
  • Hard-up students are flogging their clean driving licences to sly motorists who are desperate to dodge penalty points. The Daily Star

Sunday

  • Scottish scientists have saved the life of an eight-year-old girl using a technique that brings new hope to thousands of cancer sufferers. The Times
  • Researchers at the University of Birmingham find ageism in the workplace 'still exists'. The Scotsman

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