Today's news

May 19, 2005

Oxford safety plan
Oxford University is to complete its £18 million animal research laboratory by preparing large sections of the building off-site to protect builders from intimidation from animal rights extremists. A very large number of workers will then complete the work quickly on-site to minimise potential disruption. 
The Times Higher Education Supplement (May 20), The Times, The Financial Times

Universities at risk to remain anonymous
Government officials are refusing to reveal which eleven universities they have been monitoring because they are "at risk" of financial failure. The Higher Education Funding Council for England last night turned down an appeal to reveal which universities are on the "institutional risk monitoring" documents, which it released last month under the Freedom of Information Act, with the names and identifying factors blanked out.
The Guardian

Westminster to keep open Uzbek campus
The head of the University of Westminster today defended his decision not to withdraw from a campus the university runs in the troubled central Asian country of Uzbekistan. Academics at the London campus expressed "serious concerns" about the safety of staff at the Westminster International University in Tashkent and its collaboration with the Uzbek government, which is accused of ordering its security forces to open fire on hundreds of protesters last week.
The Guardian

Students from care left to cope alone
Children leaving care to go to university are being let down by councils which fail to provide them with enough support, according to a report published today. The first study to chart the experiences of higher education students from foster families and children's homes found that care leavers, despite frequently having suffered "severe abuse and neglect" from their birth families, show "extraordinary resilience" and are less likely to drop out of university than the average student in the UK.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (May 20)

Universities crack down on St Patrick's day troublemakers
Northern Ireland’s two universities have taken tough action against students involved in disorderly and drunken behaviour on St Patrick’s Day. Following incidents in Belfast on March 17, suspensions, fines and warnings have been issued. The University of Ulster and Queen’s University had pledged to crack down on drunken revellers this year after growing complaints from residents living in the Holyland area of south Belfast about the bad and anti-social behaviour of students.
The Scotsman

Spurned child prodigy leapt 50ft to death
A former child prodigy slashed his arms and jumped 50ft to his death after a female student rejected his advances, an inquest was told yesterday. Michael Chan, 19, reading chemistry at Imperial College London, was also shunned by fellow students but killed himself without reading a text message apology from one of them.
The Times

Students without bank accounts 'miss £30 a week'
Teenagers who plan to stay on in education have been urged to make sure they have their own bank accounts or miss out on a government grant worth hundreds of pounds a year. The Learning & Skills Council made the call following the results of a MORI poll. Figures from the survey showed that nearly a quarter of 16-year-olds did not have the current or savings account that they will need to receive payments of the Government's education maintenance allowance.
The Guardian

Oxford gets funding boost for climate change research
Oxford University's climate change research centre has been allocated more than £3.5 million in government funding over the next five years, the Environment Minister, Elliott Morley, announced this week. The grant will be used by the university's environmental change institute for its work in the UK Climate Impacts Programme.
The Guardian

Civil engineering applications show long-awaited signs of rising
According to the Institution of Civil Engineers, the numbers entering civil engineering as a first degree has increased for the third year in a row, and by 15 per cent in 2004 over 2003. Industry insiders have been left scratching their heads at this upward trend.
The Independent

Safety fears shut Gateway Theatre ahead of festival
A theatre used for training Edinburgh’s young actors has been closed down over safety fears. The Gateway Theatre on Leith Walk, owned by Queen Margaret University College, has been shut after a survey of the building exposed flaws in the structure of the main auditorium. A Queen Margaret spokeswoman refused to give details of the survey report today, but admitted a number of concerns had been raised about fire safety.
The Scotsman

Wearing red gives opponents blues
Sporting competitors are more likely to emerge victorious if they are wearing red, according to a study of performance in a range of Olympic events. Now two evolutionary biologists at Durham University have found the same effect might also operate in humans to subconsciously put an opponent on the back foot, whether in a fight or a sporting event. The researchers believe that, to ensure a level playing field, sporting authorities should pay more attention to the colour of sporting attire.
The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, New Scientist, The Guardian, Nature

Monster grant for research into Nessie
An Edinburgh scientist has won a £45,000 grant to carry out research into a new protein called Nessie. Dr Brian McHugh, of the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at Edinburgh University, has been given the funding from Cancer Research UK.
The Scotsman

Citizens' jury to weigh up the case for nanotechnology
Greenpeace and scientists at Cambridge University have launched a public debate on nanotechnology, the science of the vanishingly small. The debate, taking the form of a five-week citizens' jury, was set up amid fears that without public consultation nanotechnology could suffer a backlash similar to that over genetically modified food.
The Guardian

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