Today's news

September 8, 2005

Students happier with traditional academic courses
University students are more satisfied with traditional academic subjects than the more fashionable vocational disciplines such as media studies, according to the leaked findings of the Government's first ever national student satisfaction survey. Those studying philosophy and theology claim to be most contented with their courses, while art and design, tourism and media studies are among disciplines where students admit they are less happy.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Sept 9)

£10m for exchange project
The prime minister will announce a £10 million programme of exchanges between universities and schools in India and the UK today to help cement a relationship with India's higher education sector. About 16,000 Indian students study in the UK every year, many on postgraduate research programmes. Tony Blair wants to boost that number. The international student market was worth £1.15bn to British universities last year, but vice-chancellors have warned of increasing competition to recruit overseas students from America, Australia and the developing world.
The Guardian

Professor gets to the heart of the matter
The results of a trial led by Edinburgh University professor Keith Fox into the way in which heart disease is treated could save up to 5000 lives a year. The British Heart Foundation research also found patients at risk of a heart attack were more likely to survive if they were referred immediately for an angiography test. The study involved 1800 UK patients. The results were today being presented at a European conference in Stockholm.
The Scotsman

Funding council chief takes up university post
Sir Howard Newby, head of the universities funding body, is to become the new vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England, in Bristol. It will be his second stint as head of a university after seven years at Southampton University. He became a national figure as president of Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, between 1999 and 2001 before moving to the chief executive's post at Hefce, responsible for distributing £6 billion a year to the sector and a key intermediary with ministers in vital spending negotiations.
The Guardian

'Nanomachines' represent huge stride in technology
Scientists have for the first time built molecular-scale "nanomachines" that can move objects a million times larger, the British Association science festival was told yesterday. Chemists at Edinburgh University propelled droplets of liquid up a slope, using light to activate banks of molecular machines that coat a gold surface. Although the experiment is proof of a principle with no immediate use, the technology has many potential applications. They include linking nanomachines to make artificial muscle fibres, producing "smart materials" that change physical properties in response to a stimulus, and - further in the future - controlling the movement of drugs around the body to points where they are needed.
The Financial Times

Vicious circle of CO2 emissions is speeding up climate change
The Kyoto treaty's attempts to curb man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are being undermined by extra carbon dioxide released naturally from the ground as a result of climate change. A study has found that the soil of Britain is emitting more carbon dioxide into the air than a quarter of a century ago because increasing temperatures are speeding up the natural rate of organic decay. Scientists believe the findings have major scientific and political implications for the Kyoto treaty on climate change which is aimed at limiting the amount of man-made carbon dioxide - the major greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere.
The Independent, The Guardian

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