Today's news

October 27, 2005

Cambridge and Oxford rise in world academic rankings
Cambridge and Oxford are now the third and fourth best universities in the world respectively, according to international rankings published today in The Times Higher Education Supplement . They dislodged Stanford and Berkely, two leading US institutions, with Oxford rising from fifth place in 2004 and Cambridge moving up from sixth. Harvard retained its position as the world's top institution with Massachusetts Institute of Technology second. The only other international rankings, published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University earlier this year, also put the two leading British institutions in the top 10. While Cambridge was ranked second best in 2005, Oxford dropped two places from its 2004 position to tenth.
The Financial Times, The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Oct 28)

Blair tries to mend fences with call for shared EU policies
Tony Blair sought to mend relations with France before the European Union summit at Hampton Court today with proposals that would boost Europe’s global competitiveness and promote European integration. In a surprisingly pro-European speech to MEPs in Strasbourg yesterday, he called for a common European energy policy including a pan-European electrical grid; a European Research Council; an EU programme for raising university standards; and a common immigration policy to attract foreign talent.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph

University's 24% pay rise to draw top staff
Academics at a Scottish university are to receive salary rises of up to 24 per cent in a groundbreaking pay deal aimed to help attract the best qualified researchers and lecturers. Dundee University and the Dundee Association of University Teachers today issued a joint statement, revealing they are close to clinching an agreement on a new pay structure for academic staff, aimed at improving retention and recruitment at the university.
The Scotsman

Surrey satellite becomes China's eye in the sky
A lightweight surveillance satellite developed by a British company spun out of Surrey University research laboratory is to be launched today on behalf of China. The relationship between Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and its Chinese partners has raised concerns among US defence officials worried about key technologies falling into the hands of the Chinese military. SSTL has pioneered the development of small, low-cost satellites since the early 1980s.
The Financial Times

Debt hits poorer students hardest, finds study
Students from poor backgrounds are more likely to get into debt and take non-graduate jobs than their middle-class counterparts, according to research published today. A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that university leavers from disadvantaged areas of western Scotland often felt compelled to take the first job that came along. Scottish students do not have to pay tuition fees, but the report, from academics at Glasgow University, found the costs of studying for a degree hit the poorest hardest.
The Guardian

Student bursaries unfair, admits UUK chief
The new system of student bursaries to soften the impact of variable fees was "not equitable", the president of Universities UK, Drummond Bone, admitted to MPs yesterday. Members of the Commons education committee expressed concern that the plethora of bursaries being offered by individual universities in England was too complicated for potential students and their families to understand.
The Guardian

Graduates' first job dictated by debt
More than half of graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds are forced to take jobs that do not require a degree because they are in so much debt when they leave university, according to new research. A report by academics at Glasgow University found that because they do not get enough financial support from their families, they often have to take the first job that comes along. More than 250 young people from the west of Scotland were surveyed for the report, which was carried out on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The Scotsman

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