Today's news

December 21, 2005

Universities 'failing' on staff-student policies
Half of universities are failing to publish policies on staff-student relationships and could be leaving their employees and students vulnerable to charges of harassment or favouritism, it was revealed today. Fifty of the 102 universities asked revealed their staff-student policies confirmed they have no guidance in place for dealing with such relationships. Student and lecturers' groups said there was a clear need for such policies to provide protection, but the universities umbrella group Universities UK said the issue did not present big problems for universities. Universities are advised to have a policy that states whether their staff should declare a relationship with a student to avoid any later conflicts, charges of harassment by a student or accusations of favouritism from other students.
The Times Higher Education Supplement (Dec 22), The Guardian

Bradford links up with Pakistan college
The University of Bradford's new chancellor, the former cricketer Imran Khan, has brokered a deal to set up links between the university and a college in Pakistan. The deal will make the new Namal College, in the Mianwali district of Pakistan, an associate college of the university from its opening in September next year. The move is expected to build links between Bradford, which has a relatively high proportion of Pakistani students, and Pakistan. It is Mr Khan's first act as chancellor after being appointed to the position earlier this month. Mr Khan is a member of parliament for the Mianwali district of Pakistan and the chairman of the Mianwali Development Trust, which has set up the partnership.
The Guardian

Combining food additives may be harmful, say researchers
New research on common food additives, including the controversial sweetener aspartame and food colourings, suggests they may interact to interfere with the development of the nervous system. Researchers at the University of Liverpool examined the toxic effects on nerve cells in the laboratory of using a combination of four common food additives - aspartame, monosodium glutamate and the artificial colourings brilliant blue and quinoline yellow. The findings of their two-year study were published last week in the journal Toxicological Sciences .
The Guardian

Braveheart launches uni spin-out investment fund
Braveheart Ventures, one of Scotland's biggest business angel groups, has launched a new tax-efficient scheme aimed at offering investment in university spin-out companies. Chief executive of the Perth-based operation Geoffrey Thomson said the Alpha EIS Fund already has framework arrangements with seven Scottish universities. He said the fund will provide investors with an opportunity to build a junior portfolio of tax-efficient investments in seed or early-stage companies that are "rich in intellectual property" and which have the "potential for significant capital growth". Participants in the £2.5 million fund are expected to include Bank of Scotland Corporate - which took a 10 per cent stake in Braveheart last month - and Scottish Enterprise.
The Scotsman

No dummies amongst the cream of city's trainee medics
Patients are set to be used instead of mannequins for the first time to teach trainee doctors in Edinburgh. A database of willing patients with particular illnesses will be set up to allow students to use them as guinea pigs whenever they need to. Until now, students have used mannequins in classes and real people only in live examinations. But Edinburgh University believes its students will benefit from practising on the real thing throughout the year.
The Scotsman

Creation of 'hot ice' could explain cloud formation puzzle
Scientists have created ice at room temperature, potentially explaining a mysterious variation in the temperature at which clouds form. By exposing water to a weak electric field, they have produced what is being called "hot ice". The discovery could answer a question that has perplexed atmospheric scientists for years: why the temperature at which water droplets stick to dust and turn to ice to form clouds varies according to whether the dust particles have been through the process before. South Korean researchers were surprised that the field needed to create ice at room temperature was only 106 volts per metre, a strength low enough to be found in nature.
The Daily Telegraph

Regarding Oxbridge admissions.
The Times

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