Today's news

March 13, 2006

Oxford overcomes computer problem to balance its books
Oxford University has finally managed to get its internal finances under control after a long period of turmoil, the university said today. Since the launch of an £8.5 million computerised accounting system in April 2004, the university has struggled to issue invoices for its multi-million pound research activities, which made up about 35 per cent of its £530 million income in 2004-05. Last year the university was only bringing in just £6 million a month from research sponsors when it needed £15 million and had built up a billing backlog of £100 million. Giles Kerr, Oxford's finance director, said the new system was now working and the billing backlog cleared.
The Financial Times

Students slam hike in fees as medic flood fails to arrive
Student leaders are calling for an urgent rethink on plans for a fee increase to stop English trainee doctors flooding Scottish universities. They said new official figures undermined claims by the Scottish Executive that Scottish medical students risked being squeezed out of courses here by their English counterparts escaping new top-rate tuition fees south of the Border. And they urged MSPs to force a re-examination of the £00 charge due to be introduced for medical students from other parts of the UK from September.
The Scotsman

Moore bronze recalled amid fears for security
A sculpture by Henry Moore has been recalled early from its loan period at Exeter University amid security fears following the theft last year of another of the artist's bronze works. The 7ft long bronze Reclining Connected Forms has been removed from the entrance to the university and returned to the Henry Moore Foundation. "It was on loan to us and has been recalled eight months early," a university spokesman said. "It is a shame because it is an attraction. But it was a fair distance from buildings and it was vulnerable. It is understandable that the foundation has to err on the side of caution."
The Daily Telegraph

Monster-like fungi grows on science judges
By revealing the secrets of athlete's foot, mega mushrooms, glow sticks and the tan colour of tea, two young researchers won the first heat of a hunt for the next generation of science popularisers. FameLab, science's answer to Pop Idol , aims to find a "Curie meets Davina McCall" figure, or an "Einstein meets Jonathan Ross", who will galvanise the nation's enthusiasm for clones, quarks or genetics. Over the weekend, the first heat of FameLab was held at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne to find new faces to take over from the likes of Robert Winston, David Attenborough and Susan Greenfield. The winners were Steve Robertson, , a Newcastle University student doing a doctorate in fungal degradation, and Sarah Curtis, 21, a master's student from the University of Leeds.
The Daily Telegraph

Vaccines may save one in 10 cancer victims, say scientists
Thousands of cancers will be prevented every year in Britain as specific vaccines are developed, scientists at the leading cancer charity predict today. A report from Cancer Research UK says that in time one in 10 cancers could be prevented by vaccines and they estimate that a quarter of cancers in the developing world are triggered by a handful of infections. One in three people will have some form of cancer in their lifetime and more than 5,000 new cancers are diagnosed in Britain each year. Breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancers account for more than half of them. The authors stress that people cannot "catch" cancer like a cold. Rather some viruses can initiate disease in a proportion of susceptible people.
The Daily Telegraph

Scientists have 'moral duty' to help us live beyond 100
Humanity has a “moral duty” to pursue scientific research that could enhance intelligence and allow people to live well beyond 100 years as a matter of routine, according to an expert on medical ethics. John Harris, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester, will argue tomorrow that the human race has not only the right but the responsibility to embrace contentious technologies such as genetic engineering and drugs that improve mental capacity.
The Times

Regarding Leeds lecturer Frank Ellis.
The Independent

Regarding the AUT strike.
The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail

On funding and the Natural Environmental Research Council.
The Times

From the weekend's papers:


  • The scientists who produced Dolly, are at loggerheads over who deserves credit for the breakthrough . The Guardian
  • Landlord tax likely to raise rents for students. The Daily Telegraph
  • Leeds students are being asked to help with a drinking study. The Guardian
  • 9ft mini-version of the 90-ft naked woman to be unveiled at a Dundee art centre exhibition. The Scotsman


  • Sussex University's acclaimed chemistry department is to be closed. The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph
  • Bath University has launched a degree course dedicated to the study of death. The Sunday Telegraph
  • Riot police stormed Paris's Sorbonne University to eject protesters. The Scotsman
  • Bombing near the Mustansiriyah University in east Baghdad injures five policemen. The Guardian, The Scotsman

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