Today's news

May 8, 2006

Lecturers start crucial pay talks
Lecturers today began a crunch meeting with employers to try to end a two-month pay dispute that is threatening to delay student graduations. The Association of University Teachers and the lecturers' union Natfhe have begun pay negotiations with the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association. The lecturers who are seeking a 23 per cent increase over three years, have boycotted marking students' work since March and AUT members have also been refusing to set exams until their demands for a pay rise are met. Last week, however, the lecturers agreed to resume some duties to allow them to take part in negotiations.
The Guardian

Bosses spot the best of both worlds in students from abroad
Students face growing competition for jobs with Britain’s top companies from an elite of foreign graduates educated at British universities. British undergraduates at good universities could no longer expect to walk into the best careers as businesses increasingly recruited from a pool of international talent, the Council for Industry and Higher Education said yesterday. Its study said that foreign students educated in Britain offered employers many of the same creative skills as their British counterparts, but with additional cultural and linguistic advantages. Bill Rammell, the Minister for Higher Education, said that British undergraduates would have to cope with greater competition as universities sought out international students to boost their income.
The Times

New degree and centre for Fletcher
The Fletcher School at Tufts University in Massachusetts is to launch both a new degree programme and a research centre thanks in part to the generous foundation donation of a Swiss businessman. Thomas Schmidheiny's $5 million (£2.7 million) gift will be split between the two, with the master of science in international management receiving $3 million and the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises the remainder. Mr Schmidheiny says he was attracted to Fletcher because of its unique approach in understanding the social and cultural issues of other countries.
The Financial Times

Genetic clue to spotting cancer that strikes 30,000 men a year
A common genetic variant that predisposes men to prostate cancer has been identified by scientists, promising to improve screening and treatment of the disease. Research in Iceland has established that a characteristic genetic fingerprint is strongly linked to prostate tumours, accounting for up to 8 per cent of these cancers in European men and twice this among those of African descent. The study, by a team led by Kari Stefansson of the Icelandic company deCODE Genetics, has not isolated an individual gene that is responsible for the effect, but has pinpointed a region of chromosome 8.
The Times

Astronomers look into life in outer space
The question of whether there really is anybody out there will be assessed at a conference of the Royal Astronomical Society this week. Leading astronomers from the UK and the US will gather at Burlington House in London on Friday to review their progress and discuss new projects in the hunt for alien life in outer space. Oxford University's Monica Grady will present a paper asking whether the number of other communicating civilisations in our galaxy could be zero.
The Scotsman

Scientists explain UFO sightings
Scientists working on a defence intelligence inquiry say they have solved the mystery of unidentified flying objects. After a four-year study, they concluded that most sightings could be explained by a little-known atmospheric phenomenon. The report was released under the Freedom of Information Act following an application by David Clarke, a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, and his fellow researcher Gary Anthony.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

From the weekend's papers:


  • Oxford University colleges are not rich as they mainly invest their money in equities. The Financial Times
  • Woman guilty of GBH at Cambridge college. The Times
  • Heriot-Watt University is holding a fun run as a way of showing members of the public around its campus. The Scotsman


  • Fears mount over finals strike threat. The Sunday Times
  • Britain's universities are continuing to close down their chemistry departments. The Sunday Telegraph
  • Equal opportunities in education stop the poor from moving up the social scale. The Sunday Times
  • Students not needing to take out a loan should consider investing the cash in an Isa. The Sunday Times

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