Today's news

June 6, 2006

University fees likely to rise, says Brown
Gordon Brown, the Chancellor and favourite to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister, indicated yesterday that university tuition fees were likely to rise after the next election. The £3,000-a-year tuition fee is capped until 2009, but Mr Brown suggested that the country would have to increase the proportion of national income spent on higher education from the current 1.1 per cent to nearer the European Union average of 2.2 per cent. He said he was ready to "enter into the debate" on how funding could be increased from private and public sources and indicated that he would not rule out an eventual reassessment of the £3,000 cap, which some universities regard as too low.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman

Talks resume in lecturers' pay row
Union leaders and university bosses will begin a new round of talks in the hope of reaching a deal to end the damaging row over lecturers' pay. The university employers, group UCEA will meet the newly formed University and College Union, whose members have been staging a national boycott of assessment since March. Neither side would comment in detail ahead of the negotiations. A joint statement from the two sides said formal negotiations will resume this afternoon at the TUC headquarters in London.
The Guardian, The Independent

Watchdog fails foundation degree courses
Foundation degrees are failing to meet academic standards despite the Government's insistence that the vocational courses will boost higher education, it has emerged. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has told 21 universities and colleges offering foundation degrees that it does not have confidence that the quality of awards is being maintained. Latest reviews from the QAA for 2004-05, updated last month, reveal "no confidence" judgments in areas including motorsport engineering, performing arts, computer studies, equine studies and working with children.
The Guardian

Investment specialists get new opportunities
Eleven global universities have now signed up with the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute to educate students who want to join the investment industry on graduation. The 11 will offer degree programmes that cover at least 70 per cent of the CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge, enabling participants to more easily gain the required professional qualifications once they are in the workforce. The Saïd Business School at Oxford University was the first business school to sign up to be a CFA programme partner in April, followed by Bocconi in Italy, Boston University in the US, Concordia University in Canada, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Marquette University in the US.
The Financial Times

One pill a day keeps cancer at bay
A drug prescribed for one of the commonest forms of leukaemia has reduced the deadly cancer to a chronic illness that can be managed with a single pill a day, specialists said yesterday. New data issued in London showed that about 90 per cent of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia who take the drug Glivec are alive and well after five years. Before the drug was developed, the blood cancer would become advanced within four to six years, giving little hope of survival. Specialists described the results as "breathtaking". They said that, unlike some cancer drugs which had shown early promise that then faded, Glivec patients had an "impressively durable response to the drug".
The Daily Telegraph

Key to future stem cell production may lie inside the testicles
British scientists have been granted permission to investigate whether stem cells found deep inside testicles can be used to repair damaged tissues and organs. Researchers led by fertility specialist Robert Winston at the Hammersmith Hospital in London will pluck cells from testicular tissue to see if they are as versatile as embryonic stem cells, which can potentially grow into any tissue in the body. If the scientists succeed in harvesting the cells and keeping them alive, they could pave the way for powerful new therapies for conditions as diverse as heart disease, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries, without the need to destroy human embryos to collect them.
The Guardian

Anger disorder is common in US population
Explosive outbursts of uncontrollable rage may affect more people than previously thought, a new study suggests. More than 7 per cent of people in the US have experienced "intermittent explosive disorder" at some point in their lives, says Ronald Kessler of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, US, who led the study. This means they will respond to certain situations with inappropriate levels of anger, for example resulting in road rage or irrational, violent acts such as throwing a television out of a window during an argument with a spouse or parent.
New Scientist

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