Today's news

June 20, 2006

New universities 'get best funding results'
New universities give better value for money for research funding than prestigious elite institutions, argues a report published today. Members of the CMU group of universities, which represents the former polytechnics, receive far less government research funding than the research-intensive institutions of the Russell group, which includes Oxford and Cambridge, or other old universities. But they are three times more successful in leveraging their basic funding to attract research contracts from industry or government departments. The former education secretary Baroness Morris, who is chancellor of Sunderland University, said it was time to stop concentrating research funding so much on the old universities.
The Guardian

Up to 10,000 students riot in China
Thousands of students at a university in central China have ransacked their campus in a riot sparked by anger over their treatment by school management. The unrest in Zhengzhou, the capital of the central province of Henan, began last Thursday night. Between 5,000 and 10,000 students began smashing windows in protest that their diplomas would not come from Zhengzhou University but from a less prestigious college affiliated with the university. The students vandalised an on-campus bank branch, dormitories and cars and witnesses said some participants flooding buildings, before spilling into the street where they smashed shop windows and street lamps.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Disgraced cloning scientist goes on trial
Disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk went on trial today on charges of fraud and embezzlement in a scandal over faked stem cell research that undermined global hopes of dramatic new treatments for incurable diseases. Hwang was indicted last month for allegedly accepting $2.1 million (£1.1 million) in private donations based on the outcome of the falsified research and embezzling about $831,000 in private and government research funds. Hwang also was accused of buying human eggs for research, a violation of the country's bioethics law. If convicted, the 52-year-old scientist faces at least three years in prison.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

Exam cheats score high marks for ingenuity
Using microscopic earphones and wireless devices, Chinese students upped the ante in the high-tech battle to counter cheating during university entrance exams this month, putting some in hospital as a result. With 9.5 million students competing for only 2.6 million vacancies, some universities installed cameras and mobile-phone blocking technology at exam halls to foil the cheats. But students "racked their brains" and in some cases injured themselves with "low-quality devices" to come up with new ways to cheat, state media reported on Tuesday, underlining the highly competitive nature of education in China.
The Scotsman

Free fertility treatment would 'combat problem of ageing population'
Fertility treatment on the NHS for every couple who needs it would quickly pay for itself in terms of long-term benefits to the economy and society, a study has found. A child born by IVF will begin to repay all the public costs incurred by its upbringing - including the additional cost of the fertility treatment - just two years later than a child conceived naturally. A separate study has found that making free fertility treatment available as part of a wider government policy could have a significant impact on stimulating the birth rate and combating the problems of an ageing population.
The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Japan unveils the 250mph electric car
It has eight wheels and needs to be recharged for ten hours, but Japanese engineers believe the Eliica electric car could be the future of environmentally friendly motoring. The vehicle, which has cost millions of pounds to develop, goes from standstill to 60mph in less than four seconds and has a potential top speed of 250mph. Professor Hiroshi Shimizu, of Keio University, who developed the car, said: "When you're dealing with technology that is thought by most people to be too heavy, slow and lacking range, you have to do better than just equal the current crop of supercars. You have to outclass them and make a statement."
The Scotsman

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