Today's news

June 22, 2006

Tackling plagiarism 'too much work' for lecturers
Lecturers are ignoring plagiarism by their students because dealing with it would give them too much work to do, according to research. A study carried out by academics at Napier University in Edinburgh found that as few as per cent of staff in one department were "engaged in efforts to report plagiarism". It also found that members of staff were failing to use anti-plagiarism computer software introduced by the university last year in an attempt to crack down on cheats. The findings follow separate research which showed that more than a third of students at Napier know colleagues who have regularly copied ideas or texts from the internet.
The Scotsman, The Times Higher Education Supplement (June 23)

Tackle poverty through higher education, Royal Society urges
The UK government needs to increase its support for secondary and higher education in developing countries to successfully tackle poverty, according to the Royal Society. In its submission today to the Department for International Development's consultation on the white paper, Eliminating world poverty, published in January, the society argues for a more strategic approach to education, particularly in relation to science and technology. People well-trained in science and technology play a crucial role in helping alleviate poverty by developing technological solutions to development needs.
The Guardian

Students 'in the dark over fees aid'
Sixth-formers know little about the financial support to help them through university, according to a campaign to encourage more students from poor homes to apply. A survey of 7,000 pupils in the first year of their A-level courses found 95 per cent did not know about the bursaries and grants available from universities and the Government. More than a quarter said they were less likely to go to university because of tuition fees, said Target 10,000, an independent campaign formed by two graduates.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Michael Douglas leads cast of honorary graduates
A film star, a poet and a couple of Nobel prize-winning scientists - the variety of honorary degrees at British universities was truly on display this week. At St Andrews Michael Douglas said yesterday it was a "treat" to be honoured by a historic Scottish university after receiving being made a doctor of letters for his contribution to British film. Douglas, 61, of Wall Street and Fatal Attraction fame, was accompanied by his wife, the Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. The couple are regular visitors to the seaside town and can often be spotted playing golf on the Old Course. St Andrews, which two years ago honoured Bob Dylan, has made a point of awarding honorary degrees to famous golfers.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

World scientists unite to attack creationism
The world's scientific community united yesterday to launch one of the strongest attacks yet on creationism, warning that the origins of life were being "concealed, denied or confused". The national science academies of 67 countries warned parents and teachers to ensure that they did not undermine the teaching of evolution or allow children to be taught that the world was created in six days. Some schools in the US hold that evolution is merely a theory while the Bible represents the literal truth. There have also been fears that these views are creeping into British schools.
The Independent, The Times

Research funding proposals 'lack detail'
Academics have attacked the government's consultation paper on scrapping the system of rating university research, describing it as seriously lacking in detail. University heads criticised the paper, which looks at possible replacements to the research assessment exercise, at a conference yesterday hosted by the Higher Education Policy Institute. Universities have until October 13 to comment on the paper. The director of Hepi, Bahram Bekhradnia, said the consultation paper was so brief that it contained "just seven or eight pages of discussion and analysis, with no attempt to show that metrics would be a better system".
The Guardian

University wins grant for anti-malaria research
A British university said yesterday it had a received a $13.6 million (£7.4 million) grant for research into alleviating a global shortage of treatments for malaria. The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, part of the University of York, said the money would help fund a fast-track breeding research programme for the plant Artemisia annua -- the source of the leading anti-malarial drug artemisinin. Malaria, caused by the one-celled parasite carried by mosquitoes called plasmodium, kills at least one million people every year and makes 300 million people seriously ill.
The Scotsman

Regeneration of inner ear cells 'could prevent deafness'
Evidence that the workings of the inner ear can be regenerated to treat a common cause of deafness is published today. An American team reports a way to trigger the growth of new hair cells in the inner ear - the sensory cells that pick up sound vibrations that are lost as a result of ageing, disease, certain drugs, and the cacophony of modern life. The new understanding, which one day could help millions of people worldwide, is published today in the journal Nature by Dr Neil Segil and colleagues at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles and University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
The Daily Telegraph

Letters
Is the lecturers' pay deal enough.
The Independent

Letter
A Cambridge man says that the university system should be elitist.
The Independent

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