Today's news

November 8, 2006

Buchanan to replace Tyson as Dean
Robin Buchanan, UK senior partner of Bain & Co, is set to become the best-paid principal in British higher education after it was confirmed yesterday that he is to succeed Laura Tyson as Dean of the London Business School. Mr Buchanan, a non-executive director of Liberty International, the FTSE 100 property company, and of Shire Pharmaceuticals, will become the seventh dean in the institution’s 42-year history. The formidable Ms Tyson, a former adviser to President Clinton at the White House, last year was reported to be paid £315,000 a year, easily trumping the £251,000 paid to Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College. London Business School declined to comment on how much Mr Buchanan would be paid, but it is expected to be a similar sum. Mr Buchanan will take up his new position on July 1 next year.
The Times

Summer schools for poorer youngsters
Universities are considering introducing affordable summer schools for talented youngsters from poorer backgrounds. The Government is encouraging them to run cheaper non-residential courses, after criticism that programmes at the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth at the University of Warwick are unaffordable for many families. Lord Adonis, the Schools Minister, said: “University links can be particularly valuable, exposing pupils to the excitement of the bigger ideas in their subjects.”
The Times

Trial to see how stem cells can mend heart attack damage
A major trial of stem cells to repair heart attack damage will take part on 100 patients in London within weeks, scientists said yesterday. The £1.2 million trial of stem cells isolated from the cardiac patients' own bone marrow is to be backed by £500,000 from philanthropists and will investigate earlier small studies which suggested that prompt action could cut deaths and suffering. The trial is the first to be announced by the UK Stem Cell Foundation and aims to enrich stem cells from the bone marrow and then inject them into the previously blocked coronary artery within a critical five hours of the heart attack to see if stem cells can improve quality of life and delay or prevent the onset of heart failure.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian

Sigma signs up to sell university technology
Sigma Capital Group, the Edinburgh-based finance house, has signed a ten-year partnership deal to help commercialise technologies developed by Dundee University. The Tayside institution has one of the most active research bases in the UK and has nurtured a string of successful spin-outs including dental technology specialist IDMoS and biotech firms Cyclacel and CXR Biosciences. It boasts an annual turnover of £150 million and research income of more than £55 million per annum. Sigma, which recently announced a turnaround in its half-year fortunes, also plans to set up a dedicated fund to invest in new spin-out companies from Dundee.
The Scotsman

Scientist appears in top 50
A Scottish-based physicist who is developing an invisibility cloaking device has been named as one of the world's top 50 researchers by Scientific American . Professor Ulf Leonhardt, of St Andrews University, has developed theories based on Einstein's principles of general relativity which helped inspire the creation of a prototype model which was unveiled earlier this year in the United States. It worked for only one kind of light - microwave radiation of a certain wavelength - rather than visible light, but it is thought the research could eventually lead to JK Rowling's idea of an invisibility cloak in the Harry Potter books becoming a reality. It is thought the technology could be used to avoid detection by radar.
The Scotsman

Scientists turn light on tumours
Scientists in Israel say that they hope to use highly concentrated light from commercial light bulbs to fight tumours, providing an effective and cheap replacement for laser surgery. Jeffrey Gordon, of BenGurion University, said that the off-the-shelf technology had killed tissue successfully for the first time. His team’s study, recently published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics , showed that light from ultra-bright commercial bulbs, similar to those used in film projectors, could be concentrated by a special optical system to burn away healthy tissue in rats. The tests will be repeated on cancerous tissue in larger animals and eventually in human beings, in the hope of producing similar results with malignant tumours.
The Times

University cuts are undermining science.
The Guardian

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