Today's news

January 16, 2007

Johnson criticised over university funding
New universities have accused the Government of favouring research over teaching in the latest round of funding allocations, prompting warnings that the much-touted drive to widen participation will fail. The warning follows the publication of the Education Secretary's annual grant letter to the funding council, Hefce, which sets out government priorities and funding for universities in the 2007-08 academic year. Alan Johnson's letter allows for a 6.9 per cent increase in research and a 4.4 per cent increase in teaching. It also expressed the Government's desire to get more employers involved in funding higher education.
The Guardian

Unclaimed bursaries benefit universities
English universities will find themselves with hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of extra pounds by the end of the academic year because students are failing to take up bursaries designed to offset the cost of tuition fees. This year universities are offering the least well-off freshers bursaries of up to £3,000 to compensate for £3,000 top-up fees introduced in the autumn. But thousands of students are failing to apply for them. Take-up is worst at the oldest and most prestigious universities - already seen by some to favour middle-class and privately educated teenagers. Bristol University has so far awarded 830 bursaries of between £600 and £2,000, rather than the 1,000 it budgeted for.
The Guardian

Screen scene for art work at university
The quadrangle at the heart of Edinburgh University's Old College is to be transformed from a gravel car park into a giant work of art. A 30-minute animated film will be broadcast simultaneously and continuously across three screens, projected on to the college's inward-facing facades. The film is designed to make people think about the implications of advances in genetic technologies such as stem cell research and cloning. The film - entitled Three Times True - is by visual artist Alistair Gentry and will be shown every night from dusk, from January 20 until the end of February. It is part of a programme of work by the Edinburgh University-based ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum.
The Scotsman

Debt guidance for students needed
Students are not receiving sufficient guidance to help them manage ever increasing levels of debt, a report has claimed. Average debt for students rose 9 per cent in the latest academic year to £5,760 but many students do not know how to manage such debts, according to the study by Unite, a student accommodation company. It said students from poorer backgrounds lacked a proper knowledge of personal finance and were more likely to borrow money expensively.
The Financial Times

Something fishy about new defence against avian flu
An Icelandic company claims that an enzyme it has found in cod could help scientists to find a drug to beat avian flu. Zymetech, founded in 1996 by scientists from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, concentrates on making pharmaceuticals and cosmetics developed from enzymes found in fish. One of the company’s medical products is Penzim , a compound first identified in the digestive system of cod which in the past has been shown to help relieve a variety of conditions including skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.
The Times

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