Today's news

February 14, 2007

Oxford to follow Cambridge's lead by appointing City financier
Oxford University is to follow the lead of Cambridge and appoint a City financier to manage nearly a billion pounds worth of its assets in an effort to generate the hefty returns enjoyed by top US universities. The university's first chief investment officer will have a team of staff to manage its fund of £900 million. Oxford hopes to attract additional funds from its colleges, which manage their own endowments, worth a total of about £2.7 billion. Supporters of an in-house investment office believe a more professional approach will generate higher returns and greater access to alternative asset classes such as hedge funds and private equity, which Ivy League universities have been investing in for years.
The Financial Times

Poor students 'lose out in complex system of university bursaries'
Poorer students are paying almost no attention to generous financial support packages offered by universities, a report into the effect of the introduction of variable tuition fees has shown. Institutions offering relatively valuable bursaries to students from less well-off parents have not enjoyed a corresponding increase in applications, while some of those offering the most generous financial support saw substantial falls between 2005-06 when £3,000 a year fees were introduced. The report, written by Nigel Brown Associates for Universities UK, found that the introduction of variable fees created a boom in scholarships and bursaries.
The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times

Students seek degrees that will pay off
Degree subjects most likely to lead to employment are recording the highest increase in applicants from students facing tuition fees of £3,000 a year, say universities. Figures for the number of applications for undergraduate courses today will show sixth-formers have not been deterred by the extra cost of studying. Surrey University says it has seen the highest increase in England, with admission tutors handling 40 per cent more application forms for courses beginning in September. Some of the biggest rises are in science subjects, with physics up 48 per cent, maths 44 per cent, civil engineering by 41 per cent and mechanical engineering by 36 per cent.
The Daily Telegraph

Research degrees 'offer good value for money'
Postgraduate degree programmes are well managed and follow codes of conduct to provide good value for money, according to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. The QAA yesterday released two reports - one covering England and Northern Ireland and the other Wales - based on surveys of 124 higher education institutions. The overall picture emerging from the surveys was highly positive, the QAA said. The reports said institutions showed good levels of engagement with the QAA code of practice for postgraduate research programmes and that many universities offered examples of good practice.
The Guardian

Edinburgh unveils £5m plan to attract conference trade
Edinburgh University yesterday unveiled plans for a £5 million revamp of Pollock Halls in a bid to attract a bigger slice of the city's growing business tourism market. The university plans to refurbish and extend its catering and conference facilities at the John McIntyre Centre, within the student campus in the shadow of Salisbury Crags. The overall capacity of 8 delegates is excepted to be increased "significantly" once detailed designs are finalised.
The Scotsman

Love is the drug; suggest researchers
The effects of love on the brain are similar to those of cocaine, according to a team that has studied scans of lovestruck people. Romantic love could be an emotion as fundamental as hunger or thirst, according to the brain scans of young men and women who had fallen madly in love, or were lovelorn, suggests Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The finding is based on research he carried out with Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
The Daily Telegraph


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