Update 12:30

May 16, 2002

Larger subsidies needed to retain students
Students are getting a raw deal at university because money is being drained from teaching and research to subsidise the government’s widening participation drive. Research from Universities UK and the Higher Education Funding Council for England shows that universities should be paid a premium of around 35 per cent to recruit and retain students from disadvantaged backgrounds instead of the 10 per cent they will receive next year.

Stop being 'embarrassed' by achievement, warns Morris
Education secretary Estelle Morris was today delivering a stinging rebuke to people who look down on those who study hard at school, saying it was the “British disease” to denigrate academic achievement. It was time to stop being “embarrassed” by academic achievement, she told an audience from the government’s “gifted and talented” programme at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London.

Oxford think-tank to set immigration agenda
Researchers at a new £3.3 million centre at Oxford University are expected to set the future agenda for government and public thinking about UK immigration. The centre will help policy-makers to understand how population, political dynamics and even environmental change can affect migration within the EU.

Sainsbury unveils £7m eco-crop centre
Minister for science and innovation Lord Sainsbury has launched a £7.5 million facility at the University of Nottingham, that is designed to improve crop quality worldwide in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. The unit, which brings together some 130 plant scientists, postgraduate students and support staff, will play a major role in the commercial development of technologies in which Britain and the university are acknowledged centres of excellence.

Taxonomists on brink of extinction
The scientists who discover, describe and classify new species are themselves facing extinction. The House of Lords’ science and technology select committee has called on the Higher Education Funding Council of England to investigate how the research assessment exercise had contributed to the decline in the field that underpins conservation efforts in the universities.

St Andrews awarded funds to study superbug
James Naismith of St Andrews University has won almost £640,000 Wellcome Trust funding to help prevent people falling victim to hospital superbugs. He will map out the structure and mechanism of proteins in the drug Vancomyacin, the last line of defence against the superbug MRSA.

Loss of grants accompanies rise in debt
Student debt has increased by 54 per cent in the past 12 months, according to a new report released from the UK Graduate Careers Survey today.The National Union of Students pointed out that this year’s graduates are the first students to have paid tuition fees and not received grants.

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