World Encompassed

January 4, 2008

STANFORD SEEKS ETHNICITY SPECIALISTS

Stanford University is looking for ten of the best young academics researching ethnicity and race.

The new posts are part of a £2 million initiative to expand the university's range of subjects as well as the diversity of staff. The posts are in the Centre for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. The search for talent is expected to last five years, although it could be extended. The university will look at both students finishing their doctorates and newly tenured professors.

CANADA URGED TO DRAW UP NATIONAL STRATEGY

Canada's prosperity is at risk unless it develops a national strategy for college, university and apprenticeship education, a new report contends.

The Canadian Council on Learning says it needs national goals for post- secondary education, which is run mainly by the provincial governments.

The report says Canada should consider a national accreditation system, as it currently does not have a nationwide quality assurance framework for universities. It suggests the main bodies involved in post-secondary education across the country should discuss targets and strategies, adding that this would complement the work of the provinces.

AUSTRALIA TOLD: WE MUST TARGET SPENDING

Money set aside by the Australian Government for a new higher education endowment fund should be spent within eight years rather than as part of a broader funding overhaul, a science lobby group has said.

In a submission to the Government, the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies said the £2.5 billion Higher Education Endowment Fund was not enough to bring institutions up to global standards, but the money would still be more effective if spent in its entirety rather than having dividends from the fund paid gradually to the sector.

AFRICA GETS FUNDING BOOST FROM FRANCE

A French business school has set up a scholarship scheme to help institutions in Africa. Under the African Faculty Fellowships programme of the Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (Insead), two academics from African business schools will be visiting scholars at the school's campuses in France or Singapore. Insead wants to become better known in Africa and to increase the number of students from the continent on its courses.

EUROPE TO CO-ORDINATE LIFELONG LEARNING

Europe's universities are to draw up a charter to promote lifelong learning.

It will focus on ensuring that education is extended to a wider range of people so that the Continent's economies have the trained workers they need as their populations age, and it will also aim to promote greater social mobility.

The European Universities Association consented to draw up an agreement after Francois Fillon, the French Prime Minister, mooted the idea at a meeting with heads of university leaders' associations from across the continent.

Valérie Pécresse, French Minister for Higher Education and Research, attended the meeting in Paris to discuss developments in higher education before France takes the presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2008.

Georg Winckler, president of the EUA, said the charter plans would be discussed at the association's autumn conference in Rotterdam.

US REPORTS SURGE IN SCIENCE DOCTORATES

US universities have seen a growth in the number of doctorates awarded in science and engineering for the fourth year running.

Figures from the National Science Foundation show that 24,609 doctorates in the subjects were awarded in 2002, compared with 29,854 in 2006. There was a particularly large increase in the number of PhDs in science and engineering awarded to foreign students. The growth in PhDs awarded to overseas students was three times that of the increase in the number of PhDs obtained by US students.

More than half of all new doctorates in science and engineering went to overseas students; China, India and Korea had the highest number of foreign doctorate recipients.

Other subjects, including the humanities, also saw an increase in the number of doctoral students between 2005 and 2006, although numbers did not reach 2004 levels.

ARABIC LANGUAGE SEES RENEWED INTEREST

The number of students signing up for language courses at US universities rose by 13 per cent between 2002 and 2006, according to a survey by the Modern Languages Association of America.

The number of students starting Arabic courses went up by 1 per cent, making the subject the tenth most studied language. The biggest growth in less commonly studied courses was in Middle Eastern and African languages where enrolments grew by almost 56 per cent between 2002 and 2006.

PIRATE'S SHIP FOUND IN THE CARIBBEAN

A team from a US university has found the wreckage of a 17th-century ship abandoned by notorious pirate William Kidd.

The vessel, the Quedagh Merchant , was found off the Dominican Republic by University of Indiana archaeologists. Historians believe Captain Kidd captured the ship but later abandoned it in order to sail to New York on a less conspicuous boat to defend himself against criminal charges. The men to whom he entrusted the ship set it ablaze and left it to drift. Kidd was hanged in London and his body suspended over the River Thames in a cage.

DRUG ROYALTY SALE BOOSTS BUILDING FUNDS

A US university has sold part of its royalty rights to a drug it helped create for £350 million.

Some of the money raised by Northwestern University from the sale will go to the researchers who developed the chemical compound that is the base for the drug Lyrica, which is used to treat nerve pain. Part of the money will go into the university's endowment and will be used to provide financial help to students, to build new laboratories and other facilities, and to pay the start-up costs of research. Northwestern still holds other royalty rights to the drug.

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