Reporter 420, 11 May 1998

News in brief

Finance appointment

The University has appointed a General Manager - Finance, Os Finnie, who will be deputy to Finance Director Berenice Smith. Mr Finnie has spent the last eight years as finance director of a company within the Blackwell publishing group. His main areas of responsibility will be the day-to-day managing of the Finance Department and working with subsidiary companies, departments and individuals who wish to move into commercial ventures. Born in Scotland, he is married with two daughters at university.

Staff give pay verdict

Voting closes on Tuesday in the AUT’s national consultative ballot on pay rates for its universities membership. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association has offered a 2 per cent increase for the first six months, rising to 3.8 per cent for the following six months. If members reject the offer, a further ballot will be held on the question of industrial action. *More...

The fate of freight

The proportion of freight carried by rail could be increased by 40 per cent over the next seven years, according to projections by the University’s Institute for Transport Studies. However, the study concludes that shifting the transportation of goods from road to rail is dependent on measures including a reduction in rail charges and improvements to the network.

Net crimes come under scrutiny

The UK’s first University course on cyber law has been launched in Leeds. Led by David Wall, Deputy Director of the University’s Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, the ten-week course covers all aspects of Internet-related crime. Students are learning about issues such as the theft of intellectual copyright, incitement to violence, cyber-stalking and hacking.

Physicians return

The Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland held its annual meeting at the University on April 2-3, returning to Leeds for the first time in 21 years. The meeting was hosted by Professor Colin Prentice, of the School of Medicine, who is the President of the Association; and by Dr Paul Belchetz from Leeds General Infirmary.

The Association has an elected membership of 400 physicians active in research and academic activities. Its last meeting in Leeds took place in 1977.

Leading the way with new cancer treatment

Scientists and clinicians from five continents gathered in Leeds to discuss a new approach to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Hosted by Professor Stan Brown, Director of the University’s Centre for Photobiology and Photodynamic Therapy, the conference heard how light can be combined with a photosensitising drug to achieve a therapeutic effect. By targeting the light, tumours can be destroyed with minimal damage to normal tissue.

The conference, attended by 140 delegates from 22 countries, focused on a particular form of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), in which the tumour itself is induced to make the photosensitiser by administering a naturally occurring pro-drug.

Professor Brown says: “This conference marked a milestone in the development of this exciting new approach and demonstrates how many centres around the world are now taking it up.” The Leeds centre, one of the largest in the world, was one of the first to develop the new treatment. It has already treated several hundred people for skin cancer, gynaecological disease, psoriasis and a pre-cancerous condition of the oesophagus. PDT is now being developed for the treatment of acne.

Consultancy awarded

The Universities of England Consortium for International Activities, of which the University is a member, has received a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement for its success in exporting high quality academic consultancy, technical assistance, research and training worldwide. As a major player in the international development aid arena, UNECIA has successfully implemented over 60 projects across Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and South East Asia. The awards are designed to salute the success of UK companies and 110 awards were made out of 1,700 applications.

Medicine in society

The Wellcome Trust has launched a Medicine in Society research programme which will award grants for research into the social and ethical issues arising from biomedical developments. Details of the research grants can be found at: or telephone Dr John Malin on 0171-6118686.

Director honoured

Dr G.Arthur Salmon CChem, FRSC, director of the Cookridge Radiation Research Centre in the School of Physical Sciences, travelled to Poland last month to receive the Marie Sklodowska-Curie medal from the Polish Radiation Research Society. He also delivered a guest lecture at the Society's Congress on April 15.

A trio of Masters for geographers

This autumn will see the launch of three new taught Masters degrees in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at what is recognised as the most advanced UK establishment in GIS techniques.

The School of Geography’s new MAs will focus on the use of GIS in business and service planning; the modelling and management of river catchment systems and a more theoretical examination of computational geography. These new degrees will build on the University’s strong links between academic research and applied geography in the commercial market.

By using maps of resources – such as population, land use, water, traffic and air quality – GIS can be used to predict how changes in one resource may affect the overall model.

Yorkshire Water is using models developed at the University to forecast water demand, and Leeds City Council has been using GIS data storage systems to help Leeds’ role as an Environment City.

Earlier this year the School began the second phase of its Quantifiable City project, which will see the development of an accurate computer model of the urban environment of Leeds.

Science gets religion

The country’s first Masters degree in science and religion is being launched by the University. Students will be given a ground-breaking programme of study ranging across disciplines and subjects from health care to Hinduism.

Available as a one year full-time course, or two years part-time, the MA will study current issues such as Dolly the cloned sheep alongside historical and ethical questions. It will be taught principally by academics within the Centre for Science and Religion and the Division of History and Philosophy of Science.

Tom McLeish, Professor of Polymer Physics, says: “This exciting course will extend the perspectives of students, introducing them to the cutting edge of the debate in science and religion.”

One-stop software publishing

ULIS has created a new company division devoted exclusively to software publishing – the first northern university to take this initiative. The division has been created in response to the wealth of analytical and educational software being produced on campus with commercial potential. Products ready to launch to industry and commerce include a comprehensive training package for the textiles industry and the unique assessment software, Shiftcheck, which appraises shift rota design.

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