Reporter 429, 18 January 1999

News in brief

Foreword thinking

The global knowledge economy offers new opportunities for the University to develop a third arm alongside our core teaching and research activities, says Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Wilson, in his foreword to the University's annual report.

The increasing demand for professional development - demonstrated by the development of 'corporate' company universities - offers us the chance to make our contribution through new partnerships. There is a corresponding need for applied research, he added.

The University has the knowledge base in many fields to succeed in this new 'third arm' role - our task is to provide the organisational framework to respond without deflecting from our core work.

Initiatives such as the Virtual Science Park, the Innovation Centre and the Institute of Corporate Learning, on the newly-developed Western Campus, will help establish a strong position for the University in this new academic environment.

The full text of the Vice-Chancellor's foreword is available on the Reporter website.

Chancellor's chances

The Council committee to advise Court on the nomination for the University's next Chancellor has now been appointed. Nominations for the role of Chancellor should be made to the Registrar by February 1. Membership of the committee and guidance for the selection of candidates is on the Reporter website.

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Challenge accepted

Leeds' bid to the University Challenge Fund has been selected for the final shortlist of 24 for a share of the £40 million available. The University is leading the bid through the White Rose Consortium, with the universities of Sheffield and York. The fund is intended to help researchers commercialise their ideas and the winners will be announced in March.

Birthday presentation

Secretary for State for Health the Rt Hon Frank Dobson MP helped the Nuffield Institute for Health celebrate its 40th birthday on December 11. Mr Dobson visited the Institute and gave a lecture on improving management capabilities in the NHS.

One man and his droid

Research at the University has helped develop a world-first robot sheepdog that successfully herds ducks. Computer studies PhD student Neil Sumpta developed the computer vision and flock modelling technology for 'Rover' - a joint project with the Silsoe research institute and the universities of Oxford and Bristol.

The team have been working to make animals' interactions with machinery less stressful.

Gone dancing

The Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Nadine Senior, has been named a 'Creative Briton' by the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts. She was one of six individuals to win an award for their "major achievements against all the odds".

Her strong commitment to widening access has helped students from a variety of backgrounds to achieve success as dancers and choreographers around the world.

Civil considerations

"Prison works," as former Home Secretary Michael Howard famously stated, but a University sociologist has been advising Whitehall on taking a more reasoned approach. "Issues are rarely as black and white as that," said Dr Ray Pawson.

Dr Pawson addressed policy makers at the Evaluation of Social and Labour Market Programmes conference held recently at the Treasury. "The Government wants to see if initiatives including the New Deal really work, but has been disappointed with the results of such studies for years. There is now a renewed interest in policy development to try and improve the research," he added.

Scholarly support

Postgraduate scholarships for Masters students from Uganda and Vietnam are available through the research degrees and scholarships office. Three scholarships, for any Masters programme, are available for Ugandan students.

The four scholarships for Vietnamese students are available for selected Masters courses only. Help in publicising the scholarships in Vietnam is requested by the research degrees and scholarships office.

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