Reporter 433, 15 March 1999

News in brief

We are not amused - but we do understand

Victorian Britain's fascination with Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday is among topics explored in a six-year project recently launched by the philosophy department's Division of History and Philosophy of Science.

The £300,000 joint project with the University of Sheffield will analyse articles referring to science in over forty general-interest periodicals of the nineteenth century, including Punch and the Contemporary Review.

The project - directed by Graeme Gooday and Geoffrey Cantor at Leeds and Sally Shuttleworth at Sheffield - will produce a fully-searchable electronic index on CD-ROM showing how scientific theories, medical innovations and novel technologies were explained to the public. It will also map the long-running debates about how far the government should fund science or whether 'good science' would pay for itself.

Following the award of a Sheffield-Leeds White Rose PhD studentship to Same Alberti in 1997, three postdoctoral researchers were jointly appointed in January this year to work on the project. Gowan Dawson and Richard Noakes are supported by Leverhulme Trust fellowships and Jon Topham is supported by a Humanities Research Board Institutional Research Fellowship.

World wise words

The philosophical writings of thirteenth century theologian Robert Grosseteste are being prepared for a twenty-first century readership through a pioneering project in the theology and religious studies department.

James Ginther is leading a research team mounting the medieval Latin texts on the Internet and believes their author would have approved of the work. "Grosseteste was very keen on using alternative technology to communicate his ideas, he used to play around with textile technology and used charts and diagrams to illustrate his words," said Dr Ginther.

The project is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board and the texts will be on-line by December.


More bread for thread

The impact of the minimum wage on the textile industry in West Yorkshire is being assessed for the Low Pay Commission by two University researchers.

Alex Gray of textiles, and Jason Heyes of the business school will contact 800 companies in the region and report on the impact the new regulations have on employment, the organisation of work and training and development.

"The textile industry is a very important sector for the region's economy," said Dr Gray. "It employs over 25,000 people but is currently experiencing some quite serious problems."

Creating enterprise

The University is planning to jointly host a conference with HEFCE in June 2000 covering the interactions between organisations which produce knowledge, and those that use it.

The 500 attendees will include key industrialists, educationalists and policy makers and 'live' satellite links will allow more to participate from venues in Brazil, Japan, China, India and the USA. Members of staff are invited to offer ideas and suggestions about the conference. For more information contact the Dean for Strategic Development, Jonathan Adams, on ext 4054.

Brain gain in the frame

The only course in the North of England offering information and advice about intellectual property rights is being co-ordinated by a business school researcher.

Adam Cross is jointly organising the March 26 course with the Licensing Executives Society Britain and Ireland. Speakers from a range of backgrounds will discuss the importance of intellectual property, patents, trade-marks and how they can be successfully commercialised. For more information contact Adam Cross on ext 4587.

Region widens

The Yorkshire and Humberside Universities Association has been awarded over £200,000 by HEFCE to help encourage wider participation in higher education.

University educationalist Dick Taylor will chair the regional committee, which is to map current activities in institutions across the region. Funding for the current year is modest but HEFCE has already allocated an additional £4m for further progress next year. "Once we have identified successful initiatives we will be able to devise a coherent development plan tailored to each institution - and then be in a position to access funds next year to enable universities to recruit from the widest base possible," said Professor Taylor.

Healthy breakfast

Almost a hundred representatives from the fields of health, social services, education and business met for a recent breakfast symposium organised through the School of Healthcare Studies.

'Collaboration for healthier living' was held at the Thackray Medical Museum and discussed how working collaboratively could help promote greater interest in people's health. Keynote speakers included chief executive of Leeds Health Authority Ron De Witt.

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