Reporter 452, 22 May 2000

In the news

University research into arthritis will help doctors quickly diagnose the type of arthritis in a sufferer, crucial in controlling the progression of the disease and could also lead to new methods of treatment. Dr Douglas Veale, a senior lecturer in rheumatology, has found that blood vessels in the inflamed joints of arthritis sufferers grow in different patterns depending on the particular type of the disease. Dr Veale told the Financial Times that two main kinds of arthritis exist - rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. He explained: "Around two in every hundred people have psoriasis and of these one in 10 will develop an arthritis, so it is a significant problem."

Students from Mechanical Engineering sped onto BBC Look North and the Yorkshire Post recently with the formula racing car they designed and built. Project manager Andrew Deakin told reporters that the project "gives students the whole life-cycle of production" while teaching them skills they can use in employment. They are racing the car in Detroit this month and at the Birmingham NEC in July.

University students were also featured in the local press for their efforts as part of the Campus Connect scheme. The Yorkshire Evening Post praised the students who volunteered to set-up extra-curricular activities, help children read and run after-school homework clubs. The scheme is the first part of a nationwide initiative to encourage 16- to 24-year-olds to become actively involved in voluntary work.

A positive review of the research assessment exercise carried out by the higher education policy unit at Leeds was highlighted recently in the Guardian. The review showed that since the introduction of research ratings for university departments, the management and output of research in universities has greatly improved.

The study, conducted for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, shows that staff numbers and research funding have increased at top research universities, while research quality has also improved.

The University’s Chancellor-elect, Melvyn Bragg, received widespread coverage when he won the coveted WH Smith Literary Award. Lord Bragg, whose novel The Soldier’s Return was inspired by his father, was featured in the Independent, after beating contenders such as Francis Wheen’s biography of Karl Marx and the Booker prize-winning Disgrace by JM Coetzee.

In the most recent Independent A to Z of Degrees, a weekly series designed to help students choose their course, Leeds has been praised for both teaching and research in the two subject areas featured. The School of Education was praised for its 5 rating in research, while Bretton Hall was recommended for its high teaching quality rating of 22 out of 24 in drama, dance and performing arts.

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