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February 07, 2011

A world after capitalism, how to lose weight, and the world's first HDR video system

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Director of WMG Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya was presented with the award for Lifetime Contribution to Midlands' Business in a ceremony on Friday 28 January 2011. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya established WMG in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer. The group started small, but by working collaboratively with industrial partners, WMG has grown into a global force in a wide range of fields, from automotive research to innovations in healthcare.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has published extensively in the field of manufacturing and is advisor to many companies, governments and organisations around the world. He has been honoured many times. He was honoured with a CBE in 1997, awarded a knighthood in 2003 for services to higher education and industry and was elevated to the Lords in 2004.

Professor Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick added:

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been a pioneer of partnership between manufacturing and University research and teaching. Many jobs have been created, and the boundaries of scientific knowledge have been pushed back, by the strength of his advocacy of such partnerships and his effectiveness in actually delivering such partnerships. His leadership in this field has benefited our region and continues to have a global impact.

Read more on the University of Warwick website >>

Greed is not good: so has the economy come full circle?

In 1995, Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky published a book called The World After Communism. Now he wonders whether there will be a world after capitalism. This question comes from his feeling that western civilisation is increasingly unsatisfying, saddled with a system of incentives that are essential for accumulating wealth, but that undermine our capacity to enjoy it. Capitalism may be close to exhausting its potential to create a better life - at least in the world's rich countries.

Yet what happens to such a system when scarcity has been turned to plenty? Does it just go on producing more of the same, stimulating jaded appetites with new gadgets, thrills and excitements? How much longer can this continue? Do we spend the next century wallowing in triviality?

Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky argues that:

The dishonouring of greed is likely only in those countries whose citizens already have more than they need. And even there, many people still have less than they need. The evidence suggests that economies would be more stable and citizens happier if wealth and income were more evenly distributed. The economic justification for large income inequalities - the need to stimulate people to be more productive - collapses when growth ceases to be so important. Perhaps socialism was not an alternative to capitalism, but its heir. It will inherit the earth not by dispossessing the rich of their property, but by providing motives and incentives for behaviour that are unconnected with the further accumulation of wealth.

Read more in The National >>

New technology offers higher dynamic range to capture dimly lit shots

Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed the world’s first complete High Dynamic Range (HDR) video system, from video capture to image display, that will help a range of users including: surveillance camera operators, surgeons using video to conduct or record surgery, and camera crews following a football being kicked from sunshine into shadow. The research team, led by Professor Alan Chalmers, have developed what they are calling “the world’s first complete high dynamic range (HDR) video system".

The system also requires a special HDR display, which is made up of a combination of an LED and LCD panel. A surgery team at Heartlands Hospital, in Birmingham, UK, has tested the HDR system to assist and document surgery procedures.

Professor Chalmers said:

The natural world presents us with a wide range of colors and intensities. In addition, a scene may be constantly changing with, for example, significant differences in lighting levels going from outside to inside, or simply as the sun goes behind some clouds. A human eye can cope with those rapid changes and variety, but a traditional camera is only capable of capturing a limited range of lighting in any scene. The actual range it can cope with depends on the exposure and f-stop setting of the camera. Anything outside that limited range is either under- or overexposed.

Read more in the Broadcast Engineering magazine >>

Speeding up your metabolism is key to slimness

When trying to lose weight, a slow metabolism is often blamed when the pounds refuse to shift, despite continuous dieting. Similarly, we look with envy at the person with a 'fast metabolism', who seems to gorge on snacks but remains slim. To be exact, metabolism ­actually encompasses a vast array of processes vital to keep us alive. Converting food and drink into energy is just one of these. ­Others involve things such as absorbing nutrients into cells. The key to losing weight is raising your Basic Metabolic Rate, thereby burning more calories each day.

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic chemistry at the University of Warwick, explains how this may be achieved by simply turning off the central heating:

Brown adipose tissue was ­previously not thought to be present in adults. Now, we think that about 30 per cent of adult humans have it.The fat looks brown because, unlike white fat, it has a lot of mitochondria — little boilers in cells that burn energy and generate heat. In a new-born baby these cells keep them warm — the brain switches on the brown adipose in cold ambient temperatures. The lucky one in three of us with brown fat can activate it simply with exposure to the cold. In future, techniques might be developed to switch our white fat tissue to brown fat tissue.

Read more in the Daily Mail >>

Five NRIs named for Padma Shri

Five NRIs and people of Indian origin and three foreigners are among 84 people named for the Padma Shri honours Tuesday. Renowned legal scholar Upendra Baxi who teaches at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, been chosen for the honour in public and legal affairs category. Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan. It is awarded by the Government of India.

Read more in the Prokerala News >>





January 24, 2011

Warwick Week – Xbox robot, automotive future in Turkey, and why men don't look after their health

University of Warwick engineering students use Xbox to aid award winning rescue robot

Engineering students at the University of Warwick are building an innovative rescue robot which uses the Xbox Kinect to help navigate the machine - in a bid to retain the European RoboCup Rescue Championship title which was won by a team of Warwick students last year. They are currently trialling the XBox Kinect to see if they can use it to provide a method of real time visual communication and 3D mapping, which will ultimately aid in the navigation of the autonomous robot to give the team an edge over the competition.

The team is being backed by WMG academic, Dr Emma Rushforth, who believes the project will give the students an excellent opportunity showcase their skills. She said:

As well as giving each team member experience in solving real engineering problems, the project offers them the chance to acquire unparalleled expertise in mobile robot design which, in future, companies will need to have.

Read more in the press release and the Official Xbox Magazine >>

Lord Bhattacharyya looks towards Turkey

Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, advised that the Midlands automotive sector needs to see Turkey as the next big sales opportunity, saying that the country could become the next 'powerhouse' economy. There are only around a hundred vehicles per thousand people in Turkey and in neighbouring countries, the number is lower still, though people are getting wealthier.

Developing durable, low fuel consumption vehicles will be crucial to meeting consumer needs, he argues:

That's why Turkey is now focused on improving R&D. Facilities that employ at least 50 technicians get around half of their investment costs Those program costs required beyond the development phase to introduce into operational use a new capability; to procure initial, additional, or replacement equipment for operational forces; or to provide for major modifications of an existing capability. This is a major opportunity for British business. We have world-leading innovation in automotive to offer. If we offer partnership with Turkish institutions now, we will reap rewards when expanding businesses look to the UK for support. If we spurn this chance, others will seek to take that place.

Read more in the Birmingham Mail >>

Prestigious US honour for Head of Dentistry

Edward Lynch, Head of Warwick Dentistry, part of Warwick Medical School, has been honoured with accredited membership of the prestigious American Society for Dental Aesthetics (ASDA). Fewer than 200 educators, innovators and practitioners worldwide have received this distinguished accredited membership since ASDA was established in 1976, when it became the first aesthetic dental association in the world. To mark his membership, Edward was asked to give the prestigious keynote address at the annual ASDA congress in San Antonio, Texas. He was also voted by his peers in April 2010 as this year’s most influential person in UK dentistry.

Dr Lynch explained: 

I’m delighted to receive the honour of this prestigious accreditation and hope that it allows us to continue to raise awareness about the excellent and innovative dental education and research we provide in Warwick Dentistry at Warwick Medical School. We are building a team of world class academics in Warwick Dentistry and we aim to be a world-leading postgraduate unit, internationally renowned for our high quality and relevance of our education programmes and for the excellence and significance of our research.

Read more in the press release >>

Wave power could contain fusion plasma

Scientists may have found a way to channel the flux and fury of a nuclear fusion plasma into a means to help sustain the electric current needed to contain that very same fusion plasma. Researchers at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Fusion Space and Astrophysics and the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy used large scale computer simulations to confirm a longstanding prediction by U.S. researchers that high energy alpha particles born in fusion reactions will be key to generating fusion power in the next planned generation of tokamaks. This work was only possible using the recently commissioned large scale computing facilities at the University of Warwick supported by EPSRC, in particular for theoretical work supporting fusion energy generation.

University of Warwick researcher Professor Sandra Chapman said:

These large scale computer simulations capture the plasma dynamics in unprecedented detail and have opened up an exciting new area.

Read more in Scientific Computing >>

Do men fail to look after their own health?

In Coventry the biggest influence on your life expectancy is not the colour of your skin or even where you live and work. The Telegraph recently revealed how men living in inner city Coventry are unlikely to reach retirement age. In Foleshill, men living in this inner city district have the lowest average life expectancy in the whole of Coventry – just 64 years-old.

Alan Dolan, associate professor in men’s health at the University of Warwick, argues that society is partly to blame for men failing to take of their own health.

The way we see men has a very important impact on they way they behave and on their health. We want men to be independent, resilient, reliant and physically and emotionally strong. It starts in childhood, we tell them ‘big boys don’t cry’, ‘be a man my son’ or ‘don’t be a wimp’ – it’s all quite macho. The way men demonstrate that masculinity is associated with health risks... Also, men don’t tend to talk about their health. Can you imagine a group of men sat around discussing testicular self-awareness or cancer? But that’s not to say men don’t understand their health. Men are often unwillingly exposed to health hazards and danger at work. They are less likely to refuse to do jobs that may well damage their health, they don’t feel able to. Men can’t live outside their gender and they can’t choose to become more like women.

Read more in the Coventry Telegraph >>


January 14, 2011

Warwick Week – Russia in 2011, philosophy and fairness, and a new training centre

A special Jewish conference was held here over Christmas

Limmud is an innovative educational organisation in the British-Jewish community. Its flagship event is a six day residential Conference, which for the 4th year running was held at the University. The event attracts a number of high profile presenters each year, who present a wide variety of sessions on a range of topics of Jewish interest. In order to allow participants to observe Shabbat (the Sabbath), when work is forbidden, a temporary linked fence (an Eruv), a ceremonial boundary which allows those inside the Eruv to enjoy Shabbat within the laws of their religion, encircled Rootes and the accommodation blocks. Videos of seminars on topics such as 'A History of the Jewish World in 30 Objects' and 'Israel and the Media: An Insiders Account' are now viewable online.

Read more about the Limmud Conference >>

The Arts Centre has been given £1 million

More than £1 million of lottery money has been given to Warwick Arts Centre. The grant, from Arts Council England, is part of a programme designed to make arts organisations more resilient and help them develop long term business plans. In total Warwick Arts Centre, based at the Warwick University campus in Coventry, has been given £1,365,000.

The Arts Centre’s Director, Alan Rivett, said:

We were pleased to be invited to bid for this award. Lottery funding will help steer the organisation towards a healthy future.

Read more in the Coventry Telegraph >>

Russia in 2010: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Where will Russia go in 2011? Professor Mark Harrison, Department of Economics, looks back at four stories from 2010 suggesting that for every step Russia takes towards democracy and away from Soviet totalitarianism, the absence of the rule of law takes it two steps back again.

In his blog, Prof Harrison said:

These four stories suggest where Russia is moving: towards a state with increased discretionary power to intervene as it chooses to control prices and direct resources, subsidize favoured interests, control deviance, and lock up or kill inconvenient people. By the standards of Russia’s Soviet past it is definitely one step forward. This one step is hugely important. Russia is no longer a totalitarian state of mass mobilization and thought police. But, compared with the “normal” society that Russians deserve, and that Russia's friends wish for, it is two steps back again.

Read more in Prof Mark Harrison's blog >>

Philosophy is vital in understanding fairness

Dr Angie Hobbs, the UK’s first Senior Fellow in the Understanding of Philosophy, argues that knowledge of her subject is vital to understanding the debate around the fairness of government policies.

Dr Hobbs said:

In the history of philosophy there’s a wide range of possible answers to a lot of the big questions about how we should live as individuals and as societies, and the fewer students who study philosophy, the fewer people who are going to be out there who know about this range of possible answers and rework and adapt them for current problems and future problems. So without philosophy students we are going to be reducing the number of tools in our toolbox to tackle questions like ‘What’s money for?’, ‘What is fairness?’, ‘How does fairness relate to equality?’

Watch Dr Angie Hobb's on The Guardian's website >>

New £10 million Warwick Centre in High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing

WMG at the University of Warwick has been awarded one of five new Industrial Doctorate Centres announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). EPSRC are funding five new Industrial Doctorate Centres to address fundamental engineering challenges in advanced manufacturing engineering. The WMG centre will focus on High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing. The new Centres will train Engineering Doctorate (EngD) students. These four-year postgraduate awards are intended for the UK’s leading researchers pursuing a career in industry. It provides postgraduate engineers with an intensive, broad-based research programme incorporating a taught component relevant to the needs of, and undertaken in partnership with, industry. WMG Director Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya  said :

Our vision is to produce a new generation of manufacturing leaders with the high-level know-how and research experience essential to compete in a global manufacturing environment defined by high impact and low carbon. They will be adept at working in multidisciplinary teams and exceptionally well networked internationally, and with demonstrable entrepreneurial flair. The WMG based Centre will address industrially challenging issues that enable companies to develop and implement effective low-environmental impact technology and policies that also benefit the ‘bottom line’.

Read more in the press release >>


November 12, 2010

Warwick Week – Inflation and Earnings, Heroism, and Snooker Stars

Inflation and earnings: what is the cost of a pint of beer?

“It were all so much cheaper when I were a lad...” or was it? Professor Ian Stewart looks at how the money in your pocket has really changed over the years. Every day we are bombarded with historical comparisons, intended to demonstrate how badly off we all are, but as Prof Stewart argues, such calculations rarely allow for inflation.

Read Prof Stewart’s article in The Telegraph >>

No Need for Heroism?

Dr Angie Hobbs presented a public lecture this week on BBC Radio 3, exploring today's idea of heroism in war, social justice, the arts and sport. Courage, ambition, vainglory, sacrifice ... what does it mean to be a hero now? Dr Hobbs asks: does this ancient idea still have a role in our age of instant celebrity and can it rise above its financial and political exploitation?

Listen again to Dr Angie Hobbs speaking on heroism >>

Prof Tom Marsh talking Snooker Stars on BBC Radio 5

This week, Professor Tom Marsh spoke on BBC Radio 5, explaining the discovery of a star system that looks like a game of snooker. Warwick's astronomers looked at a binary star system which is 1670 light years away from Earth, consisting of two stars, a red dwarf and a white dwarf. As Prof Marsh commented, “it’s hard to escape the image of this system as being like a giant snooker frame with a red ball, two coloured balls, and dwarf white cue ball.”

Listen again to Prof Tom Marsh at 2:55.43 >>

VC's Blog: Idealism in Hard Times

Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift's latest blog entry on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Worldwise international blog section is available to view online. The Vice-Chancellor comments on higher education conferences in both Britain and the US:

In the face of all the difficulties, participants understood that universities were a vital building block of a global civil society and a global citizenry. They understood the need for more cooperation, so as to form a community of communities which could sometimes act outside the traditional bounds of sovereignty… So in very challenging times, what I got out of these two meeting was not just hope but real propositions for how to change how we think about what universities can be which can inspire us to make renewed efforts to light the way ahead.

Read the Vice-Chancellor’s blog in full >>


October 29, 2010

Warwick Week – Women Philosophers, Sperm Banking and GDP

Where are the women philosophers?

On Wednesday, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour looked at the study of Philosophy at University. A group of students from the University gave their views on the study of philosophy and Dr Angie Hobbs discussed the relationship that women have with philosophy.

Last week the Wiltshire town of Malmesbury branded itself the UK’s first philosophy town. But when it comes to the study of philosophy at university, women are largely under-represented in teaching posts. Jenni explores the reasons and examines why female philosophy students seem to prefer applied philosophy such as the study of ethics, whereas male students are drawn to the theoretical side such as the study of logic. She is joined by Dr Angie Hobbs, Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, also appointed as one of Malmesbury’s “town philosophers” and Professor Helen Beebee, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham and Director of the British Philosophical Association.

Listen again on the Woman’s Hour website >>

Male cancer patients are missing out on sperm banking

A new study funded by Cancer Research UK and conducted by researchers at Warwick Medical School has shown that only half of oncologists and haematologists across the UK agreed that information on sperm banking is readily available to patients, despite national guidelines which state sperm banking should be offered. In a survey of nearly 500 clinicians, the researchers also found that 21 per cent were unaware of any local policies on sperm banking.

Read the press release on the Cancer Research UK website >>

So we've built a chocolate race-car, but can we build a "gravy train"?

CBC Radio in Canada have been discussing Toronto's mayoral contest and the crticism that candidates and politicans have received for riding the "gravy train". They asked Dr Steven Maggs, Principal Teaching Fellow at WIMRC and Project Director (Warwick Formula Student) whether it would be possible to build a real life "gravy train".

Read more and listen to the interview on the CBC Radio website >>

Examining the Economy

On Tuesday, the Office of National Statistics published its estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2010. Prof Nick Crafts, Director, CAGE (Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy) was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire’s breakfast show talking about what these latest figures say about the growth of the economy under the coalition government.

Listen again (2:15.16) >>

Have you heard Warwick in the news this week? Please do share anything you have found interesting...


October 22, 2010

Warwick Week – Comprehensive Spending Review

This week, the whole country has been discussing the Comprehensive Spending Review. There are still significant unanswerable questions regarding how it will change the nature of the UK economy but Warwick academics have been having their say…

Vice-Chancellor Prof Nigel Thrift on Higher Education

Now that the Government has announced the outcome of its Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) we are beginning to get some indication of the level of the cut to public funding of higher education in England.

While we have yet to see the detail the CSR does appear to include a significant cut in University funding as was suggested in a wide range of news media over the last few weeks.

Read the full comment on the University website >>

Angie Hobbs on Fairness

The Comprehensive Spending Review announcements have prompted many discussions on the concept of “fairness”.  Are the spending cuts fair? Is fairness too expensive? In a feature on Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Angie Hobbs explains the philosophy of fairness.

Listen again on the BBC Radio 4 Today website >>
You can also read an interview with Angie Hobbs on The Knowledge Centre >>

Lord Robert Skidelsky on Growth Prospects

Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor in Politics and International Studies said Mr Osborne's cuts would "directly worsen immediate growth prospects". Writing in the New Statesman, Lord Skidelsky said:

What are the prospects for Osborne's cuts? They will directly worsen immediate growth prospects, as the Office for Budget Responsibility concedes, and they will not in themselves bring about offsetting reductions in long-term interest rates.

For this, we need quantitative easing (printing money) and it is no secret that this is what the Chancellor relies on to vindicate his policy.

Yet one would be wrong to think this is a cure-all ... the injection of £200 billion of new money in 2009 failed to revive lending and borrowing on the scale needed for robust recovery, and it is not clear why the Chancellor and the governor of the Bank of England expect another monetary injection to do any better now.

Lord Skidelsky’s comments were featured as the lead essay in this week’s issue of New Statesman >>

Wyn Grant on Social Security

In an article on bloomberg.com, Prof Wyn Grant commented on the social-security spending cuts:

Local agents who administer benefits are subject to local political pressures… Even if the local administrators do not know the people whose cases they administer, there may well be a local culture that is sympathetic to, for example, people who have been unemployed for long periods of time.’’

Read the full article on Bloomberg.com >>l

Prof Mark Harrison on the Welfare State

Prof Mark Harrison, Department of Economics was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Thursday morning looking at the future of the Welfare State – have George Osborne’s cuts made it a thing of the past?

Listen to the interview here on BBC iPlayer (0:05.30) >>

Prof Mark Harrison, also looks at the principles and the future of the welfare state after George Osborne’s cuts on his blog:

Panic is in the air, especially in the British public sector. Yesterday's comprehensive spending review prompted BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire to ask me this morning if this marks the end of Britain’s welfare state.

There will be a major contraction, for sure. At the same time, it is far from the end of welfarism as we have known it since the late 1940s. George Osborne’s cuts, if and when they take effect, will bring the government’s share of GDP back down just below 40 percent – that is, where it was in the early 2000s. At that time, less than a decade ago, the welfare state was still alive and well.

What will have changed? Most likely tomorrow's welfare state will be smaller than it is now. And the principles on which it is based are evolving. But given the scale of cutbacks, the evolution of the principles is surprisingly slow.

Read the full blog post here >>

An Academic Analysis

The morning after the Comprehensive Spending Review announcements, Prof Abhinay Muthoo from the Department of Economics, Prof Wyn Grant from the Department of Politics and International Studies, and David Elmes, Director of the Global Energy MBA at Warwick Business School, got together to talk through some of the details in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review .

Watch the video here >>


October 15, 2010

Warwick Week – Fairness, The Browne Review, Government Spending and 100 Objects

Warwick in the News

What is Fairness?
What is a fair world? What does it mean to be fair? This week, Radio 4 have been exploring the topic of “fairness” and on Monday, Dr Angie Hobbs, Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy considered the concept of “fairness” and what it means.

It rests on the assumption that each person matters in themselves and is more than a number. To put it formally, persons are separate bearers of human dignity and rights so any distributions, transactions or cuts that disregard the dignity and rights of the individual will therefore, not be fair.

Listen again to Dr Angie Hobbs >> (1:14.09)

Vice-Chancellor comments on the Browne Review
Tuesday saw the publication of Lord Browne’s review on university funding in England. The review recommends a significant increase in the cap on the undergraduate student fees and changes to the pattern of interest rate charges on student loans. Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift commented:

...there is much yet that has to be resolved before we can be sure of the full implications of this review for Warwick or any other English university. The report will be debated and considered by both government and parliament before any of its recommendations are adopted, amended or even set aside. We also await the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR)  which will have a significant impact on the consequences of the Browne review if, as is expected, it includes a significant cut to University funding.

Read the Vice-Chancellor's comments in full >>

Government spending and GDP
Prof Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy (Department of Economics) was on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday discussing government spending and GDP with Jonathan Freedland. The programme compared the present public spending review with the 'Geddes Axe' of 1921-22.
Listen again >>

Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel Prize for Literature
Honorary Graduate Mario Vargas Llosa has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The award was given "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat."
Find out more about Mario Vargas >>

A History of the World in 100 Objects
Vice-Chancellor Prof Nigel Thrift appeared on Radio 4’s “History of the World in 100 Objects” on Tuesday discussing the marine chronometer that accompanied Darwin to South America and its role in measuring time and geography.
Listen again >>
(07:27)

Linda Norgrove
The University was saddened to hear the news reports last weekend on the death of WBS student Linda Norgrove. She had almost completed her WBS Distance Learning MBA, and had been serving as an aid worker in Afghanistan. She was taken as a hostage in September and was killed in the course of a rescue attempt on Friday 8 October.
Read more about Linda Norgrove >>

Comment

Higher Education: Who Else Should Pay? Mark Harrison

The Browne report, Securing a sustainable future for higher education in England, says higher education should be paid for by those that benefit from it: our graduates. It also says they should pay later, in easy instalments, and only when they can clearly afford it, with all risk transferred to the government and universities.

It looks to me like a no-brainer ... Yet lots of people are showing signs of moral outrage.
A question the critics seldom address is: Who else should pay for my degree?
The taxpayer is usually implied. But here's the problem: tax-financed higher education involves a lot of poor-to-rich redistribution.

Read more on Professor Mark Harrison’s Blog >>


October 01, 2010

Warwick Week – Miliband, IGGY, Diabetes, WBS Branding, Life Sciences

Warwick in the News

Wyn Grant discusses David Milband’s departure from front-line politics
Prof Wyn Grant, Politics and International Studies, was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Wednesday evening talking about David Miliband’s departure from front-line politics. Wyn said;

I think it was quite difficult for him because he has been the front-runner in the election, up to the last minute he thought that he had won and then to be defeated by a very narrow margin, that was psychologically difficult. He also has a young family and I think he would probably like to spend a bit of time with them as they are growing up.

I think it’s quite possible that at some future shadow cabinet election he might decide then that he can stand again but as he said in his statement he hopes he will be doing policy background work for the party.

Discussing David Miliband’s response to Ed ‘s comments on Iraq, Wyn said:

I think he was really quite annoyed about that comment about Iraq, I mean obviously I think in that speech yesterday Ed Miliband was trying to tack both to the left and to the right and what he said about Iraq was something to reassure those on the left of the party. But of course Iraq’s not really a live issue any more, the live issue in terms of foreign policy is Afghanistan.

Listen to the full discussion on BBC iPlayer (0:26.40) >>

Donald Singer discusses Diabetes on BBC Arabic TV
Professor Donald Singer took part in a live TV interview on BBC Arabic TV Live News on the 26th September for a report on a new gene abnormality in migraine which may provide a new biomarker to help in treatment choice in migraine. It is thought that the new discovery may give clues to development of new treatment approached in selected patients - a further advance in personalising medicines.
Watch the video (translated into Arabic) >>

Nurturing Gifted and Talented Youth
Prof George Rowland, Department of Physics was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire earlier this week talking about the International Gateway for Gifted Youth. Prof Rowland spoke to Annie Othen about the importance of providing opportunities for talented young people to help them reach their potential.
Listen again (1:11.13) >>

Announcements

The New School of Life Sciences
As of today (1 October 2010) the Department of Biological Sciences and Warwick HRI have officially amalgamated to form the new School of Life Sciences. This exciting initiative brings together the renowned research and teaching excellence in the two departments, and will form a platform to further enhance multidisciplinary Life Sciences activity in the University.
Find out more on the Life Sciences website >>

New branding for Warwick Business School
On Monday, Warwick Business School unveiled their new corporate logo and launched a new design for their website. At the official unveiling of the logo, Dean of Warwick Business School, Professor Mark Taylor, said:

Today is the first day of our new WBS brand, and I have to say I am delighted with it. The logo is modern yet timeless, clear and striking, and implies a dynamic and forward-looking institution; the blue background also co-brands us with the rest of the University.

Watch a video of the event on the WBS website >>

Research News

£650,000 Funding Grant Awarded to West Midlands’ Foremost Research Universities
The University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham have been awarded a £650,000 research grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for a collaborative project developing new materials for a highly efficient class of fuel cells. The research will investigate novel doping strategies to improve the performance of electrolyte and electrode materials for use in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell systems.
Read the press release >>



August 20, 2010

Warwick Week – A–levels, IGGY, Junk Food, Ofsted and 100 Days of Coalition

Warwick in the News

A-level Successes
Students across the country received their A-level results yesterday (Thursday 19th August). Warwick was as popular as ever with 23,349 UK and EU applicants for 2,851 places.

IGGY U in Botswana
This week, some of the world’s brightest young people are taking part in the IGGY U Summer School in Botswana thanks to a special partnership between the Botswana Ministry of Education and Skills Development (Education Hub) and the International Gateway for Gifted Youth (IGGY). Young people from Botswana, South Africa, Brunei, Ghana, Tanzania, and the UK will enjoy special courses in Mathematics, Creative Writing, Chemistry, Physics, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
Read the press release

The Books That Made Me: China Miéville
China Miéville, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and award-winning fantasy writer was interviewed for The Guardian Books Podcast this week.
Listen again - The Books That Made Me: China Miéville

Tax on junk food
With renewed calls for a tax on junk good, Professor Elizabeth Dowler, Department of Sociology argues that any attempt to promote healthy heating must also try to tackle some of the social justice issues that lie behind consumer choices.
Read the story


Science of Discworld
Honorary graduate and author, Sir Terry Pratchett was interviewed on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire this week. Terry Pratchett collaborated with Warwick academics Professor Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen on the Science of Discworld books.
Listen again (2:21.47)

Announcements

‘Outstanding’ result from Ofsted for Warwick teacher training courses
Teacher training programmes at the University of Warwick have been judged as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors. Ofsted, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, has awarded the ‘outstanding’ provider status to the Warwick Institute of Education.
Read the press release

Success for Malaysian alumnus
Nadza Abdul (MBA 1995-96), the Chief Operating Officer of PosLaju National Courier, Malaysia's national and largest domestic courier company, was recently awarded the 2010 Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award. The award is one of Asia Pacific's most prestigious entrepreneurship awards.
Read more on the Alumni and Friends website

British Academy Fellow
Professor Graham Loomes, Department of Economics has been elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy.  The British Academy Fellowship are approximately 900 scholars who have achieved distinction in the humanities and social sciences.
Find out more on the British Academy website

Comment

100 days of Coalition  - Professor Wyn Grant, Department of Politics and International Studies
This week Britain's Coalition Government marked 100 days in office. Why are we so preoccupied with a time span of 100 days when President Kennedy said that 1000 days was too little to achieve anything? The original Hundred Days was the period between the arrival of Napoleon in Paris after his escape from Elba to his removal after the Battle of Waterloo. The term gained political currency when President Roosevelt got the New Deal off to a good start in his first hundred days in office. As prime minister in the 1960s Harold Wilson promised 100 days of dynamic action, but the reality was more disappointing.

One test of success for the Coalition Government is that it has survived for 100 days without any major rifts appearing. Indeed, there have been fewer tensions between ministers than in many single party governments. There has been grumbling about their lack of influence from MPs the right of the Conservative Party and from Liberal Democrat backbenchers, but it has had little real effect.

The real tests for the Coalition Government are still to come. One will be when the Comprehensive Spending Review is published in October. Some cuts in public spending have already been announced, but then their full extent will hit home. Another will be getting the referendum of the alternative vote through Parliament and then, as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned, winning it. 100 days is not a real test of five years.


July 23, 2010

Warwick Week: Graduation, England U–19s, Extreme Sports and a Special Relationship

Each week we will be bringing you a round-up of the news from Warwick - the big stories, latest research and perspectives on the latest media headlines.

It’s been a busy week on campus with our summer degree ceremonies – we hope all those graduating students have had memorable occasions. Amongst the 3,500 students graduating, honorary degrees were also awarded to Home Secretary Baron Baker of Dorking, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford and Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor Sir John Bell FRS and Trade unionist Baroness Brenda Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde amongst others. The Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence (WATE) were also presented to Dr Peter Corvi from Warwick Business School, Jonathan Heron from The CAPITAL Centre, Dr Catherine Lambert from Sociology, Dr Paul Taylor from Chemistry and Dr Nicolas Whybrow from Theatre and Performance Studies.

Warwick in the News

New Chemistry Labs opened by Nobel Prize Winning Chemist
Professor Robert H. Grubbs, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2005, opened our new £2.3 million Chemistry Teaching Labs on Tuesday after receiving his honorary degree at the ceremony on Monday afternoon. Professor Robert Grubbs is Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and is the author of more than 400 publications and has over 80 patents.
Read the press release >>

Good luck to the England Under-19s
The England Under-19 team were training here at the University last week before embarking on the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in northern France. The team trained at the University Sports Centre and were hosted by Warwick Conferences. A few weeks ago, the University also hosted the International Women's Under 23 Tournament featuring England, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Find out more >>

Top ten performance for Formula Student racing car
A team of undergraduate engineering students have just come 7th overall in the UK and 22nd in the world in an international competition to build a “formula student” racing car. Congratulations to the whole team!
Read the press release >>

Announcements

New Head for School of Life Sciences
The University has announced that Professor John McCarthy has been appointed Head of the new School of Life Sciences. Professor McCarthy is currently BBSRC Professorial Research Fellow and Director of the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB) at the University of Manchester. Professor McCarthy will join the University on 1 October 2010.
Read the press release >>

Professor Peter Mack appointed Director of Warburg Institute
Professor of English at the University Warwick, Peter Mack, has been appointed as the new Director of the Warburg Institute and will assume the Directorship from 1 October 2010. The Warburg Institute is one of the 10 prestigious Institutes that make up the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.
Read the press release >>

Partnership with IIT Kharagpur helps establish new IIT Bhubaneshwar
An international partnership between IIT Kharagpur and WMG is helping drive significant expansion for IIT Kharagpur as it moves to support an Indian Government Initiative to increase the number of Indian Institutes of Technology.
Read the press release >>

Research News

Embodiment and identity in extreme sporting culture
Warwick sociologist, Dr Karen Throsby will be swimming the Channel next month as part of a research project sub-titled “Embodiment and identity in an extreme sporting culture”.  Her research aims to explore what motivates people to engage in extreme sports such as Channel swimming. She has funding from the Economic and Social Research Council for two and a half years, towards the end of which she hopes to write a book that will tap into the post-Olympic debate on the motivation to take part in sport.
More on the Guardian website >>

Warwick Comment

A special relationship? – Wyn Grant comments on David Cameron’s trip to America
David Cameron’s visit to the United States for talks with President Obama has once again highlighted the so-called ‘special’ relationship between Britain and the United States. There are those who doubt that there is a special relationship at all and in these talks it was re-christened a ‘special’ relationship. It had a particular character during the Cold War when Britain was an important base for the United States, sometimes referred to as a static aircraft carrier.  

However, anyone who doubts that the relationship is an enduring one in the context of the fight against terrorism should look at the recent book on electronic eavesdropping by GCHQ written by my colleague Richard Aldrich and obtain favourable reviews in the quality press. The intelligence partnership has always been central to the relationship and in that sense it is special.

On this visit David Cameron has been under pressure on the subject of BP, both on the oil spill in the Gulf and unproven allegations that the release of the Lockerbie bomber was in some way linked with an oil deal with Libya. The fact that Cameron opposed the prisoner release in opposition helped him to navigate this tricky issue. However, one of his central objectives on this visit was to attract US investment to boost the UK economy which is why he went to New York and was seen eating a hot dog with the mayor.


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