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October 2010

Principal responds to Browne Review and Comprehensive Spending Review “The overall resource budget for higher education will reduce by 40% from £7.1 billion to £4.2 billion by 2014-15. As it is now, a university education will be free to students at the point of delivery. The fee-based payment method will be supported by loans. Where a student applies for a loan to cover the cost of fees, the government will pay their university the fees on their behalf. Fees will increase. It is estimated that an average fee of £7000 pa would be required (in the absence of cost savings) to replace the reduction in teaching grant from the Higher Education Council for England (HEFCE). Comments late last week from David Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science, indicated however that the government is undecided on whether or how to enact these changes. The current zero rate of interest paid by graduates will be replaced by a

The threshold for graduate earnings at which repayment will begin will rise from £15,000 to £21,000 and will be linked to average earnings; the maximum repayment period is to be increased from 25 to 30 years. Payments of 9% of income over £21,000 pa will be collected through the tax system.

dedicated staff, we have teaching and research accommodation of a generally high quality, including some striking new, or newly refurbished, buildings. Our increasingly elevated position in national and international rankings means that we are an attractive destination for talented students from the UK and abroad. And finally, we have in our recently published Strategic Plan a clearly articulated set of core values and ambitions, providing a clear direction of travel in difficult times.

These are huge changes for the funding of teaching in higher education institutions in England and their implications require careful examination. As we face these challenges at Queen Mary, however, we should recall our particular advantages. We enter this period in sound financial health, the result of recent successes and careful husbandry of resources. To complement a talented and

I have every confidence that the coming months and years will see Queen Mary continue to develop its twin missions of knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination, and build upon its fundamental commitment to the provision of the highest possible quality education, across a broad academic range, to those students most able to benefit, regardless of their background.”

rate reflecting the government’s cost of borrowing, thereby substantially reducing the cost to government of the loans scheme. Students who fail to graduate will not be exempt from repayment.

Queen Mary Student: a newsletter for you

Latest news Top results in the International Student Barometer

Queen Mary up for three prestigious awards Queen Mary has been shortlisted for three prizes at this year’s Times Higher Education Awards. Professor Liz Davenport from the Institute of Dentistry and Dr Jon Davis, lecturer in the School of History and executive director of the Mile End Group, are both up for Most Innovative Teacher of the Year. The College has also been shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development category for its involvement in the ‘living

wage’ campaign, which was coordinated by Professor Jane Wills, from the School of Geography. The awards represent a unique and high profile opportunity to celebrate the excellence and amazing achievements of UK higher education institutions, and reaffirm the commitment to the two core pursuits of higher education: teaching and research. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on Thursday 25 November 2010.

Photography Competition: closing date 11 November 2010 The closing date for the Queen Mary Photography Competition is Thursday 11 November 2010. Entries must be received by that date. There will be a 1st prize of £400, with runner-up prizes of £100 in each category. One overall winner and one runner-up in each category will be announced at 1.00pm on Thursday 2 December. For further information, please visit the competition website at

Queen Mary has fared exceptionally well in this year's International Student Barometer (ISB), the largest study of international students in the world. The survey asks students about their learning and living experience, and their perception of the support services available, including careers advice, welfare resources and study skills. Queen Mary was rated 1st for living experience in the 1994 Group, and 2nd in London, among the universities surveyed. The College also achieved the best accommodation quality in the 1994 Group and in London, as well as being placed 1st for accommodation cost in the 1994 group and in London. In terms of the most value for money, with reference to living cost in London, we were placed 3rd in the 1994 group. The College’s support services achieved 2nd place in the 1994 Group and in London, and the College also came top for the best accommodation office and advice and counselling departments in London. The International Office at Queen Mary was rated 2nd in London for support to students. ISB is an independent and confidential online survey that international higher education students complete. It has been adopted by over 160 institutions in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, continental Europe and the USA. In the last two years, the ISB study has captured feedback from over 250,000 students.

Queen Mary Student: a newsletter for you

Latest news Queen Mary ranks amongst world’s elite universities Queen Mary has been rated amongst the world’s top 200 universities in The Times Higher Education’s prestigious World University Rankings, the most rigorous and comprehensive study of global university performance ever undertaken. The College is placed in 120th position globally, and 16th in the UK out of the 29 UK universities which make it into this year’s top 200. This represents a rise of 44 places for Queen Mary from 2009’s ranking (164).

Principal, Professor Simon Gaskell said: “This outstanding result is further affirmation of the enormous progress made by Queen Mary in recent years, and reflects great credit on all members of the Queen Mary community. The stature we now enjoy prepares us well for the challenging times ahead.” The THE World University Rankings are recognised as the most authoritative

source of broad comparative performance information on universities across the world. They are now regularly used by undergraduate and postgraduate students to help select degree courses, by academics to inform career decisions, by research teams to identify new collaborative partners, and by university managers to benchmark their performance and set strategic priorities.

Leading economist gives speech at School of Economics and Finance launch The Department of Economics has been renamed the School of Economics and Finance. To mark the occasion, the School held a special event at Butchers’ Hall in central London on Monday 18

October 2010, where guest speaker Kate Barker, CBE (former member of the Monetary Policy Committee), discussed whether or not the UK’s monetary policy framework needs reform to prevent future economic turmoil. Professor George Kapetanios, head of the School of Economics and

Finance, explained the thinking behind the name change: “The financial element of the School has become increasingly popular among students, so our new courses and new name reflect our commitment to providing industry and business relevant education.”

Queen Mary Student: a newsletter for you

Latest news Farmers’ market proves popular with students A new farmers’ market has arrived at Queen Mary. The market takes place every Thursday from 9.00am to 2.00pm at Queen Mary’s Mile End Road campus (outside The Curve, Westfield Way). If you haven’t already been, it’s worth checking out what’s on offer. The London Farmers’ Market is open to students and the general public. It offers a range of local produce including meats, sausages, free range eggs, game and a selection of fruit and vegetables. Fresh fish straight from local boats is also on offer, as well as breads, cakes, and pies from local bakers. There is also a variety of hot food to take away, such as seasonal soups, grilled meats, and a spit roast, as well as hot pies and pasties. Queen Mary Student Union President Vraj Domalip said: “Students greatly benefit from being able to purchase delicious local food. We are also very proud that we are supporting local farmers and believe that the Farmers’ Market will grow from strength to strength.”

College committed to improving your IT facilities Queen Mary has recently agreed to invest in a three year College-wide IT transformation programme which will deliver leading IT facilities to both students and staff, and better meet their needs. The Programme will deliver to students a modern IT experience which will reflect today’s mobile lifestyle, and IT support that is flexible, reliable and scalable to meet the demands of the research community.

Have your say... Over the next few weeks IT Services and PA Consulting will be engaging with students and staff across Queen Mary to confirm the College’s future IT requirements and priorities. This will be achieved by a series of workshops and interviews with students and staff. If you would like to share your views on the College’s IT facilities please contact Martin McIntosh for information on how you can get involved in the programme.

Queen Mary Student: a newsletter for you

Research brief World ’s first global graffiti iPhone app A new iPhone app has been developed by computer scientist Dr Nick Bryan-Kinns, from the Interactional Sound and Music Group in the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) at Queen Mary. The technology, known as Graffito, is an experiment in massive crowd-made graffiti. It allows anyone to scrawl digital paint on a giant projection wall using their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, or by dancing around with their handset. The online version runs continuously, so that anyone online can draw graffiti at any time with anyone else from anywhere in the world, and with over 10,000 iTunes

downloads since September, it is set to be a massive hit with digital artists. Dr Bryan-Kinns worked in collaboration with digital art company BigDog Interactive and iPhone to create this free iPhone app for the public. Graffito was inspired by the underground 80s hip hop scene and pays homage to guerrilla street art and turns it into a celebration of pop culture on a massive scale.

American Civil War hits streets of London Fresh research revealing the critical role Britain played in the American Civil War has spawned a series of walking tours, taking in historic sites around the UK capital connected to the famous nineteenth-century conflict. The tours, which started on Friday 8 October 2010, are based on the PhD findings of Tom Sebrell, a part-time history lecturer at Queen Mary. He spent four years researching American Civil War propaganda movements that thrived in Britain while the conflict raged between Southern slave states (the Confederacy) fighting for independence from the United States (Unionists) on the other side of the Atlantic between 1861 and 1865. During his studies Tom discovered numerous buildings and locations around London, 50 in total, that look “pretty much as they did in the 1860s,” which he describes as crucial to this previously untold side of the Civil War story, and the future of the United States.

Online guitar tutorial to set your performance on fire Budding guitar heroes can get a helping hand from hot new online tutorials created by audio engineers at Queen Mary. At a recent Music Hack Day, a team of young researchers designed HOTTTABS, an intelligent guitar tutor that automatically seeks out video tutorials and chords or fingering patterns for you to play all the hottest songs on the internet. Mathieu Barthet from Queen Mary’s Centre for Digital Music was part

of the design team. He describes why they came up with the idea: “You fancy giving someone a surprise by playing a guitar song for them, but lack inspiration. Or you are really full of motivation but need a little help to know where to place your fingers to make sure you’re on fire at the performance. We designed HOTTTABS to make it easy for you.”

Queen Mary Student: a newsletter for you

Research brief Protein key to growth of pancreatic cancer A protein known to regulate cell proliferation and survival has been linked for the first time to pancreatic cancer, the UK’s fifth most common cause of cancer death. Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Marco Falasca, from the Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science led the research, which highlights that the protein could provide a target to develop new treatments for the disease or enable earlier diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate

Improved glass toothpaste will eliminate the pain of sensitive teeth Researchers from the Institute of Dentistry have developed new glasses for use in toothpastes aimed at eliminating tooth pain that occurs on taking hot or cold foodstuffs into the mouth. About 40 per cent of adults suffer from this often acute discomfort known as ‘dentine hypersensitivity.’ The new glasses are designed for incorporating into toothpastes and dissolve slowly in the mouth releasing calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions, which stimulate the formation of the tooth mineral on the surface of the teeth. This newly formed tooth mineral seals the small tubules that permeate the tooth structure, and act to transfer hot or cold stimuli to the nerve located at the centre of the tooth which causes pain. Blocking these tubules makes them unable

to conduct sensation to the nerve, thereby eliminating discomfort. The glasses were developed following a collaboration between Professor Robert Hill, Dr David Gillam (Clinical Lecturer and expert in dentine hypersensitivity), and Dr Andy Bushby (Head of Nanovision) at Queen Mary.

of all cancers due to its lack of symptoms in the early stages, late diagnosis and its resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The research – funded by the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund – found that nearly three quarters of pancreatic cancer tumours had high levels of a protein known as P110. In laboratory experiments, when production of this protein was blocked, the cancer cells stopped growing.

Research provides biological insights into human growth Hundreds of genetic variants in at least 180 separate genes have been identified as having an influence on adult human height, thanks to a large genome-wide association (GWA) study involving researchers from the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The findings provide biological insights into human growth and may also shed light on the architecture of complex genetic traits more generally. Many human traits, including adult height, have a polygenic pattern of inheritance where the trait is influenced by large numbers of genetic variants, most of which have small effects. An international team of researchers, among them Dr Toby Johnson and Professors Mark Caulfield and Patricia Munroe from the William Harvey Research Institute, reported a GWA study using data from over 180,000 individuals.

Queen Mary Student: a newsletter for you

MySIS help MySIS, the new student records system, went live in August 2010. You have probably used the system by now for enrolment or module registration. This month in Queen Mary Student we are bringing you information on some of the queries students have brought to us concerning MySIS.

The Teaching Collection books students need to read To make it easier to find and borrow the books you need most, the Library has created a new Teaching Collection at Mile End Library. This brings together in one place all the high-demand items that are on reading lists. All items in the Collection can be borrowed by all Library users. The Teaching Collection will move to new purpose-built accommodation when the Ground Floor of the Mile End Library re-opens following the refurbishment. It is currently on the Second Floor of the Mile End Library.

What is in the Teaching Collection? • • • • •

 ourse reading lists C Multiple copies of items Incorporates the old Short Loan Collection Currently contains books only DVDs and DVD players will be added when the Collection moves to the ground floor

How does the Teaching Collection work? • • • •

 ooks are either one day loan or one week loan B Holds can be placed for one week loan books One week loan books may be renewed Fines will be charged for late return of items

More information about the Teaching Collection is available on the Library website

Most questions you have regarding MySIS should be directed to your student administration team, that is:

Registry (CB05 Queens’ Building, Mile End), for all students on taught programmes in the Faculties of Science and Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The Student Office (G08 Garrod Building, Whitechapel), for undergraduate students in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The Research Degrees Office (E15 Queens’ Building, Mile End), for all research students. Questions on MySIS should not be directed to IT Services, except where the problem is to do with your sign-on details, or logging in. Please note that the module registration task in MySIS has now closed, as the deadline has passed. If you have not yet registered for modules and need to do so, please contact your School or Institute directly. We are also working to produce a set of frequently asked questions and answers that will be published in MySIS itself, dealing with some of the most common queries that have been raised. These will be available in MySIS in the weeks to come.



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