Short items

  • The UK government’s Department of Trade and Industry is to merge two funding councils to create a new Large Facilities Council (LFC). The Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (Pparc) will be joined. LFC will manage the Rutherford Appleton and Daresbury laboratories. The government aims to complete the merger by 1 April 2007. The move was welcomed by the chief executives of both councils. 
  • Columbia University, US, has secured an additional $16.9 million (?8.8 million) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP). The grant will fund continuing investigation into the effects of arsenic and manganese exposure, particularly through groundwater contamination in New England, US, and South Asia. The work is being undertaken by the University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network. 
  • The University of Manchester will set up the UK’s first Nuclear Engineering Doctorate centre. Funding for the ?4 million centre will come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The centre will be the first in the UK to award the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in nuclear engineering, an industry focussed alternative to the PhD. 
  • Two research agencies from the Texas A&M University System, US are joining forces to investigate bioenergy development. The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station will form the Texas A&M Agriculture and Engineering BioEnergy Alliance. The large crop and animal residues produced by the state could prove a major source of renewable fuel, officials hope.