It is widely predicted that China's economy will become bigger than that of the United States within the next few decades. Bristol University is responding by setting up a new centre for East Asian studies, which will offer postgraduate research opportunities and intensive one-year Masters courses. The latter will be aimed at people aspiring to work - or already working - in or with East Asian businesses. Focusing on China, Japan and the Korean peninsula, the courses will cover the politics, economics and culture of the region, says Professor Ray Forrest, head of policy studies at the university. Students will also study either Mandarin or a Japanese language, and two or three modules of special interest. These options are yet to be designed but are likely to include globalisation and the future of East Asia, post-Mao Shanghai and contemporary Japanese culture. The courses will also offer the chance to take a two-month work or study placement in East Asia. The new centre is a multidisciplinary effort: P

It is widely predicted that China's economy will become bigger than that of the United States within the next few decades. Bristol University is responding by setting up a new centre for East Asian studies, which will offer postgraduate research opportunities and intensive one-year Masters courses. The latter will be aimed at people aspiring to work - or already working - in or with East Asian businesses. Focusing on China, Japan and the Korean peninsula, the courses will cover the politics, economics and culture of the region, says Professor Ray Forrest, head of policy studies at the university. Students will also study either Mandarin or a Japanese language, and two or three modules of special interest. These options are yet to be designed but are likely to include globalisation and the future of East Asia, post-Mao Shanghai and contemporary Japanese culture. The courses will also offer the chance to take a two-month work or study placement in East Asia. The new centre is a multidisciplinary effort: Professor Forrest has been working with historians, linguists, social scientists and lawyers at Bristol. The historians are particularly interested in newly discovered photographic images of old China, and want to establish the world's leading digital library of such pictures.

* Lazy patients who miss appointments are a constant source of irritation to doctors, and cost the NHS an estimated £400m every year. But a new system for tackling the offenders is being set up by an MBA student. Mubbasher Khanzada of Strathclyde University has designed a computer terminal called Well Time, on which reception staff can input appointment times and patients' preferred means and time of contact to confirm attendance. The system automatically contacts patients ahead of their appointment, requesting confirmation that they will attend. If a patient declines an appointment, it will be automatically offered to someone else. "The system is designed to be as socially inclusive as possible and offers a choice of landline, mobile phone, SMS text or e-mail contact," says Mubbasher Khanzada. He will be starting trials of the system within the next few weeks.

* Students are getting their hands on real diamonds as part of a unique competition. The annual Cool Diamonds Award offers third-year MA students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design the chance to design a piece of jewellery to be sold by the online jewellers www.cooldiamonds.com. About 30 students will go to the company's Hatton Garden offices this autumn to be briefed. "They will be asked to move away from overt creativity and come up with designs that are cutting edge and comfortable to wear," says spokeswoman Molly McKellar. The students will submit prototypes and four finalists will be chosen. Their designs will be made up in gold and diamonds, and the winner announced next spring.

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