The Japanese can't get enough of English culture, and the Surrey Institute of Art and Design knows it. Last month it sent a group of academics to Tokyo to showcase examples of art, design and media research to drum up postgraduate applications from Japanese students. Eighty people from major universities and arts colleges were at the event - held at the British Council. Tass Mavrogordato, professor of design research at Surrey, says the prospective students were impressive. "They look to us for fashions and trends, and we look to them for skills and rigour - they tend to be thorough in their use of materials and in their practice". But academic culture clashes may await prospective students because arts courses over here entail less formal teaching and more writing than their Japanese equivalents, says Professor Mavrogordato. "We explained what our set-up is about - the importance of the individual and of critical understanding."

Professor Mavrogordato and her colleagues showed examples of doctorate level work, including animation, ceramics and textiles projects. A former artist in residence at the Institute, Kenji Toki, is Japanese and took part in the event. He talked about his research at Surrey, which involved Japanese lacquer work. This is traditionally used on small functional items such as bowls, but Mr Toki turned it into an art form by using it on large sculptures. "There is a tendency in Japan not to experiment with traditional practices," says Professor Mavrogordato. "We offer the students a chance to be daring."

* The fight against computer hackers and credit-card fraudsters is hotting up at Royal Holloway, University of London. A new online version of the university's MSc in information security is being offered to students across the globe. The techie side of the subject is tackled via modules on cryptography. "Everyone takes an introductory one, and the more mathematically aware students who want to get into the nitty-gritty of logarithms can take advanced cryptography," says Hilary Ganley of Royal Holloway's Information Security Group. But technical know-how is only one part of the battle. Another compulsory module, security management, covers the people-skills needed to implement security procedures. Guest speakers from companies such as Royal Mail and Vodafone have contributed to the campus-based course, and their talks are now relayed online. For more details visit

* The Romanian Opera House in Bucharest was the venue last Tuesday for a party to mark a milestone in education in the region. It is 10 years since the Open University Business School (OUBS) struck up a partnership with the University of Bucharest to offer management courses. In that time, more than 3,250 students have followed the OUBS Professional Certificate and Diploma in Management in the Romanian language, enabling them to go on to the OUBS MBA (in English). Since 1999, 150 Romanian students a year have been taking the MBA.