Postgraduate: MA in human rights; Glycaemic Index research; digital archiving

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The Independent Online

Reports of human rights violations are rarely out of the news - whether it's cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay or detainees at Guantanamo.

Reports of human rights violations are rarely out of the news - whether it's cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay or detainees at Guantanamo. Now Kingston University is offering an MA in human rights for those who want to work in the field. But with 97 other postgraduate programmes in human rights available, what makes this one different? "Many of the others are law-based, whereas our course is much broader; we cover campaigning and advocacy because this is the sort of work people are interested in," says the course director Phillip Spencer.

The MA has two core courses. One, which focuses on achieving human rights, is to be taught by Amnesty International's director of UK campaigns, Stephen Bowen. Bowen has been responsible for campaigns such as Stop Violence Against Women and Control Arms.

There will be seminars on issues such as Sudan, Iraq and terrorism, in addition to a second, more theoretical core course. Students will also undertake work experience in a human rights organisation. "The aim is to train people to get into human rights work," says Spencer. "Human rights organisations are increasingly more professional and better resourced, and they demand people with postgraduate skills." For course information, see www.kingston.ac.uk

* Supermarket shoppers may have got used to checking foods for salt levels, but how about their Glycaemic Index (GI)? The index ranks foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Eating foods with a high GI (such as white bread and cornflakes) means you may find yourself quickly feeling hungry again. Foods with a low GI (such as pasta and legumes) can ward off food cravings. Postgraduate students at Oxford Brookes University's nutrition and food science group are now carrying out further GI research for Tesco. It is hoped that the index can become a tool to promote healthier eating habits, manage diabetes and tackle obesity. "It's not about banning foods, it's about including low GI foods in your diet in order to help manage your appetite better," says Caroline Strik, one of eight postgraduate students in a team led by Professor Jeya Henry.

* For the past two years, researchers at the University of Southampton's school of electronics and computer science have been archiving their papers themselves. Now, a parliamentary report on academic publishing says everyone should follow suit. The report recommends that all researchers should self-archive their papers within a month of publication. "We do it because it means that our papers are more visible and that our work has greater impact," says Dr Les Carr, who leads the digital archiving research at the school. Normally papers are sent to technical journals, but with 24,000 of these worldwide, even the best-funded library can only afford to subscribe to a few. The school now has the most research papers of any institutional archive in the UK, and has developed archive software used by 130 institutions.

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