Postgraduate: Qasim Akinreti; Biological recognition; Queen's University

The outrage sparked by the Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel's piece about the 2002 Miss World contest showed how different that country's reporting is from our own (Daniel studied journalism in the UK). Now, a Nigerian broadcaster is set to bring less controversial Western techniques to his profession, having taken an MA in online journalism at Nottingham Trent University.

Qasim Akinreti, who worked for the international radio service Voice of Nigeria as a news reporter and political correspondent before coming to Nottingham, says that he is the first person from Nigeria to have gained such a qualification. Journalism in his home country is a challenge, he says, because only a few writers have use of the computers and phones needed to file stories, and access to vital information is often restricted. The Nottingham course covers all aspects of online journalism, including website design, audio and video capturing, and sub-editing. Mr Akinreti says that his employers will greatly value his new skills, which he will be able to pass on to colleagues.

* Biological recognition is the subject of a new PhD programme. It is not about bumping into people you know, but a range of organic events that scientists want to understand better. "Biological recognition is an interaction that triggers a consequence," says Sebastian Springer, professor of biochemistry and cell biology at the International University Bremen, which is running the course. "An example, from our immune system, is when a virus-infected cell is sought out and destroyed by a T-cell." Such events happen on various scales, including at DNA level. To understand what the events have in common, students will need to use various disciplines, including biochemistry and physiology. "They will gain the dual benefit of studying complex phenomena and using a large number of methods, giving them transferable skills," says Professor Springer.

And that's not all they will get. There's a stipend of €9,000, guaranteed to successful applicants for two years in the first instance (the full PhD takes five years). And the university is new - the first students arrived in 2001 - offering a large green campus and state-of-the-art labs. Bremen is in the north of Germany, about an hour's drive from Hamburg. It is the country's only private university and a joint venture between Bremen and Rice University in Houston, Texas. Courses are taught in English. Professor Springer expects a minimum of 10 places to be offered on the new course, depending on the quality of applications. See www.iu-bremen.de/ses/biorec/ for more details.

* A weightlifting champion and a pair of identical twins have been awarded PhDs at Queen's University Belfast. Peter Stewart, 25, who has been Northern Ireland's weightlifting champion in the 77kg class for three years, got his doctorate last month in haematology. And Martin and John Ludlow, also 25, got theirs in molecular virology and theoretical atomic physics respectively.

g.mccann@independent.co.uk

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