Postgraduate: Radiotherapy; The science of job offers; Idea League

Acute staff shortages in radiotherapy services for cancer patients are being addressed by Sheffield Hallam University. It has launched a fast-track postgraduate diploma, radiotherapy and oncology in practice, aimed at graduates with a first degree in health care or a related subject. Too few people think of radiotherapy as a career option, says principal lecturer Angela Duxbury. Some of her students became aware of the vital job that radiotherapists do only when a family member needed treatment for cancer. There is also a common misconception that radiotherapy is something that people already within the NHS go on to specialise in, she says. Available now, the course takes two years, which means that successful candidates will qualify nine months earlier than those taking a traditional BSc in the subject.

* The science of job offers will be studied on a new Open University course. Psychometrics: selection and assessment, available from next month, will be taken by students on a range of Open's social science Masters courses. It will explore the psychological theories and ideas about selection and recruitment policy and practice, says course leader Rosalind Searle. "The dominant school is the American, psychometric approach, which says that organisations have the ability to pick the best candidate for a job," says Dr Searle. "More critical, European theories say that more than one person could be right for the job and there could be more than one way to do the job well." Students will analyse the tools used by human resources managers, such as applications forms, references, interviews and psychometric tests - including the latest electronic ones, which may be able to tell if a subject is cheating.

* A symbiotic scholarship scheme has been announced by four top European scientific universities. In 1999, Imperial College, London, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, ETH, Switzerland, and RWTH, Germany, formed the Idea League, an agreement to exchange ideas and expertise in the interests of developing European science and technology education. Now they have launched the scheme, which will give newly graduated students from one Idea League university the chance to take a postgraduate degree at another. Twelve annual scholarships will be made available - the first lot starting in 2004 - and will cover fees and part of the students' living costs. Because some European cities are much more expensive than others, the expenses will vary between €5,300 and €10,500. Sir Richard Sykes, the rector of Imperial College and president of the League, says he has high hopes for the scheme. "All the Idea universities have agreed to treat the students of others in the same way as their own, which is itself a great achievement."

g.mccann@independent.co.uk

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