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November 2013

HR specialists must adapt to new parental leave reforms

One of the biggest tasks facing HR professionals is staying up to date on the UK's latest employment law reforms. The government is always looking for new ways to improve conditions for workers without placing businesses under undue strain. One issue that has been put under the spotlight in recent years is the allocation of leave for employees who have just had a baby. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced …Read More

Scientists find a way to replace injections with tablets

Scientists in the US may have found a way to administer nanoparticle therapeutics orally, rather than through injections. At the moment, these treatments can only be given to a patient via a needle, as the nanoparticles have trouble penetrating the intestinal lining when consumed in tablet form.  However, researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new kind of treatment that can …Read More

Can British HR departments overcome skills shortages?

One of the biggest challenges facing British HR departments heading into 2014 is coping with widening skills gaps. There are certain sectors of the economy where this is a particular concern, most notably scientific engineering. Although the UK government has already introduced measures to address this issue, such as new engineering apprenticeship schemes, some companies are struggling to find talented employees who can make an instant impact within their organisation. …Read More

Britain to place greater emphasis on synthetic biology

British companies are being urged to support the UK's burgeoning synthetic biology industry. The government wants firms to develop new tools and services that will help this increasingly important sector grow. On a global scale, the market for synthetic biology technology is expected to be worth $10 billion (£6.17 billion) by 2016 and the British authorities are planning to increase their investment in this area. Up to £3.8 million is …Read More

HR are ‘using zero-hours contracts for the right reasons’

Zero-hours contracts have been unfairly stigmatised, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) has claimed. Around one million workers are employed in this manner, which represents approximately 3.1 per cent of the overall UK workforce.  A survey undertaken by the professional body for HR and people development has shown that these controversial employment arrangements are working well for companies and workers.  HR departments have been using zero-hours contracts more …Read More

X-ray lasers can generate 3D protein models

Researchers have hailed the results of a recent international study that showed X-ray lasers can be used to map out the structure of various proteins from scratch. The team conducted the lion's share of their work at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where they discovered the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and sophisticated computer analysis tools could be used to generate a 3D model of …Read More

Investment will help nurture next generation of scientists

The UK government has announced plans to invest £350 million into the training of the next generation of scientists and engineers. Much has been made about skills shortages in these sectors and the authorities are keen to encourage more youngsters to take vocational courses at university.  The money – which is being provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – will be shared across 24 universities around the …Read More

New research may explain malaria drug resistance

Scientific studies carried out in the US may help to explain why some people build up resistance to antimalarial drugs. Findings published in the online journal PLOS ONE showed that autophagy – the process of cells removing damaged parts of themselves to restore normal function – can be linked to the ineffectiveness of malaria treatments.  Paul Roepe – a Georgetown University professor who authored the study – said these tests …Read More

Major workplace gender survey launched in the UK

A landmark study aimed at finding reasons for the apparent gender imbalance in British boardrooms has been launched. Opportunity Now, Business in the Community's gender campaign, is hoping to gauge the views of more than 100,000 women aged between 28 and 40 in the coming weeks. Chair of Opportunity Now Helena Morrissey said 'Project 28-40' is the biggest survey of its kind in the world and it could help employers …Read More

New method can help doctors diagnose blood infections

Doctors could soon be using an innovative method to diagnose blood infections. Reports published in mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology, showed that researchers have come up with a new way to identify bacteria in the blood much more quickly.  The process consists of three clear steps, where blood cells in the sample are destroyed, bacteria or fungi is assessed and the fingerprints of pathogens are …Read More