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Industry support for postgrad courses increasingly vital

LETTER

Steve Branch is right in saying industry will have to step in and support postgraduate training centres as MSc funding is withdrawn (MSc matching, letters GE February 05).

Although many academic institutions already have close links with industry, I would still encourage companies to make direct contact with MSc course leaders to discuss ways in which they could support postgraduate training (Masters courses listing, GE February 05).

At Portsmouth, students have tended to fund themselves and despite this there are a healthy numbers on the MSc programmes.

In addition to full-time courses, we have also introduced work-friendly part-time courses, which have proven popular.

While we would encourage any form of student sponsorship by industry, we would also like to see companies providing longer term general support at the course level.

This could be used to support all students on a specific course through for example, a fieldwork bursary, which would be used to reduce the amount each student has to contribute toward costs.

It is evident this type of industrial support will become increasingly important over the next few years as the new student fee structure is introduced at undergraduate level.

It is uncertain at this stage how this additional fi ancial burden will affect student recruitment on MSc courses in the long term.

However, only effective twoway communication between industry and academia can ensure the continuation and expansion of postgraduate geoscience courses, from which industry will ultimately benefi with increased numbers of suitably qualifi ed graduates.

Malcolm Whitworth, course leader, applied geoscience MSc programme, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth

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