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HIS EXCELLENCY NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA, DCL, President of the Republic of South Africa, will visit the University on Friday, 11 July. There will be a ceremony of welcome in the Convocation House at 12 noon on that day, at which the Chancellor of the University will speak and President Mandela will reply.

Admission to the ceremony will be by ticket only. Members of the University wishing to attend should send applications for tickets, not later than Friday, 4 July, to the Head Clerk, University Offices, Wellington Square (telephone: (2)70190; e-mail: Philip.Moss@admin.ox. The ceremony will not be open to the general public.

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Statement by Council and the General Board

Council and the General Board, in determining the University's budget for the next financial year, have taken into account the outcome of the Research Assessment Exercise and the opportunities which are presented by the resultant increase in HEFCE research funding, but have also been mindful of the continuing uncertainties underlying the future, specifically the recommendations of the Dearing Committee and the higher education policies of the new government.

Income and general decisions on expenditure

The income estimated to be available to the University for 1997–8 is £6.2m greater than in the current year. £4.1m represents net increased funding from HEFCE, the remainder arises from fee income, investment income, and research contract overheads. HEFCE funding for teaching increased from £36.6m to £37.9m, but this includes about £1.7m of funds previously distributed separately for equipment indicating that the real change is about –1 per cent. HEFCE funding for research also increased, from £44.5m to £54.3m. About £3.7m represents the transfer of equipment funds, and a further £1m relates to `generic research' funding which does not form part of the quality-rated distribution, the total of which amounted therefore to £49.6m, an increase of £6.1m [1] compared to the comparable figure of £43.5m in 1996–7. However, expenditure is also increasing and at a faster rate than HEFCE income. Thus inflationary increases alone would, over a short period of years, absorb much of the increase without any further action. The University's policy of allocating substantial sums annually on a non-recurrent basis allows some flexibility in coping with year-on-year changes, and in respect of next year allowed Council to release some £8.2m of new money, £7.5m to the General Board (see final two paragraphs of this notice), £0.5m to central administration (of which half is non-recurrent, and of which a significant proportion relates to improvements in the service delivered to departments under the Prophecy and payroll/personnel systems and the installation of security cameras in the vicinity of Radcliffe Square at the request of the Security Committee), and £0.2m to the Buildings Committee. This is in contrast to the position expected last year when cuts were projected in all budgets in order to break even. Removal of the need for these budget reductions is a direct consequence of the RAE and absorbed a considerable proportion of the new money allocated for 1997–8.

In approving the budget for 1997–8 Council accepted the budgetary policies recommended by the Resources Committee in respect of the current and future years, including the achievement of a modest surplus of some £1m each year in order to strengthen central reserves which underpin the current activities of the University and may be needed to cope with rapid government policy changes as have been experienced in the past. A particular concern of the committee recently has been the funding of major capital projects, and accordingly sums which have been received by the University as non-recurrent items are being transferred to capital funds to help to meet the cost of projects, to which commitments have already been made or are anticipated within the medium term.

Council has also been concerned about the longer-term implications of the University's current level of financial commitment and flexibility, in the light of possible future funding changes. At present it is only possible to look forward for two years with any confidence. In 1998–9 the revised baseline for HEFCE funding is expected to decline in real terms, and it seems most unlikely that the level of new money released in 1997–8 could be repeated. Beyond that, it can be assumed that proposals made by the Dearing Committee will be implemented, with unknown results on the University's funding position. It is necessary therefore to recognise that although the budget for next year has given the University the opportunity to invest in new developments over a wide spectrum, it is not possible to make any confident prediction of what level of funding may be available in later years.

General Board decisions

The Board did not this year ask departments or other subject areas for bids as part of the preparation for the 1997–8 budget because it was not clear until late Hilary Term whether the University's income would be higher than in previous years. The Board agreed in Michaelmas Term 1996 that there were a number of strategic activities which would require additional funding in 1997–8 even if no new funding from HEFCE was available (i.e. redeployment would have been necessary). The Board informed departments in Michaelmas Term that in compiling the 1997–8 budget it assigned the highest priority to funding for the following strategic areas: the restoration of at least part of the cut in equipment funding in 1996–7, IT support, the library sector (especially the need to complete retrospective conversion), the most urgent needs identified by General Board reviews (particularly of non-departmentally organised faculties), and the bringing forward of target grant increases for certain of the Board's grant-formula departments. However, it was fully expected that the HEFCE grant for 1997–8 might be lower than in 1996–7 because of the imposition of `efficiency gains' and the possibility that `grade drift' in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) would mean little significant extra money for Oxford even if the University did well. If this had happened it would have been necessary for the University to consider how it would reduce expenditure, particularly in the General Board's budget as this is the greatest area of university spending. It is still a very real possibility that general retrenchment may need to be considered in future years, and the General Board has this under consideration.

The General Board has given detailed and careful consideration to the allocation of its extra funds in the light of the above priorities. In view of the fundamental importance to the academic health of the University of the appointment of high-quality academic staff, the board has allocated £0.58m non-recurrently to help to cover the cost of releasing over fifty academic posts from Ocober 1998 (about half the estimated vacancies at that date). Major recurrent allocations on which the Board has decided include an additional £2.65m for equipment funding in 1997-8 to restore the equipment grants to their 1995-6 level, an additional £0.74m for the major departmental and faculty board grants, and an extra £0.69m both to facilitate the bringing forward of certain formula departments' target grant increases and to fund changes in student load in the grant formula. The £0.74m has been given to improve the level of support to the major academic units. Other recurrent allocations include £0.55m for funding needs identified by General Board reviews, £0.2m for the restructuring of IT posts, £0.15m to a new scheme to provide career support to long-serving contract research staff, and some funds to establish a contingency reserve.

The major non-recurrent allocations apart from the impetus to refilling academic posts referred to above include £0.9m to assist in the elimination of equipment overspends and the transition to the new funding regime for equipment, £0.78m on library needs, £0.25m for the outcome of General Board reviews, and £0.23m on short-term IT posts, as well as various other smaller allocations.


[1] The difference between this increase and the net increase of £4.1m is accounted for largely by an increase in the deduction made by HEFCE to take account of college fee income, and also by the real reduction in the teaching element of the grant and by the absence in 1997–8 of some miscellaneous HEFCE income received in 1996–7.
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LESLIE BETHELL (BA, PH.D. London), formerly Professor of Latin American History and Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, has been appointed to the directorship for a period of five years with effect from 16 June 1997.

Professor Bethell will be a fellow of St Antony's College.

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On the recommendation of the Physical Sciences Board and the General Board, Council has assigned the Sub-department of Condensed Matter Physics to R.A. COWLEY, MA, Dr Lee's Professor of Experimental Philosophy, for a period of five years from 1 October 1997.

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ROLAND LITTLEWOOD, Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry, University College, London, has been appointed to the lecturership for the academic year 1998–9.

PETER VAN INWAGEN, John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, United States, has been appointed to the lecturership for the academic year 1999–2000.

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ANDREW CHESTER, University Lecturer, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, has been appointed to the lecturership for two years from 1 October 1999.

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The Examiners in the Preliminary Examination in Fine Art have awarded the Bursary to JUSTIN CHARLES THOMAS COOMBES, Exeter College.

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The Prize has been awarded jointly to TIMOTHY KEITH HUMPHREY BRADEN, Brasenose College, and KRISTIAN STUART FRANKS, Hertford College.

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The Prize has been awarded to ANDREW P. BROWNE, Christ Church.

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Craven Fellowship: BARBARA KOWALZIG, St John's College

Derby Scholarship: ALEXANDER EVERS, Brasenose College

Thomas Whitcombe Greene Scholarship for Classical Art and Archaeology: FRÉDÉRIQUE LANDUYT, Wolfson College

The Henry Pelham Francis Studentship has not been awarded.

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Greek Reading Prizes
First Prize: GABRIELLE HIGGINS, Merton College
Second Prize: ROBERT MASON, Queen's College

Latin Reading Prizes
First Prize: LYDIA PRIOR, Magdalen College
Second Prize: RICHARD HEWITT, Merton College

Greek Recitation Prize: RICHARD HEWITT, Merton College
Commended: NOEL DILWORTH, Queen's College, and HELEN EASTMAN, Corpus Christi College

Latin Recitation Prize: LUKE HOUGHTON, Merton College

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The Prize has been awarded to JOHN MA, All Souls College.

Commended: DR ITTAI GRADEL, Lady Margaret Hall, and DR JAMES DAVIDSON, Trinity College

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Long Vacation hours

The hours of the Counselling Service will be as follows over the Long Vacation:

Monday, 7 July–Friday, 1 August: open 9.30 a.m.–1.30 p.m.

Monday, 4 August–Friday, 29 August: closed

Monday, 1 September–Friday, 26 September: open 9.30 a.m.–1.30 p.m.

From Monday, 29 September: usual hours—open weekdays, 9.15 a.m.–5.15 p.m.

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