The Business School Business in Europe, Asia and the US

The Financial Times featured an interesting article from business guru Charles Baden Fuller. Professor at the Cass Business School of the City University, London. He observes a decrease in the gap between management research between the US and other regions like Europe and Asia. Although he acknowledges the supremacy of the US in the field, he says that the US share of management research will fall below 50 percent the next few years:

Research output in management is still concentrated: less than 3 per cent of the world’s universities produce more than 70 per cent of global output. Of these 214 universities, 126 are in the US, 13 in Canada, 57 in Europe and 18 in Asia and elsewhere. But comparative world positions have been changing quickly. My research** reveals how the world’s academic business research output has become more dispersed.

While Wharton and Harvard are still the best by a margin, Europe now accounts for 25 per cent of international research output. Its best schools – London Business School, Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus), Insead and Tilburg are in the global top 30. Asian schools – in China and Singapore especially – are further behind but their stock is rising even faster.

While some of the best US schools admit privately to being worried, publicly they stress their continued dominance – at least, according to their data. But their measurements overemphasise past successes, ignore current trends and importantly use narrowly based research measures, looking only at material published in US journals and ignoring the fact that important new ideas are increasingly being published in highly regarded, peer-reviewed non-US publications.

The interesting part is his explanation for the rise of European and Asian management research. He claims they are more innovative in their approaches and engage more in cross border comparative work than their Colleagues in the US. Another factor is that European and Asian researchers seem to focus more on micro issues where US academics emphasise macrostatistical trends.

I have always admired the US management research and think they have produced some of the most interesting and sophisticated social science studies in the past decades. Not just in the field of economics but especially in sociology where many of the recent breakthroughs have come out of business schools. At the same I indeed found them to be very US centric. I think this is related to their emphasis on macrostatistical trends. If the priority is on the cleanliness of data sets and the complexity of the modeling, than comparative studies are just a nuisance. But of course, social sciences can not be just about data and models, it’s also about reality. And the reality is after all becoming less tidy, more global and less US centred…

US PhD’s & Chinese Alma Maters

Now here is an interesting fact. I knew that the United States was becoming ever more dependent on foreign PhD students, especially in the so-called STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). I also knew that an increasing proportion of them come from Asia, and China in particular. But this article in Science surprised me nonetheless:

A new study has found that the most likely undergraduate alma mater for those who earned a Ph.D. in 2006 from a U.S. university was … Tsinghua University. Peking University, its neighbor in the Chinese capital, ranks second. Between 2004 and 2006, those two schools overtook the University of California, Berkeley, as the most fertile training ground for U.S. Ph.D.s (see graph). South Korea’s Seoul National University occupies fourth place behind Berkeley, followed by Cornell University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.











HT: Nanopolitan

On the non discrimination principle (…and its limits?)

Last week, at Global HigherEd, Peter Jones reported on a forthcoming European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in the case of Jacqueline Förster v IB-Groep. This is one of a range of recent cases handled by the ECJ that might have substantial effects for higher education policies throughout Europe.

In a forthcoming paper for the European Journal of Education I identified the ECJ as one of the main actors in the institutionalisation of the European Higher Education Area. In earlier posts in this blog I discussed recent cases on the German medicine students in Austria and French students in Belgium. In both cases, the principle of non-discrimination plays an important role. The same was the case for the Grzelczyk Case and the Bidar Case, which can be seen as a predecessor of the Förster case.

The Grzelczyk judgment suggests that EU students are entitled to claim maintenance grants when they find themselves in the same situation as nationals of the host Member State. Before the Maastricht Treaty, the Court refused the right to obtain loans and grants while studying in another member state. The Bidar Case changed this. Here, the Court argues that it is legitimate for a host Member State to grant such assistance to students who have demonstrated a certain degree of integration into the society of that State (although the Court made clear that Member States have a right to protect themselves against ‘grant-tourism’).

This ‘certain degree of integration’ is now being tested in the Förster Case. German student Jaqueline Förster went to the Netherlands to study in 2000. She did the minimum number of hours of work in order to be eligible for the Dutch student support. This amount of work apparently provided a substantial enough degree of integration. The Dutch scholarship board initially granted the student aid to her but asked for a partial refund in 2005 because Förster had not worked in the second half of 2003. She took the case to court saying the move was discriminatory as Dutch students do not have to work (see also this article in EU Observer).

An additional issue came up in the Netherlands after Nuffic presented its annual mobility monitor. This showed that the outgoing number of students was lower for the Netherlands than the incoming students and that the largest source of incoming students was Germany. While at least 16,750 German students were enrolled in the Netherlands, only 2,100 Dutch students were enrolled in Germany. A few days later, the ‘Dutch equivalent of the Financial Times’ carried a headline saying that German students cost the Dutch government at least one hundred million Euros. Reason for this is of course the fact that – because of the non-discrimination principle – EU universities can not charge higher tuition fees for foreign EU students than they charge for their own students. Considering Dutch higher education is still heavily subsidised by the government, German students are indeed partially funded by Dutch tax payers money.

Continue reading On the non discrimination principle (…and its limits?)

Academic Networking

Social networking has gone academic. The Web 2.0 principles were already introduced in the field of science and innovation by the iBridge Network. Facebook brought social networking to the university, but it’s main goal was not exactly academic in nature. LinkedIn brought social networking to the professional sphere. Recently there have been some initiatives that bring social networking to academic life: Researchgate and Graduate Junction.graduatejunction

The Graduate Junction was established by Daniel Colegate and Esther Dingley, graduate  students in respectively Chemistry and Education at the University of Durham, in the United Kingdom. They set up The Graduate Junction because they were – in their own words – frustrated by a feeling of isolation in their own research projects and wanted to know who, if anyone, was doing similar research. I have had a quick look at it and it looks good and has the potential to be a valuable tool for graduate students. Much of its success obviously depends on the number of participants it will attract. If I still were a student I would definitely sign up and become member of groups like this.

researchgate Researchgate targets a larger community. It is meant as a networking tool for all academics and researchers. It is set up by three students from Germany (one of them now being at Harvard). Two of them in Medicine, one in Computer Science. The concept is backed by a world wide network of experts and advisers. Researchgate has big aspirations. Next to a networking tool, it sees itself as the start of a more profound change where researchers take more and more control over their publications and research findings.

So where will all this lead? Well…my experiences with these new tools for – often conservative – academics have not always been positive. Nevertheless I’m positive about these new tools. Graduate Junction has the advantage that it targets a younger group of people and probably more open to these kind of innovations. In addition, I think that the need of these tools might be more substantial with graduate students than with researchers in general. This is simply because the ‘normal’ channels such as journals and conferences are not so readily available to them and don’t provide that many opportunities for direct interaction.

Researchgate on the other hand has a more professional look and already is backed by a large network of academics. It also seems to provide more advanced technological opportunities like importing endnote libraries and linking with databases such as PubMed. I would love to see a further expansion to enable more interaction and maybe new opportunities for open peer reviewing.

I hope both initiatives will succeed. It’s about time for the academic community to start using the technological opportunities available. Both might turn out to be great new opportunities for inter-organisational, interdisciplinary and international cooperation.

On the use of rankings and league tables

Just before going to a meeting on rankings I saw this. It is from the proposed new immigration policy: Blueprint for a modern migration policy (pdf; in Dutch). As in so many other immigration countries, it contains a chapter on skilled migration. Here is a translation of the passage that surprised me:

Anticipating the implementation of the new migration system, the government will at the latest in the first half of 2009 introduce a regulation for highly skilled immigrants. On the basis of the regulation, foreigners can stay in the country for a maximum of one year to find a job as a ‘knowledge migrant’ or to start an innovative company.

The objective of the regulation connects well to the ambition of the innovation platform to attract 1000 extra knowledge migrants. It is also in line with the advice on knowledge migrants of the Commission on Labour Participation in its report ‘towards a future that works‘.

The target group consists of foreigners that are relatively young and received their Bachelor, Master or PhD degree not longer than three years ago. Migrants are eligible if they received their degree from a university that is in the top 150 of two international league tables of universities. Because of the overlap, the lists consists of 189 universities…

And guess what the two league tables are. Yes, the Shanghai ranking and the Times Higher Education Ranking. Now…this will mean that firms like this have influence on who is eligible to come and work in the Netherlands. Something is not right here…