Solid Growth, New Challenges

This morning I attended the launch of the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Regional Update. For the first time, the launch came directly from Sydney; previously it was launched in Washington and presented in Australia by videoconferencing. This twice yearly snapshot of economic development in East Asia was presented by Jeff Gutman (WB Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific) and Dr Homi Kharas (WB Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific). The title was 'solid growth, new challenges' and pretty much covered the message: a lot of optimism, but…Read more …

Academic Champions League?

In the latest Higher Education section of The Australian it is all about research assessment. The Australian Government has planned to introduce a Research Quality Framework (RQF) which is largely based on the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The RAE is a peer review exercise to evaluate the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The introduction of the RAE has improved universities' research performance (in terms of impact of publications) and created greater research concentration.It' s a rather strange moment to introduce the RQF because the UK has plans to abolish…Read more …

Higher Education and Europe (again)

Last Wednesday, 1500 students and teachers protested in Brussels against reforms to the Belgian Francophone higher education system. The reforms will restrict the number of foreign students in particular degrees like veterinary science and physiotherapy. Many French students currently study in Belgium because they are required to go through entrance exams in France.The Times Higher Education Supplement has an article on the issue (subscription required):The law, due to be introduced in September, is intended to cut the number of non-Belgians accepted on certain courses. In veterinary medicine, 86% of university students enrolled in…Read more …

Camping for Belarus

The Dutch higher education and science magazine 'Scienceguide' has kept a close watch on the developments in Belarus and on the student/youth movement 'Zubr' (Bison) in particular. In the wake of the elections, several students were arrested for opposing the government. After almost a week on the Kastrychnitskaya Square, protesters have been brutally removed from the square on Thursday.Members of the European Parliament have posed questions for Brussels about the violent actions of the Lukashenko regime. Until now, the EU has not acted very convincingly on the issue and Zubr reports on several…Read more …

Dutch Arrogance?

Although this week the US and the UK reported that their numbers of foreign students were increasing again, the Dutch Immigration Office says that the number of granted student visas has decreased from 8800 in 2002 to 5900 in 2004. Part of this decrease is due to the EU enlargement since students from Central and Eastern Europe don't have to report to the Immigration Office anymore. The number of students from China and Morocco decreased by one third while for some other countries like South Africa, Iran and Ghana the number decreased by…Read more …

Chirac: "Adieu"

From the Financial Times:Jacques Chirac, French president, on Thursday night stormed out of a European Union summit after a French industrialist began addressing leaders of the bloc in English.Mr Chirac and two senior ministers walked out in protest at the decision of Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, head of the Unice employers organisation, to make a plea for economic reform in 'the language of business'.Symbolic for the troubled times in the EU?Read more …

Giddens & Co. on Europe

The Guardian published the transcript of an interview with Anthony Giddens about New Labour, the Lisbon Agenda and labour market reforms. The message for Europe, or better, for Germany, Italy and France: a flexicurity model. Reform of the labour market and at the same time taking care of those who lose out. Here are a few of his statements.About Lisbon and the European Social Model:You get all these detailed prescriptions about what should be done at the level of the economy. Even this great hit list which countries are supposed to follow. But…Read more …

Overseas Students Returning?

The talk about crisis in international student numbers in the UK and the US six months ago, may have been al little premature. The UK and the US are the major destinations for overseas students but due to stricter visa regulations after 9/11 and the London Bombings, the number of foreign students were dropping. Australia remained a popular destination and continental Europe slightly increased its position.The NYT and the Guardian now report that the students are slowly returning. British universities recruited 6% more students from outside the UK last year. Although good news…Read more …

The Economics of Selective Knowledge

-------------------------------------------------------------The Lisbon Council: In a landmark study, OECD education expert details poor performance of European education. Europe risks falling further behind in 21st century economic race unless it manages to make skills and knowledge a top priority. The OECD: The economics of knowledge: Why education is key to Europe's success. In a study released by the Lisbon Council, OECD education expert Andreas Schleicher shows that educational progress in Europe is lagging behind, in terms of the quality and quantity of its graduates, in openness of its education systems to students from all social…Read more …

So that’s Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is right up there in the technology hypes, next to biotechnology and information technology (or are we passed that?). Reading this post on your laptop or PC, the results of information technology are hard to ignore. The results from research in biotechnology are maybe harder to grasp, but still pretty obvious (medical applications, food, agriculture). But nanotechnology?Time for some nanotechnology 101: Nanotechnology is the art and science of manipulating matter at the nanoscale (down to 1/100,000 the width of a human hair) to create new and unique materials and products. An estimated…Read more …

Outsourcing Drug Trials

Outsourcing has become a well-tried practice in the global economy. Outsourcing manufacturing is a strategy that has become very widespread. Outsourcing services, illustrated by India's call-centers, is more recent but has become common practice for many western multinationals. Even the more knowledge intensive services like accounting are now often being provided overseas. India currently is even becoming increasingly a recipient of outsourced R&D. Even waste management and recycling is outsourced nowadays. But this article in Wired Magazine gave me another view on outsourcing, and one that increasingly worried me reading through the article.…Read more …

Technonationalism and Economic Globalism

This month's Far Eastern Economic Review featured an interesting article about Asia's nationalist policies in the globalised field of science and innovation. Here are a few sections, but read the full story here (free access).P.V. Indiresan, the former director of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras: "The future of both China and India is at risk, because neither owns the technology it operates; the intellectual property continues to remain in the West. The short answer to this problem is that we should develop our own technology; we should acquire so much intellectual property…Read more …

Pak Pram’s new book

The IHT has an article on one of the greatest writers of our time: Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Toer (a.k.a. Pak Pram) is probably best known for his Buru Quartet, named after the island Buru where he was imprisoned while he wrote the book. It consists of four books telling the saga of the first stirrings of Indonesian nationalism seen through the eyes of a young Javanese student. The books are This Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia), Child of All Nations (Anak Semua Bangsa), Footsteps (Jejak Langkah), and House of Glass (Rumah Kaca). I…Read more …

Technology Transfer and the Ownership of Science

The Association of University Technology Managers represents professionals in the field of technology transfer and tries to develop and promote best practices in the profession. Universities have seen a significant increase in technology transfer activity. Before 1980, fewer than 250 patents were issued to U.S. universities each year and discoveries were seldom commercialized for the public's benefit. In contrast, in 2002, AUTM members reported that 4673 new license agreements were signed. Between 1991 and 2002, new patents filed increased more than 310 percent to 7741 and new licenses and options executed increased more…Read more …