Archive for the 'Innovation' Category

The end of the university? Not likely

Posted by Eric on September 23rd, 2013

This article was first published in University World News.

This year has frequently seen apocalyptic headlines about the end of the university as we know it. Three main drivers have been and still are fuelling these predictions: the worldwide massification of higher education; the increasing use of information and communication technology in teaching and the delivery of education; and the ongoing globalisation of higher education. These developments will make the traditional university obsolete in 2038. At least, that’s what some want us to believe.

The massification of higher education worldwide – even more than the massification in Western Europe, the United States and Japan in the post-war period – demands new and more efficient types of delivery. The acceleration in the demand for higher education, especially in China and other parts of South and East Asia, has made it nearly impossible for governments to respond to this demand. The increase in demand, together with decreased funding due to the financial crisis, has put pressure on traditional modes of university education.

Innovations in ICT have expanded the possibilities for delivering education and have led to new teaching instruments. The advent of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, in 2012 combined new technologies in order to reach a massive audience. These developments are intensified through the ongoing globalisation of higher education.

Because of the globalisation process, opportunities with regard to where to study have increased, ranging from attending universities abroad to attending online courses.

The concept of ‘the university’ is gone

The conjunction of these developments has led many to believe that the centuries-old model of the contemporary university is coming to an end. If we believe them, the higher education landscape of 2038 will be completely different from the current one. I would argue that these predictions show both a lack of knowledge about the contemporary landscape of higher education and a lack of historical understanding of the development of universities.

The time when the concept of the ‘university’ was clear-cut, referring to a single organisational and educational model, has long been gone. Especially since the massification of higher education in the post-war period, this single model has been accompanied by a wide variety of other higher education institutions. More vocationally oriented institutions were established, such as community colleges. Very large distance-education institutions emerged in many Western countries and beyond. What’s more, when the organisational boundaries of the traditional university were reached, new activities and new organisations appeared. One thing is for sure: in not one country in the world is the traditional university model representative of the entire higher education system any more.

But even if the proclaimers of the end of the university are only referring to the traditional model (whatever that is), they will be proven wrong in 2038, and long after that. The traditional university has been one of the most enduring institutions in the modern world. Granted, university research and university teaching have adapted constantly to changes in the economy and society. This process of adaptation might be too slow, according to many, but it is a constant process in the university. Despite this continual change and adaptation, the model of the university as we know it has changed very little.

The organisation of faculties, schools and departments around disciplines, accountability in the form of peer review, comparable tenure and promotion systems, the connection between education and research, the responsibility of academic staff in both education and research and both graduate and undergraduate education, the primacy of face-to-face instruction etc – these are all characteristics that can be found in universities throughout the world and which have existed for many, many decades – if not centuries.

My bet is they will still be there in 2038. It would be rather naive to think that a financial crisis or even a new type of delivery, like MOOCs, will profoundly change these enduring structures and beliefs.

Universities’ DNA

In the words of Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring, authors ofThe Innovative University, we are talking about the ‘DNA’ of the university, and saying that this does not change easily. They argue that university DNA is not only similar across institutions but is also highly stable, having evolved over hundreds of years. Replication of that DNA occurs continually, as each retiring employee or graduating student is replaced by someone screened against the same criteria applied to his or her predecessor. The way things are done is determined not by individual preference but by institutional procedure, written into the ‘genetic code’.

New technologies will enable new forms of education and delivery. In the coming 25 years, we will see the emergence of new institutions focusing on specific target groups and we will witness traditional institutions employing these new technologies. But will this make the university as we know it obsolete? No, it will not, because the function of the university as we know it is much more comprehensive than ‘just’ the production and transfer of knowledge.

Students attend universities not simply to ‘consume’ knowledge in the form of a collection of courses. They go there for an academic experience; and they go there for a degree that will provide them with an entry ticket to the labour market and which will give them a certain status. Does the fact that I do not see any substantial changes in 2038 mean that there should be none? The fact that structures and beliefs endure does not always mean they still serve the functions they used to.

This is also the case with many of the traditional structures and beliefs in the university. Holding on to these practices is not an end in itself. At least, it should not be, yet in making policy and in making predictions, it is good to take into account the stabilising character of these structures and beliefs.

25 years from now

Because of the university DNA, there is rarely a revolution of the type so frequently predicted by politics, business and consultants. In addition to the major source of universities’ value to a fickle, fad-prone society, the university’s steadiness is also why one cannot make it more responsive to modern economic and social realities merely by regulating its behaviour. A university cannot be made more efficient by simply cutting its operating budget, nor can universities be made by legislative fiat to perform functions for which they are not expressly designed. Another argument why the university as we know it will still be there in 2038!

Many say that the best way to predict the situation in 25 years is to look back 25 years and see what has changed since then. I was first introduced to university life 25 years ago, in what you could call a traditional university. In the past 25 years I have studied and worked at four universities in and outside The Netherlands. At the time of writing, I work at Leiden University, another traditional university.

Comparing the university of 1988 with the university of 2013, it is remarkable how little these organisations have changed. Of course, the university has adapted to societal, political and economic changes, but at its core the traditional university has remained very much the same. I can safely say that the DNA of the traditional university has not changed in the past 25 years and I can safely predict that it will not change in the coming 25 years. And essentially, that is a good thing.

European Innovation Scoreboard

Posted by Eric on January 22nd, 2009

This month, the eighth edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard was published. The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) has been published annually since 2001 to track and benchmark the relative innovation performance of EU Member States.

For the EIS 2008 the methodology has been revised and the number of dimensions increased to 7 and grouped into 3 main blocks covering enablers, firm activities and outputs (Figure 1). The purpose of this revision is to have dimensions that bring together a set of related indicators to give a balanced assessment of the innovation performance in that dimension. The blocks and dimensions have been designed to accommodate the diversity of different innovation processes and models that occur in different national contexts. A summary of the European state of innovation is given in the picture below (click to enlarge)

image

Based on their innovation performance across 29 indicators, EU Member States fall into the following four country groups:

  • Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark and the UK are the Innovation leaders, with innovation performance well above that of the EU average and all other countries. Of these countries, Germany is improving its performance fastest while Denmark is stagnating.
  • Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France and the Netherlands are the Innovation followers, with innovation performance below those of the innovation leaders but above that the EU average. Ireland’s performance has been increasing fastest within this group, followed by Austria.
  • Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy are the Moderate innovators, with innovation performance below the EU average. The trend in Cyprus’ innovation performance is well above the average for this group, followed by Portugal, while Spain and Italy are not improving their relative position.
  • Malta, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria are the Catching-up countries with innovation performance well below the EU average. All of these countries have been catching up, with the exception of Lithuania.  Bulgaria and Romania have been improving their performance the fastest.

The full report can be downloaded here

The Principle of Open Access

Posted by Eric on January 13th, 2009

I’m reading ‘The Access Principle’ by John Willinsky, a Canadian scholar now at the Stanford University School of Education. He is also the driving force behind the Public Knowledge Project, dedicated to improving the scholarly and public quality of research. I heard about his book some time ago when developing an interest in the open access movement (especially in relation to research in developing countries). But I got really interested after reading the intro to this book review by Scott Aaronson:

I have an ingenious idea for a company. My company will be in the business of selling computer games. But, unlike other computer game companies, mine will never have to hire a single programmer, game designer, or graphic artist. Instead I’ll simply find people who know how to make games, and ask them to donate their games to me. Naturally, anyone generous enough to donate a game will immediately relinquish all further rights to it. From then on, I alone will be the copyright-holder, distributor, and collector of royalties. This is not to say, however, that I’ll provide no “value-added.” My company will be the one that packages the games in 25-cent cardboard boxes, then resells the boxes for up to $300 apiece.

But why would developers donate their games to me? Because they’ll need my seal of approval. I’ll convince developers that, if a game isn’t distributed by my company, then the game doesn’t “count” — indeed, barely even exists — and all their labor on it has been in vain.

Admittedly, for the scheme to work, my seal of approval will have to mean something. So before putting it on a game, I’ll first send the game out to a team of experts who will test it, debug it, and recommend changes. But will I pay the experts for that service? Not at all: as the final cherry atop my chutzpah sundae, I’ll tell the experts that it’s their professional duty to evaluate, test, and debug my games for free!

On reflection, perhaps no game developer would be gullible enough to fall for my scheme. I need a community that has a higher tolerance for the ridiculous — a community that, even after my operation is unmasked, will study it and hold meetings, but not “rush to judgment” by dissociating itself from me. But who on Earth could possibly be so paralyzed by indecision, so averse to change, so immune to common sense?

I’ve got it: academics!

This was just the hilarious but oh so true intro to the actual review. Read the rest here. Or order Willinsky’s book here. And of course you can also download his book for free right here.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Go!

Posted by Eric on September 15th, 2008

Excellence needs flagships! That is why Europe must have a strong European Institute of Technology, bringing together the best brains and companies and disseminating the results throughout Europe. That is how José Manuel Durão Barosso introduced the European Institute of Technology about two and a half years ago. Today was the inaugural meeting of the first Governing Board of the EIT.

The Board’s 18 high-level members, coming from the worlds of business, higher education and research all have a track record in top-level innovation and are fully independent in their decision-making. The Board will be responsible for steering the EIT’s strategic orientation and for the selection, monitoring and evaluation of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).

After discussions on whether the European version of MIT would become a virtual institute, a brick and mortar institution or something in between… After a study claimed that a European Insitute of Technology was actually not necessary… After feasibility studies had been neglected….

After the decision for the establishment of the EIT was formally taken and published in the Official Journal of the European Union in April earlier this year… After its name was changed into European Institute of Innovation and Technology… After beautiful Budapest won the race and became the official location of the EIT eitin June… And after the EIT’s first Governing Board was officially appointed on 30th July 2008…

It is now time to get to work!

The only thing still missing is a real logo. As long as there is none, I’ll just keep on using the one I have been using for the last years. Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Intellectual Property Infringement?

Posted by Eric on February 9th, 2008

Here’s a case to watch. The University of Wisconsin in Madison is accusing processor giant Intel of stealing their intellectual property. A lawsuit has been filed by UW’s technology transfer office (WARF, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) in which it charges Intel with infringement of one of its patents. The patented invention improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing and this technology is used by Intel in its Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

WARF filed this complaint to ensure that the interests of the UW-Madison and its inventors are protected and that WARF receives the compensation to which it is entitled for Intel’s unlicensed use of the invention. This compensation will be used to advance continued research at the university. The foundation’s complaint identifies the Intel CoreTM 2 Duo microarchitecture as infringing WARF’s United States Patent No. 5,781,752, entitled “Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer.”

The technology, patented in 1998, was developed by four researchers at the UW-Madison, including Professor Gurindar Sohi, currently the chair of the university’s Computer Science Department. Intel has aggressively marketed the benefits of this invention as a feature of its Core 2 technology. “The technology significantly enhances opportunities for instruction level parallelism in modern processors, thereby increasing their execution speed,” states Michael Falk, WARF general counsel.

The researchers had several discussions with Intel representatives on the possibility of licensing the technology. Intel repeatedly refused but nevertheless incorporated it into its products. Intel never informed the researchers that it was using the patented technology. WARF is now asking the court to declare that Intel is infringing on its patent and to stop Intel core2duofrom selling the product. Also they asked for Intel to cover WARF’s legal fees and pay damages to WARF. Considering Intel’s dominant position in this market and the huge success of the Core 2 Duo, this last thing might prove very lucrative for the University of Wisconsin.

If it can be conclusively proven that Intel is using this specific technology, I guess that Intel will soon get together with WARF to come to a settlement…

Machines I want

Posted by Eric on January 31st, 2008

Now, isn’t this frustrating. After a hard day’s work, putting all effort in converting my thoughts to text, I read this: Philip M Parker is the world’s fastest book author, and given that he has been at it only for about five years and already has more than 85,000 books to his name, he is also probably the most prolific. Parker himself says the total is well over 200,000.

PhilipMParker

So how does Philip M Parker (professor of innovation, business and society at Insead in France) do all that? When he turns to a new subject, he seizes and shakes it till several books, or several hundred, emerge. Parker invented a machine that writes books. He says it takes about 20 minutes to write one. I don’t know what kind of device this is, but I am sure I want one! Beats an iPod, Kindle or a Mac Air anytime. Next week, the Education Guardian Weekly will have a closer look at the machine…

Update: here is how it works and here’s a video

Malaysia and the Knowledge Economy

Posted by Eric on December 17th, 2007

Earlier this month, the Malaysian Ministry for Higher Education and the World Bank hosted the Regional Higher Education Conference Strategic Choices for Higher Education Reform in Kuala Lumpur. The joint MOHE/World Bank conference was not a coincidence. The timing of the event coincided with the completion of a research report by the Malaysian Economic Planning Unit and the World Bank: “Malaysia and the Knowledge Economy: Building a World-Class Higher Education System” (pdf 1 MB).Malaysia

The 258 page report presents a good analysis of the current situation and puts forward some sound policy recommendations. Most of these are in line with my own observations and my field work that I conducted in Malaysia last year. Below is an executive summary of the executive summary and a few additional thoughts and observations coming from my side:

(more…)

De-mystify Public Policy for Higher Education

Posted by Eric on July 25th, 2007

Yesterday evening I attended the first seminar in the new Higher Education Colloquium Series organised by the Faculty of Education and Social Work of the University of Sydney. The first presentation – ‘trying to de-mystify public policy for higher education’ was given by Geoff Gallop, director of the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney and former Premier of Western Australia.

He made several interesting observations and recommendations. Todays higher education section of The Australian emphasised his plea for further deregulation of the sector. Although the Australian system is very market driven, there is still a lot of micro-management coming from the federal government. He argues that the argument for significant deregulation is gathering momentum on the basis of a general case for more flexibility and more diversity overall. I hope the current Minister of Education takes his advise on board. Flexibility and diversity are very apparent in the vocabulary of the policy makers, but I am not sure whether deregulation is…

Another important point he made was (paradoxically?) a greater involvement of the state governments.

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Crack addict: University Inc.

Posted by Eric on July 18th, 2007

More than 25 years after the Bayh-Dole Act came into force, Members of the Subcommittee on Technology & Innovation met to discuss the future of the law. The law allows universities to patent inventions that result from government funded R&D. Inside HigherEd reports that most members agreed that circumstances have changed the last 25 years. Competition is coming from China and India, instead of Germany and Japan. Technology is now more complex, with technological innovations being based on a bundle of patents instead of a few. And…universities have become competitors not just collaborators. This last point was observed by Susan Butts, the senior director of external science and technology programs at Dow Chemical.

She agreed with other members that there was a potential for more collaboration between universities and industry, especially since private funding for research and development has increased over the years. But, she said, a primary obstacle to more partnerships is the potential for disputes over intellectual property.

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Open access to research

Posted by Eric on July 9th, 2007

A nice little snippet from last week’s issue of Nature about a good initiative in open access to research:

“The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a leading private sponsor of biomedical research in the United States, will require its 300-plus investigators to make their research publicly accessible within six months of publication.

Articles that do not meet this requirement will not be considered when the investigators apply for contract renewals. The policy, announced on 26 June, will come into effect at the start of 2008 and will apply only to papers on which an HHMI investigator is the first, last or corresponding author.”

The researchers are still able to publish in many journals (including Nature) because the Institute will cover the costs that some publishers charge for making papers publicly available after a certain period of time.

Science 2.0

Posted by Eric on April 17th, 2007

One of my first posts in this blog was on the iBridge Network, a platform for searching and sharing innovations in universities. Universities can use the platform to license and distribute a variety of items, including software, research tools, databases, teaching materials, surveys, and reference materials.

Obviously I was surprised to read on the URENIO website that the iBridge Network was launched at DEMO 07 in January of this year. Well, it appears that the event I posted about 18 months ago was the announcement of the network, while this was the launch of the actual website and platform.

Laura Dorival Paglione, Director of the Kauffman Innovation Network, which manages the iBridge Network explained in her presentation: (b.t.w. sounds a lot like what the CEO was saying 18 months ago doesn’t it? ;)

“Universities are tremendous wellsprings of knowledge. By encouraging widespread access to information and linking researchers with interested parties, we are hoping to more fully realize the innovation potential that research offers.”

The platform started as a pilot for five universities: Washington University in St. Louis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Cornell University and the University of Kansas. The University of Chicago and the University of Arizona have joined a few months after the announcement.

I was a bit skeptical in my first post on this service. Looking at the website now, I think that it might eventually work. A video presentation is available at the DEMO 07 website. With all the share and collaborate features, tag clouds, categories and of course the ubiquitous ‘beta’ indication it looks a lot like Science 2.0. But like any Web 2.0 application, it will be very much dependent on the ‘user generated content’. Let’s see in another 18 months whether scientists are ready for science 2.0…

Yet Another EIT (or EITs)?

Posted by Eric on April 16th, 2007

A study team led by Peter Tindemans (former Chair of the OECD Megascience Forum) and Luc Soete, Director of UNU-MERIT, a joint research and training centre of United Nations University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands) has proposed yet another structure for the European Institute of technology.

Originally proposed by Commission President José Manuel Barroso as part of the relaunched Lisbon Agenda, the aim of the EIT is to strengthen the European ‘knowledge-triangle’ of research, education and technology. The European Commission first expressed a preference for the EIT as a single institution. After a consultation of a wide range of stakeholders it proposed (pdf) a decentralised network structure in October 2006.

This EIT is organised around six Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). These KIC’s should be seen as joint-ventures of partner organisations representing universities, research organisations and businesses which are intended to form an integrated partnership in response to calls for proposals from the EIT.

Tindemans and Soete find that the decentralized EIT that has been proposed by the Commission is found to be not feasible. It is too dispersed; it would not increase significantly the research output in a field; it cannot match a top tier university in providing an environment for training graduates; and a dispersed institute cannot adequately organize technology transfer. Instead of the decentralised model, they propose a clustered model. One of the major implications seems to be that there will be multiple EITs and that they will be more geared towards the regional context.

While they acknowledge that the underlying rationale for setting up the EIT is critical, they caution against making blanket assumptions about Europe’s inability to convert knowledge into commerce, to organize critical mass, or to reward entrepreneurship and excellence in research and education. The study team cites evidence from the latest European Commission Innovation Scoreboard, which found that several of the smaller European countries and Germany perform significantly better than, or as well as the US and Japan (see below). Not all EU countries, regions and institutions have problems with converting knowledge into commerce and critical mass, rewarding entrepreneurship and excellence in research and education. The authors warn that ignoring this fact might result in assuming too easily that a European level institutional solution is necessary in cases where national or regional approaches might be more appropriate.

(click to enlarge)

The report proposes an alternative that does support existing local strongholds in research, education and innovation. This so-called Cluster EIT would see ambitious and successful regions and universities compete to create strong institutes of several hundred staff at or linked to a strong university, and working closely with industry on problems that determine long-term industrial development. In the case of the US such institutes too are concentrated around elite institutions such as Massachusetts, Stanford, Austin and San Diego.

Another interesting point made by Soete:

“Nobody in the US would think of establishing an AIT (American Institute of Technology) so if we think of creating a European Institute of Technology it should recognize the present strongholds in research, in graduate training and in innovation. Otherwise, it will represent little more than what the French call ‘un saupoudrage’ of undoubtedly substantial additional research monies but which spread over such a wide number of research centres will barely make an impact.”

In their report (pdf) they further explain their recommendation for a ‘cluster EIT’ and also provide the financial aspects of this organisational form (see also the news item from Euractive). I only had a quick look at the report but at first glance I think they make some good points. It seems that the role of the Commission would become more distant in this proposal, while the regions would become more involved in the development of the EITs. I wonder how the Commission will react to these suggestions. A public hearing on the EIT takes place in the European Parliament on 8 May this year.

Nano Technology Factory

Posted by Eric on April 15th, 2007

Watching videos like this make me regret choosing a social science instead of natural sciences or engineering…

The Ivy League Liga: Round 2

Posted by Eric on January 18th, 2007
2006 has been somewhat of a revolutionary year for German higher education. The system where all universities were considered of equal quality and therefore were subjected to equal treatment by the government, experienced quite a stir.

German Minister of Research and Education Annette Schavan announced in October last year that the Ludwig-Maximilian University (Munchen) and the Technical University of Munchen and the University of Karlsruhe became Germany’s first ‘elite universities’. The three institutions are the biggest winners in Germany’s ‘excellence initiative’. This was established to improve the country’s chronically under-funded universities (and its decreasing reputation abroad), by encouraging high level research and competition. The three universities will receive around 120 million euros each in federal and state funds over the next five years.

This week, the finalists for the second round were announced. Being one of the winners is crucial considering that getting designated ‘elite’ will mean enjoying a piece of the 1.9 billion euros pie, made available from 2007 to 2011. This time the result seems less skewed towards technology, and less towards the southern part of Germany than the first round. The finalists include two institutes of higher education in Berlin, the Free University and the Humboldt University. The others are the RWTH Aachen and the universities of Bochum, Freiburg, Gottingen, Heidelberg and Constance.

The final decision on which of these eight will be designated ‘elite’ will be made in October.

Some interesting views from the German academic community on the excellence initiative can be heard in this radio interview (from NPR; 4:26 in english):

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Universities and Regional Development

Posted by Eric on August 22nd, 2006
Austan Goolsbee (a professor in economics at the University of Chicago) advises regions in the US to think twice about jumping the ‘Sillicon Valley Bandwagon’. In an article in the New York Times he claims that funding local universities as a strategy for regional economic development is not likely to work. The need for caution is based mainly on the mobility of graduates and researchers.

Students from local colleges, frequently move out of state when they graduate:


If Stanford can hatch world-famous companies around Palo Alto, politicians assume, their colleges can, too. But with so many trying to spin universities away from their traditional academic focus into engines of economic development, it is worth considering whether investing in local universities can achieve that goal. This strategy is based on the view that research done by professors can form the basis for local start-up companies and that the graduates of the university can supply the entrepreneurs and employees.

But advocates should remember an old maxim of economic development: Beware of investing in things that can move. As it turns out, graduates and research ideas both tend to move around a lot. Subsidizing teaching is problematic as a development strategy because graduates frequently move out of state.

And ideas and inventions – even in the form of patents – are of little use when the scientists that invented them, leave. Or in the words of Lynne Zucker and Michael Darby, when they become ‘disembodied discoveries‘:

They looked at such factors as having successful patents at universities or where highly influential science articles had originated. They found little evidence that the ideas helped local businesses any more than businesses in other areas. The one thing the study does find to be consistently associated with high-tech start-ups is the presence of star scientists – not the ideas, which can be copied, but the scientists themselves. This seems to be the one way in which a university can be used as an engine of business growth.

The importance of star scientists brings Goolsbee to the comparison with American Baseball:

Trying to make some town into the next Silicon Valley by attracting the best scientists is rather like trying to start a new baseball team and turn it into the New York Yankees. If dozens of sports-mad billionaire team owners can’t do that, how easy would it be for the economic development office at the University of Texas, Arlington?

What is worse, it is a safe bet that as these development incentives become a primary motivation for financing higher education, the competition among universities for stars will start looking much more like today’s baseball scene. Ambitious state university systems will find it easier to steal the stars of another team than to develop their own prospects. As a result, salaries will go through the roof – just as in baseball. And while everyone pays more, only a tiny number of cities will ever win the World Series. One will increasingly hear about how the costs of college are rising everywhere and that local economies have little to show for it.

The university’s role in regional development is popular issue in higher education and innovation policies around the world, especially in Europe. So will these arguments be valid for other countries as well? I think it depends a bit on how you define the region. In the narrow definition of regions this can be the case. For instance, supporting a university in northern Finland might benefit the Helsinki region in the south more than the investing region itself. So yes, the local and regional governments should think about these arguments when planning for their own Silicon Valley. However, because the funding of universities in many countries comes to a large extent from national sources (not local or regional) the creation of these high tech areas are usually elements of a larger national innovation policy (especially in smaller countries).
If we compare the US states with countries, the mobility of graduates and star scientists might present a serious problem. If star scientists and graduates move to other countries, the national investments in these graduates and in the research of the scientists will not benefit the investing country but the host country. On the other hand, I think the mobility of graduates and scientists between the US States and between the US universities is significantly higher than between other countries and their universities.
Maybe the concept of the ‘star scientists’ is even very American in itself… One thing is for sure. Luring top scientists with the salaries of baseball players won’t help a lot outside the US. The salaries of football players and a comparison with the Champions League might do a better job at that.
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