The end of the university? Not likely

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…Read more …

European Innovation Scoreboard

Recently, 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.

The Principle of Open Access

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…Read more …

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Go!

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…Read more …

Intellectual Property Infringement?

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…Read more …

Machines I want

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. So how does Philip M Parker (professor of innovation, business and society at Insead in France) do all that? When he turns to a…Read more …

De-mystify Public Policy for Higher Education

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…Read more …

Crack addict: University Inc.

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.…Read more …

Open access to research

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…Read more …

Science 2.0

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…Read more …

Yet Another EIT (or EITs)?

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…Read more …

The Ivy League Liga: Round 2

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…Read more …

Universities and Regional Development

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…Read more …