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 …

Reith Lectures 2007

Today the BBC starts another episode in their Reith Lecture Series. The BBC has broadcasted the series since 1948. The Reith lecture series were initiated by Sir John Reith, the first director general of the BBC. He maintained that broadcasting should be a public service which enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. In its long history the series have covered a wide range of topics in the sciences and social sciences. The first Reith lecturer was philosopher Bertrand Russel, speaking about the Authority and the Individual. In economics and the…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 …

The world according to maps

The Spatial and Social Inequalities Research Group of the Geography Department at the University of Sheffield have created an interesting website. Worldmapper: the world as you've never seen it before. It is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.I played around a bit, creating maps reflecting the participation in higher education, the amount higher education spending and the scientific research in terms of the number of scientific articles. Unsurprisingly, this creates maps where the US, Europe and East Asia is dominating. However,…Read more …

Publishing & Open Access

Two related issues on the US academic publishing business were widely reported upon in the media in the last 2 weeks. The first was the National Institutes of Health policy on public access to research findings. The second, the proposal of a bill by Republican Senator Cornyn (Texas) and Democratic Senator Lieberman (Connecticut) requiring public access to federally funded research.On February 3, 2005, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research. Although the NIH strongly encourages that a manuscript be made…Read more …

All in 1 week

In the past week, three remarkable men have passed away. The best writer of all times, one of the most innovative artists of all times and one of the most influential economists of all times.Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) passed away last Sunday (30 April).For me, his numerous books, short stories and essays are the most remarkable works I have ever read. Both his use of language and his choice of topics make that his books and stories portray a lively picture of Indonesian societies and cultures. Toer brought history to live, from the…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 …

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 …

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 …

Globalisation: 99 Definitions & Perspectives

While I was looking for a file in my computer I stumbled upon an old document. It's a file with a list of different perspectives and definitions of globalisation that I assembled for my doctoral research some years ago. I thought it might be of useful for students and scholars that are trying to grasp the possible meanings of the term. It is a list of 99 (give or take a few) views from different disciplines and different sectors. Most are from academics, ranging from anthropologists to economists and from philosophers to business…Read more …

Science Dollars, Shekels, Rand and Reals

A newsfeed from the Science and Development Network brought me to this article on science spending. The article is based on the UNESCO Science Report 2005. We have heard a lot of talk about how Asia is catching up with Europe in terms of spending on R&D and Science. In the case of science spending, Asia has already overtaken Europe, mainly due to China's increase in spending on science.It says that from 1997 to 2002, Asian funding from public and private sources rose by four per cent, enabling Asia to account for 32…Read more …

One ERC…or 25?

Now that I have returned from my visit last month to CHEPS in the Netherlands and the University of Aveiro in Portugal, I’ll try to post more regularly again. That said…let’s start with a short item in last weeks Economist:“Historically, the European Union has not bothered with funding much basic scientific research. Such activities have mainly remained the preserve of national governments, not least because giving scientists free rein can lead to discoveries that not only make money but ultimately enhance military might. That attitude is now changing. The European Commission proposes to…Read more …