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 …

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 …

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. 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…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 …

EIT and Policy Research

A few weeks ago, I discussed a study of Luc Soete and Peter Tindemans on the feasibility of the European Institute of Technology. On the basis of a comprehensive analysis, they concluded that the decentralized EIT that has been proposed by the Commission was 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. As an alternative, they suggested a clustered model for…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 …

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 …

Outsourcing Homework

The Washington Post reports on another industry that is feeling the effects of outsourcing: education, and tutoring in particular. In the US, there are millions of dollars available under the No Child Left Behind Act to firms that provide remedial tutoring. And where there's money, there's people that want to make more money. And where people want to make more money, they need to lower the costs (click picture for enlargement):When Studyloft.com, a Chicago-based tutoring company with more than 6,000 clients, advertised in Bangalore for tutors with master's degrees, more than 500 people…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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …