23 May 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Lead Story
Major research trends – Open, clustered, international
Karen MacGregor
“The last five years have seen a sea change in how research is done,” said Professor John Wood, secretary general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Major trends include clustering, international engagement and a move towards ‘open science’.
Special Report
"Research and Innovation for Global Challenges" was the theme of a major international conference hosted by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association in Johannesburg last week and attended by nearly 500 people from 44 countries. University World News was there and brings you this first of two special reports on the event.
Key role for science academies in tackling poverty
Karen MacGregor
Africa’s around 20 science academies have a crucial and collaborative role to play in tackling problems and driving development, according to Academy of Science of South Africa President Daya Reddy. But efforts to grow science are constrained by brain drain – at least one third of African researchers are plying their trade outside the continent.
New Commonwealth universities research community
Karen MacGregor
The Association of Commonwealth Universities last week launched a Research, Knowledge and Information Community aimed at connecting university staff across the Commonwealth to share experiences and explore ideas and potential collaboration. It is the second of three communities – the others focus on community engagement and international education.
Facing an ageing professors research productivity cliff
Karen MacGregor
South African research is on the rise but is “edging towards a demographic cliff”, warned Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor last week. While in 1994 – the year of democracy – one in 10 credited academic papers were by over 50-year-olds, today that age group produces half of all papers.
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World Blog
An alternative path to creating a global brand
William Patrick Leonard
It is not for all institutions and it is unquestionably expensive. But confident teaching-learning institutions, with a cadre of gifted instructors rather than researchers, can pursue international accreditation for at least one of their strong programmes, which by association will showcase their entire institution on a global scale.
AHELO: the myth of measurement and comparability
Philip G Altbach
AHELO was set up to compare learning outcomes in different fields in different countries. A pilot was deemed a failure and now there are plans to extend it, despite major questions about its basic methodology, its orientation and the assessment instruments to be used.
What’s behind the Russian higher education cuts?
Dmitry Semyonov
The Russian government has announced big cuts in the number of its higher education institutions in order to improve quality, but it lacks a clear vision of how the different parts of the sector work.
Jobs market faces a tsunami of university graduates
Nader Habibi
Turkey needs to plan ahead for the impact of the rapid increase in student numbers to ensure oversupply of graduates does not result in a high unemployment rate and social instability.
UK and Mexico get closer
John Bramwell
A collaboration between the two countries seeks connections in research, innovation and technology transfer as well as increased student exchange.
World Round-up
Professors call for end to interference in universities
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Pact to form higher education association
The Economic Times
University cash to pay for national research facilities
Universities offer anti-terror studies after attacks
University postpones army visit amid student protest
Radio Free Asia
Pact to facilitate Large Hadron Collider collaboration
The New York Times
Universities’ plan for boost in world rankings
Radio New Zealand
Ministry set to resume university assessments
The Cambodia Daily
University pulls plug on climate sceptic’s centre
Social media campaign to raise profile of research
The Globe and Mail
For-profit sector makes substantial cuts
Inside Higher Ed
Edinburgh students protest over fossil fuels decision
Edinburgh Evening News
University courses help women re-enter job market
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Business calls for higher education quality boost
University language courses now easier to get on
Breaking News
Higher education policy lacks direction, say academics
Alya Mishra
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014, many academics were hopeful about the future of India’s higher education system after years of seeing the quality of university education undermined by political and bureaucratic interference. One year on, there is disappointment over continued meddling and the lack of a clear higher education direction.
Authorities raid firm over fake degree claims
Ameen Amjad Khan
Following an investigation by The New York Times into an alleged global fake degrees business, Pakistan law enforcement agencies have raided the offices of Karachi-based IT company Axact and have also begun probing the company’s accounts. Records, computers and electronic devices were seized for forensic investigation. Axact denied the allegations.
Devastated university takes self-help route to reconstruction
Binod Ghimire
In the wake of the 25 April earthquake and huge aftershocks that jolted the country, Nepal’s largest public university has set up a fund – and staff are donating a proportion of their own salaries – to help with reconstruction. Students and alumni are helping to clear rubble, salvage materials and perform other tasks.
Bologna progress report says ‘much more to be done’
Brendan O’Malley
Much more needs to be done to harmonise Europe’s higher education system, according to a new report into the state of implementation of the Bologna Process across the European Higher Education Area. There has been progress on quality assurance and the credit transfer system, but in other spheres, including inequity of access, the record of progress is patchy.
Income from non-EU foreign students dwarfs costs – Study
Brendan O’Malley
International students in London are contributing £2.8 billion (US$4.3 billion) a year to the UK economy through fees and spending that they, their friends and families bring to the UK. Although they do consume public services, this is dwarfed by their contribution to the economy.
Universities denied access to West's science journals
Eugene Vorotnikov
Science departments in Russia’s universities are facing a crisis of information following the decision last week of a Western publisher to lock them out of access to thousands of unique scientific journals and magazines because the government can no longer afford to foot the bill.
New global survey picks fastest-improving universities
David Jobbins
Four US and two UK universities are among the most improved in the world over the past five years in an analysis of Thomson Reuters academic reputation surveys, with King’s College London and New York University the most significant climbers.
Universities brace for 50% government cuts to salaries
Ceaser Mhukahuru
State-owned universities in Zimbabwe have started gearing up for commercialisation of their activities after the cash-strapped government warned that it could cut its salary obligations to state higher education institutions by 50% in the near future.
Scholars welcome global challenge to revisionism
Suvendrini Kakuchi
Japanese academics worried about the country’s growing revisionist mood have welcomed an open letter by an international group of scholars to conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for an end to nationalistic interpretation of the sexual slavery practised by the Imperial Army in World War II.
Bills to ‘privatise’ four major universities passed
Suluck Lamubol
Thailand’s military-dominated National Legislative Assembly has passed bills granting four major public universities increased autonomy, which opponents regard as a step towards privatisation. Students criticised the move arguing that it lacked proper scrutiny.
Earthquake aftershocks extend university closures
Binod Ghimire
Nepal’s academic calendar from the school to university level has been thrown into uncertainty by the devastating earthquake and the strong aftershocks that have shaken the Himalayan nation over the past three weeks. The crippling damage to the sector could have long-term effects on students’ career plans.
Inequity persists in top universities, says report
Jan Petter Myklebust
There is a significant correlation between the quality of higher education undertaken and the income of graduates ten years after graduating, a new report says. But access to the top universities is still heavily weighted in favour of students from families with a higher level of education.
Universities act to stem sharp drop in entrants
John Gerritsen
New Zealand’s universities are urging high-school students and their parents to make sure they understand exam requirements following a 17% fall in the number passing the entrance exam in 2014 compared to the year before.
Universities ordered to stop non-degree courses
Maina Waruru
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has directed universities to cease teaching diploma and certificate courses and other non-degree courses by July. But universities could lose large amounts of fee income as a result.
Campaign calls on states to end military use of universities
Brendan O'Malley
A global coalition of UN agencies and international NGOs has called on governments to bring an end to the military use of universities and schools in war – because it puts the lives of students and staff at risk and causes long-term harm to education.
Rectors oppose luring students with income data
Jan Petter Myklebust
University leaders and student unions have criticised the government for publishing graduate salary levels in its new online universities guide, arguing that it could misinform applicants and push them to base their choices on “where the money is”.
Scandals put teaching of economics in the dock
Maria Elena Hurtado
The spate of financial scandals that are rocking Chile – including the jailing of three former ‘star students’ of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile’s economics and administration faculty – has stirred a wholesome debate in the country on the importance of ethics in the teaching of economics.

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