Without proper funding from their governments, university-based researchers and scientists cannot undertake meaningful research. And without research, a country cannot make substantial economic and industrial progress, a conference in Nigeria was told last week.
Austria and Belgium have been granted an extra five years to satisfy the European Commission that they are not practising unjustified restrictions in admissions to their universities.
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a special new programme to boost higher education institutions in East Germany. The east-west divide has long been a source of anger to educationists in the East.
Russian universities have been promised a research bounty following the crushing victory for President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party in last week's parliamentary elections. The landslide – which gave United Russia a clear two-thirds majority in the state Duma – should guarantee that pre-election promises Putin gave to double funding for science and research are kept.
The creation of a European digital library has begun at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where a group of doctoral students is using a dome scanner to produce digital images that can be used remotely by researchers. Leuven University, a leader in IT technology in the Benelux countries, is at the forefront of the development of 3D digitisation.
French students have been returning to their studies following weeks of protest that closed up to 40 universities. Normality resumed following negotiations with the Higher Education Minister – and a conveniently timed promise from President Nicolas Sarkozy of an extra €5 billion (US$7.38 billion) to upgrade campuses.
The 2008 research assessment exercise in Britain's universities will be the last of its kind. The RAE, whose results determine how much funding a university gets for its research budget, will be replaced by the REF – Research Excellence Framework – to be introduced gradually between 2010 and 2014.
Plans to introduce a national research quality assessment scheme for Australian universities have been abandoned following the election of a Labor government last week. The cost, however, will be high as tens of millions of dollars have already been spent by the government and universities preparing for the introduction of the controversial scheme next year.
A performance based research fund stirred talk of civil disobedience and refusal to cooperate when it was raised at the annual conference of New Zealand's main university staff union last week.
As the year draws to a close, Russian universities are bracing themselves for the results of the latest round of higher education inspections. Some face a loss of their teaching licences if they are not up to scratch.
The French government has created new national agencies for research assessment and funding, in line with reforms passed last year that aim to revitalise French research, adapt it to fit European requirements and make it internationally competitive.
Emerging superpowers China and India have long been wary of each other. Now universities in the two countries are taking the first steps towards closer cooperation, reflecting a wider Chinese policy of engaging with regional neighbours.
Malaysia's Ministry of Higher Education has issued warnings to university students who may be arrested in demonstrations within the country that they will automatically lose their national student status and be dismissed.
Singapore's ambitions to become a leading biotechnology research centre have been boosted with the expansion of its state-of-the-art Biopolis project.
To achieve a target of one in five young people in higher education, South Africa is to expand its university system and attract an extra 100,000 students. The plan is to increase student numbers from the current 740,000 and to achieve a 20% participation rate by 2015.
Bologna and postdoctoral research were on the agenda when a delegation from the European University Association visited Australia this month to discuss closer cooperation.
A launch budget of €308 million (US$454) for the planned European Institute of Innovation and Technology has been formally approved, triggering preparations for launching this sometimes controversial institution next year.
State support for students in Germany is to rise by 10% next year, and more students will be entitled to grants because the government is raising the parent income threshold. But the measure has met with a ‘too little, too late’ response among opposition politicians and the German Student Welfare Service.
The world’s least developed countries are losing significant numbers of their few skilled professionals, according to a United Nations report. Some of the poorest nations on earth, including Haiti, Samoa, Gambia and Somalia, are among those to have lost more than half of their university educated professionals while in Bangladesh, 65% of newly graduated doctors seek jobs abroad.
Since time immemorial Greece has been a net exporter of culture and talent. The country is small, the population restless. Naturally clever and inventive, when unable to realise their dreams in the restricted space of the country's boundaries they did not hesitate to seek wider horizons for their talents – not only in Europe but worldwide.
British universities overall gain more academics and researchers than they lose to foreign institutions, says Universities UK, the body representing the majority of higher education institutions in the country. But the picture is different at the elite level.
The brain drain from Africa is continuing apace, according to a new study, and 10 of the continent’s 53 countries have lost more than 40% of their tertiary educated labour force. Now African governments are getting serious about tackling the problem – and using the rich skills of the diaspora to promote African development.
Isolated at the bottom of the world with a population of just 4.2 million people, New Zealand has long worried about the loss of its best and brightest to bigger countries with bigger opportunities.
A Canadian brain drain seems to be a bygone issue after the government invested heavily to help staunch the flow of academics southward. Just last decade one leader declared that Canada had "become a training ground of great researchers for the US and other countries". Now the nation is repatriating lost academics and attracting new stars.
Far from losing its brightest minds to better-paying places on the other side of the globe, Australia is attracting a greater number of skilled people than leave the country, especially those with PhDs.