University World News Global Edition
24 November 2013 Issue 0297 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Horizon 2020 will be up and running soon, with €79 billion approved

Click ‘Horizon 2020’ on Google and more than 31 million results pop up in 0.35 seconds. Not all relate to the European Union’s vast research and innovation programme, of course, but that is the topic Keith Nuthall and other University World News writers discuss in this edition. The European Parliament last Thursday approved the budget for 2014-20, with €79 billion for Horizon 2020 – a 30% increase on the current framework programme.
Jan Petter Myklebust describes the launch of Horizon 2020 by Danish Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard, who is not the first to call for the odd billion or two from the new scheme. In Commentary, Diana Beech discusses the ethics and values which should underpin it.
In World Blog, Hans de Wit warns that budget cuts and an increasingly insular attitude could undermine the world-leading position of Dutch higher education.
Elsewhere in this edition, Mimi Leung reports from Beijing on plans to reduce marks allotted for English in the famous gaokao examination that students sit in the hope of getting into higher education.
In Q&A, Alecia D McKenzie talks to Professor William Rees about the UN climate change conference in Warsaw, which she says is set to go down in history as the moment when the wind died on climate change.
And in Features, Kalinga Seneviratne describes how Singapore is offering big money and five years of guaranteed research funding to lure top Singaporean scientists and engineers back from overseas, while Paul Rigg covers a conference in Spain that discussed the rise of English as the medium of instruction in universities across Europe.
Geoff Maslen - Acting Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Keith Nuthall

The European Parliament voted last Thursday on the final version of the union’s record research and innovation programme for 2014-20, dubbed Horizon 2020. The European Union has allocated €79 billion (US$106 billion) to spend on research and innovative projects, not just on the continent but also around the world.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Denmark is ambitiously planning to obtain more than €2 billion (US$2.7 billion) in research grants under Europe’s Horizon 2020 programme. Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard said that to be awarded the huge sum would require the involvement of 3,500 Danish teams targeting 2.5% of the total Horizon 2020 budget, up from 2.36% under the previous Framework Programme 7.
Geoff Maslen

Despite pre-election promises it would not slash spending on Australia’s universities, the new conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott has done just that – with A$900 million (US$825 million) cut from university grants over the next four years. In addition, the nation’s 820,000 university students will lose discounts they currently receive for early repayment of higher education loan debts that will cost them almost A$300 million.
Ashraf Khaled

An Egyptian court has sentenced Islamist students to prison – but the sentencing has angered fellow students and drawn mixed responses from academics. The Cairo court last week sentenced 12 students who had backed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to 17 years in prison each after convicting them of “thuggery”, vandalism and illegal possession of weapons.
Jan Petter Myklebust

A decision by the Swedish government to force foreign students to leave the country within 10 days of receiving their qualifications has been condemned. Lund University Rector Per Eriksson and a member of the European Parliament, Cecilia Wikström, said the harsh regulation was against Swedish interests while Per-Olof Rehnquist, head of administration at Gothenburg University, described the decision as “stupid and shameful for Sweden”.
Michael Gardner

Leading German opposition politician Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been cleared of plagiarism accusations raised last September. Social Democrat Steinmeier will not be stripped of his doctorate, says the University of Gießen, which has been reviewing the case.
Doracie Zoleta-Nantes

Typhoon Haiyan may have been more intense than normal but the danger was increased by an inaccurate early warning system, the failure of local government units to mobilise officials for forced evacuations to higher and safer ground, and the distraction of government at all levels by a senate hearing into corruption by officials – including the plundering of more than 10 billion Philippine pesos (US$255 million) from tax and government funds.
Wagdy Sawahel

A network of university leaders across the Middle East and North Africa was launched at the first MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum in the United Arab Emirates last week.
Mimi Leung

Bejing’s decision to reduce the proportion of marks allocated to English in the highly competitive national college entrance examination, the gaokao, appears to be extremely popular. A survey by Hong Kong-based Phoenix television collated responses from 220,000 television viewers and found that almost 83% supported the proposed new emphasis on Chinese studies and reduced emphasis on English.
Ishmael Tongai

A proposal to site the fifth node of the Pan Africa University on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has been deemed ineligible. The African Union, which is backing the initiative, said Mauritius fell into the continental body’s Eastern Africa region.
Alan Osborn

A new online service was launched last week by the European Commission and the OECD to help universities better understand their place in today’s market-oriented world by measuring how entrepreneurial they are. The initiative is a self-assessment tool enabling universities to monitor their performance in seven areas.
Sonia Motisca

Dutch universities are making increasing efforts to attract more students from India and Indonesia and the higher education sector is promoting Dutch universities in both countries. In the next 10 years, the population of the Indian middle-class is expected to reach 550 million – making it larger than Europe’s total population.
Liz Heron

Scotland’s newest university has launched an international head-hunt for a principal to spearhead the provision of higher education across the country’s most remote region.
Alecia D McKenzie

Last week’s United Nations climate change conference in Warsaw is set to go down in history as the moment when the wind died on climate change. University World News interviewed William Rees, a professor at Canada’s British Columbia University and inventor of the ‘ecological footprint concept’, about the role of universities in the debate.
Kalinga Seneviratne

Singapore is offering big money and five years of guaranteed research funding to woo back top Singaporean scientists and engineers from overseas and help the city state become a global research and development powerhouse. The Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme, launched last month by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, aims to encourage leading researchers in their field globally to take up leadership positions in Singapore.
Ahmet Ýçduygu

Global cities have emerged as strategic sites for the promotion of knowledge-based communities, advanced capital and coordinated global economic progress. Universities are fundamental actors that not only contribute to the formation and development of the global city, but also offer solutions to their problems. Universities are the key physical manifestation of the knowledge production that is so central to our global urban lives.
Bianka Siwinska

For the fifth time, at the invitation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 160 experts from almost 40 countries met in Shanghai earlier this month to talk about the ‘world-class university’ – a term that hardly existed 10 years ago but is today one of the most popular topics in higher education debates around the globe.
Paul Rigg

A recent conference in Spain drew an international audience to debate the global growth of English as a language of instruction. A diverse range of universities, from Poland and Portugal to Italy and Mexico, were represented as well as experts from the British Council, the European Commission and the field of linguistics.
Hans de Wit

Dutch higher education looks good. For a small country, The Netherlands appears to be punching well above its weight with regard to attracting international students. But recent budget cuts and an increasingly insular attitude could threaten its leading position. The statistics seem to point to a blossoming, impressive performance – but is this really the case?
Diana Beech

A high-level round table of important players in the European Research Area took place earlier this month to discuss the ethics and values that should lie at the heart of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 programme. At stake is the future of European research.
Francois Therin

Several recent higher education initiatives in Africa suggest the rest of the world is beginning to view Africa as the next frontier for internationalisation. Will it follow the same pathway – from twinning programmes to partnership programmes and branch campuses – as occurred in Asia? And will France take advantage of language to increase its numbers of international students?
Qiang Zha and Guangkuan Xie

On 9 October in the Chinese city of Hefei, nine elite Chinese universities – members of the C9 group, often acknowledged as China’s ‘Ivy League’ – signed a statement with the presidents of leading American, Australian and European universities endorsing open inquiry, scientific integrity and other academic values as the key components of a modern research university, and demonstrating an incipient effort to work closely with top universities around the world.
Jim Al-Khalili

Some of the greatest scientists in the history of the world have come from the Arab world, but recent developments and the rise of religious extremism represent a worrying threat to academic freedom. There are attempts to increase scientific expertise in the region, but these will fail if academic freedom and a spirit of inquiry are not encouraged in the general population.
William Pannapacker, The Chronicle of Higher Education

As a parent of three children who are nearing college age, there is one question that I will ask repeatedly when we tour different campuses: “What percentage of your courses is taught by tenure-line faculty members?”

A study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, sought to find out why young men are disproportionately involved in both violence and non-violent activities entailing a risk of injury or death. They developed ‘the crazy b astard hypothesis’ which says that young men are attracted to risk-taking because it reveals one’s propensity to take risks with one’s own life, a propensity that makes a man a dangerous enemy and a useful ally.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death around the world and the third leading cause of disability-adjusted life-years, which is the number of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death. In a study into the global burden of strokes, researchers found that between 1990 and 2010, the number of stroke-related deaths increased by 26%.

Researchers have spent years investigating the differences between women and men in their experience of pain and have found that women do feel more pain – and more chronic pain – than men.

An international team of scientists has found the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos – very high-energy particles coming from distant regions of our galaxy or even further in outer space. The scientists believe the discovery will lead to new ways of exploring the universe.

A team of researchers in Taiwan has found that a peptide fragment derived from cow’s milk shows potent anti-cancer capability against human stomach cancer cell cultures.
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Canadian universities are making multimillion-dollar research deals with business and private donors that raise 'alarm bells' and fail to safeguard academic freedom, according to a report released last week, write Margaret Munro and Karen Seidman for Postmedia News.

University administrators protesting against their induction into a labour mobility scheme that will see them either transferred to other services or losing their jobs, blocked entrances to the University of Athens, National Technical University of Athens, Athens Law School and Athens Medical School last Tuesday, reports

Universities try to cash in on discoveries – gene splicing, brain chemistry, computer-chip design – but the great majority of them fail to turn their research into a source of income, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution, writes Richard Pérez-Pena for The New York Times.

The week from 9-14 November was the most violent and dangerous for Egyptian universities since the 25 January Revolution, leading to dozens of injuries and arrests, according to a new report by the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, writes Aaron T Rose for Daily News Egypt.

With some students in the UK receiving as little as two hours a week of contact time, many undergraduates feel they receive poor ‘value for money’ for their tuition fees, according to a study on student perceptions by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.

More than 100 academics have condemned an attempt by the police to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University. The academics said such "highly invasive and unjustifiable" covert surveillance would deter students from joining political groups, writes Rob Evans for the Guardian.

Ben Sowter, head of intelligence at Quacquarelli Symonds, did not mince his words on Indian universities' websites, in an address to academics, educationists and faculty members of top Indian universities, writes Anumeha Chaturvedi for The Times of India.

Suddenly, entrepreneurship is ‘in’ on campuses, with activities such as MOOCs, business plan competitions and incubators. This trend seems to be not only in business schools but also across the university. Is this good or are universities biting off more than they can chew? asks Dileep Rao for Forbes.

In what is being called a landmark moment for Europe’s Jewry, the continent’s first university-level school of Jewish theology was set to open last week at the University of Potsdam, just outside Berlin, writes Raphael Ahren for The Times of Israel.

Universities must keep pace with technology and the ability it offers students to cheat, an expert said after a student cheating scandal involving iPads, writes Jordanna Schriever for The Advertiser.

In 1980, it cost RM12,999 (US$4,050) to get a degree from a local private college or university in Malaysia. That price tag has gone up, reaching about RM50,000 today. Private higher education might be getting too expensive, write Tan Choe Choe, Arman Ahmad and Suzanna Pillay in New Straits Times.

Two influential vice-chancellors have renewed their push for “flexibility” in university fees to boost funding for cash-strapped higher education institutions, writes Tim Dodd for Financial Review.

Pearson will spend the next five years developing a framework to measure and publicly report its products’ efficacy and impact on learning outcomes, the education giant announced, writes Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed. Although its road map is incomplete, Pearson says its push for efficacy will in a few years permeate every way in which the company does business.

A research team from the Ly Tu Trong Technique Junior College in Ho Chi Minh conducted a survey of the qualifications of university and junior college graduates by consulting automobile maintenance companies in the city. What the research team found in the survey may hurt institutions’ pride, reports VietNamNet Bridge.
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