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14 December 2014 Issue 0347 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
RHEDI – New research leadership skills needed as funding changes

Yojana Sharma reports on a recent leadership training programme held in Malaysia of Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – a global initiative that aims to strengthen research, policy and practice in these key sectors in developing countries.
In Commentary, Betty Leask stresses that internationalisation of the curriculum should focus on all students’ learning and not just on patchy inputs. Turner Isoun describes a project to show how academics in the developing world can feed into policy.
Pam Lowe wonders whether hard questions that make students uncomfortable will survive in an era of student satisfaction. Mark Ashwill charts growing pressure on international student recruitment agents in Vietnam to adopt a more ethical approach.
In Features, Munyaradzi Makoni reports on how the mega-research project the Square Kilometre Array is boosting astronomy and research skills across Africa.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Nic Mitchell

Homegrown postgraduate students at English universities are to get a helping hand from the government in the form of an income-contingent loan of up to £10,000 (US$15,700) from 2016-17. The new loan package announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his eagerly awaited Autumn Statement was generally welcomed across English higher education.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Finland’s coalition government has failed to reach agreement on a proposal to parliament to introduce tuition fees for students from outside the European Economic Area, for courses taught in English. The issue pitted students who oppose the fees against universities that support them, and media described ditching of the proposal as a ‘government u-turn’.
Wachira Kigotho

Vietnam has made significant progress in socio-economic development. But the once vibrant economy is at a crossroads and needs a “robust” innovation system to avoid being locked into low value-added activities that will limit its capacity to catch up with other East Asian economies, according to an OECD study requested by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Universities have been enthusiastic but academics appear unconvinced about the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, a CAD1.5 billion (US$1.3 billion) initiative over 10 years that was announced in the budget earlier this year and launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on 4 December.
Tunde Fatunde

Education fairs held annually in Nigerian cities are attracting attention for potentially harbouring fraudsters. The fairs, aimed at students seeking admission to universities abroad, have mushroomed in response to the exodus of Nigerian students seeking quality education in other countries. According to the British Council, in the UK alone there are nearly 18,000 Nigerian students.
Jane Marshall

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie has launched two higher education initiatives aimed at French-speaking African and other developing countries. They are to introduce massive open online courses – MOOCs – in partnership with the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and to establish an ‘equality for women’ network to counter gender discrimination in universities. The agency has also extended to Senegal a distance teacher-training venture to improve the skills of schoolteachers of, and in, French.
Maina Waruru and Gilbert Nganga

Kenya has extended an extra US$2.7 million to the Pan African University for the construction of facilities at its campus near Nairobi – the Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation, or PAUSTI – one of five regional ‘nodes’ being developed across the continent. Last month the campus graduated its first ever masters students.
Mohamed Ag Ahmedou

Niger is seeking to enhance higher education by opening four new universities, each spec ialising in an area key to development. The West African country’s universities continue to face challenges, but experts hail the development as a boost to the education system.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology last week announced the winners of its 2014 calls for two new KICs – Knowledge and Innovation Communities – in health and raw materials. There were five bids for the health and two for the raw materials KIC.
Munyaradzi Makoni

The advanced technological skills required to run the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA – a mega-research project due to become fully operational in 2020 in South Africa and eight other African countries – are scarce in Africa. But efforts to rectify that are gathering momentum.
Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Two grand juries’ decisions not to indict white police officers who killed unarmed black men have galvanised students around America, creating important teaching moments for law students on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and calls by anthropologists and sociologists for non-violent social action.
The Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation initiative – RHEDI – held its second Executive Leadership Programme in Malaysia from 17-21 November. The global initiative aims to strengthen research, policy and practice in these crucial sectors in the developing world.
Yojana Sharma

The way research is organised and carried out in universities is changing in many countries. Increasingly, funding agencies prefer to back multidisciplinary and applied research, while national priorities often require research to benefit the wider community, whether it is industry, economic growth or regional development.
Yojana Sharma

Live simulations borrowed from the worlds of management and diplomat education are being used to train multinational, multidisciplinary groups of higher education and research leaders, who are facing – or may have to face – major changes in the way research is organised in their institutions.
Sharon Dell and Yojana Sharma

An increasing global emphasis on innovation in universities calls for greater cooperation between higher education institutions and industry, partners with different missions and cultures. How is this best achieved in practice? The recent RHEDI – Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – meeting held in Malaysia provided an opportunity for research leaders and managers to compare approaches.
Yojana Sharma

Universities in Uganda are working to improve the quality of research but also to turn researchers into innovators, so that university research can serve the country’s economy. It requires changing the mindset of researchers and institutional support, a meeting of the Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – initiative heard.
Yojana Sharma

Asian economies have surged ahead and demand for higher education from a rapidly growing middle-class has fuelled expansion. But the region’s universities and research need to upgrade to keep up with economic changes that include the global shift of industries, research and development to Asia, a regional symposium of research management experts heard.
William Patrick Leonard

Higher education institutions in the United States need to align their spending with a realistic assessment of the revenue they will get and take courageous decisions on where cuts – if necessary – should be made.
Betty Leask

Internationalisation of the university curriculum should be focused on all students’ learning rather than just on inputs such as optional international modules.
Turner Isoun

An initiative to show how academics in the developing world can feed into policy has shown the value of scientific evidence in contributing to good governance.
Pam Lowe

Can making students uncomfortable for the sake of learning survive in an era of student satisfaction?
Mark Ashwill

Recruitment agents in Vietnam have a bad reputation for unethical practice, but pressure is increasing for a more ethical approach.
Geoff Maslen

Government representatives from 196 countries attended the 20th “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” held in the Peruvian capital of Lima last week, where the most controversial issue was over who would meet the costs of mitigating and adapting to a warming Earth.
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Vice-chancellors could be found in contempt of court if they refuse to implement ministerial directions to tackle extremists on campus, Britain’s security minister has warned. James Brokenshire also said lecturers were expected to report students if they had concerns about them being drawn into extremism or terrorism, writes Alan Travis for the Guardian.

Chile’s Minister of the Interior Rodrigo Peñailillo announced earlier this month that university education would be free by 2016, reports Telesur.

Imagine the chagrin of French universities whenever international rankings are published. The top places are invariably filled with United States and United Kingdom academic powerhouses. And coming up fast are ambitious Asian universities. French universities are conspicuous by their absence. That could all change from next year, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.

It is 2043 and this burgeoning city of 100,000 is a high-tech Mecca. Ecuador – once known for its crude and bananas – is now the Silicon Valley of the tropics, the Singapore of the Andes. That’s the vision authorities see in the swirling dust kicked up by dozens of bulldozers and more than 2,000 construction workers at a remote site almost two hours from the capital, writes Jim Wyss for Miami Herald.

A steady stream of neighbours, friends and classmates stepped into the half-light of Ezequiel Mora's two-room adobe home last Sunday to offer their condolences for the death of his son Alexander, the first of 43 missing college students to be confirmed dead, write Christopher Sherman and E Eduardo Castillo for Associated Press.

The opposition in Australia is calling for the government to axe its controversial advertising campaign, which was launched across television, radio and print media last week to promote proposed changes to higher education, writes Stephanie Anderson for SBS.

Taking note of a regulation issued by Bharathiar University in Coimbatore recently with alleged overtones of racism, the University Grants Commission has asked all universities and institutes across India to delete from their regulations clauses that imply racial or other discrimination, reports PTI.

Cambridge University has come top of an international league table ranking institutions on the employability of their graduates, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.

As journalism experts debate what went wrong in the reporting and publishing in Rolling Stone of "A r ape on campus", advocates who have been pushing colleges to do more on s exual assault are considering the ramifications of having an article that bolstered the arguments turn out to be seriously flawed, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.

Out of 3,465 scholarship slots offered by the federal government to foreign students to pursue higher education in India, 1,361 (39%) remained unused in 2013-14, states the annual report of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, writes Kanchan Srivastava for DNA.

South Africa has once again failed to meet its ambitious research and development targets, with the percentage of gross domestic product spend on R&D stagnating at 0.76%. This puts the total R&D spend for 2012-13 at about R24 billion (US$2 billion), writes Sarah Wild for Mail & Guardian.
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