ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0096 11 October 2009
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Manuel Castells, sociologist of the information society, and author of the recently published Communication Power. Read our Special Report.

It may seem a long way from the ornate academic halls of Queen’s University, Belfast, to the modern problem of cyber-crime, but this higher education institution has launched a research centre to develop expertise on Internet security. See this week’s Business section.

The intellectual property debate: The High Court of Australia decides between the university and the professor. Read both our News Story and Feature.


University World News was the official media partner to the Unesco World Conference on higher education, held in Paris from 5-8 July.


The Africa Edition of University World News is being held over for a week, to make way for our Special Report on famous social scientist Manuel Castells.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: US dominance in rankings erodes
John Gerritsen*
Harvard University has maintained its number one placing in the annual Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings but British institutions dominated the peak group in this year’s league table. Cambridge University leapfrogged Yale University to take second place and British institutions were placed fourth (University College London) and fifth equal (Imperial College London and Oxford University), meaning the UK accounts for four of the top six institutions in the world. Last year only Cambridge and Oxford were in the top five, with Imperial College sixth.
Full report on the University World News site
Also see US: New rankings – US decline or a flawed measure? in this weeks's Round-Up section

GREECE: A triumph, a defeat – and another scandal
Makki Marseilles
An unexpected landslide victory to the Greek soc ialist party in last week’s elections has raised high expectations among the academic community, especially as new Prime Minister George Papandreou was Education Minister on two previous occasions. Although in Opposition Papandreou was in favour of reforming article 16 of the Constitution, which would allow establishment of private universities in direct contradiction to his own party’s policy and the majority of the academic community, he also declared his unequivocal support for strong and well-financed state higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

VIETNAM: US$50 million World Bank loan
Dale Down
The World Bank has approved a US$50 million loan for its higher education development policy programme in Vietnam, the first time the bank has injected money into the sector. Rather than allocating the money to what would normally be the most needy areas, such as construction of schools, teacher training and curriculum development, the bank decided to place the money with the government because of its efforts to boost higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Who owns IP, university or researcher?
Neil Brown*
The question whether a university or its academics own the intellectual property in inventions has been the subject of many disputes and judicial decisions around the world. Having lost two court cases over an intellectual property claim to an invention by one of its medical professors, the University of Western Australia has appealed to the High Court. In our Feature section this week, Melbourne QC Neil Brown discusses the way an academic's contract of employment can be crucial in such cases.

AUSTRALIA-US: Alarm lessens over foreign invaders
Geoff Maslen
Alarm bells sounded in Australian university marketing departments four years ago when they learned that one of America’s largest for-profit education organisations was planning a dramatic expansion of its overseas operations by linking up with universities across Asia, Europe and Australia. Now Kaplan is planning to set up its first international university campus in Adelaide.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Leaders emphasise global connections
David Jobbins
European university leaders fear the Bologna process is being seen as a mechanism to make Europe “too Europe-centred”. At the European University Association’s autumn conference in Giessen last week, the leaders were anxious that Europe be viewed by the rest of the global academic community as outward looking and ready to engage with those beyond its shores.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Call to scrap Erasmus
Jan Petter Myklebust
Franck Biancheri, President of the trans-European political movement Newropeans, has proposed scrapping the EU Commission’s Erasmus student exchange programme, claiming it is outdated. His voice could carry some weight as he actively participated in its establishment.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: Changing academic profession
Ian Dobson*
The Changing Academic Profession survey is an ambitious study of the attitudes of academic staff in more than 20 countries. The largest and most extensive survey of academics yet undertaken, it sought to assess the characteristics of academic staff and their work. Speakers from 10 countries presented country-specific and comparative findings at the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management international conference held in Melbourne. Dr Timo Aarrevaara of the University of Helsinki presented findings from the Finnish survey.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Institute makes changes – after criticism
Alan Osborn
The official inauguration of the new European Research Council Executive Agency last month marks a new step in the ERC’s bid to shake off the managerial problems that have blighted the first years of its existence.
Full report on the University World News site



SPECIAL REPORT: Manuel Castells

Manuel Castells is one of the world's five most cited social scientists. He has published 23 books, co-authored 21 and had 11 books written about his work. He has been an adviser to the presidents of 11 countries, is a professor of sociology at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, and an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for 24 years. He is also a professor of communication at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, a distinguished professor of technology and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a visiting professor of internet studies at Oxford.

Castells was recently in South Africa as a visiting fellow and guest of the Cape Higher Education Consortium, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study and the Centre for Higher Education Transformation. He was interviewed about his latest book, Communication Power, recently published by Oxford University Press, and delivered lectures on capitalism, higher education and development that are reported in this special report.

PROFILE: Theorist of power
John Higgins*
Born in 1942 into the repressive society that was Franco’s Spain, Manuel Castells – the leader of a radical student movement in Barcelona – had to flee the country at the age of 20 and completed his studies in the heady atmosphere of New Wave Paris. Come May 1968, when students joined workers in an attempt to bring down the government, Castells was at the barricades. Come 2009, he is one of the world’s leading social theorists, consulted by governments for his understanding of global trends in communication and economy, and dividing his time between academic appointments in Los Angeles, Barcelona and Oxford. His latest book, Communication Power, has just been published.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: The global crisis of capitalism
Karen MacGregor
The global crisis of capitalism, fully revealed in 2008, has been brewing for some time and is a structural crisis of ‘informational capitalism’ because it affects the heart of the system – the global and all interdependent financial markets. It will not bring down capitalism, according to renowned scholar Manuel Castells, “but is going to change it fundamentally”.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Revolutionising higher education
Universities need to transform in various ways if they are to respond effectively to the socio-economic and technological demands of today’s world, according to internationally respected scholar Manuel Castells. But despite the many challenges and opportunities facing universities, many “continue to be corporatist and bureaucratic”, rigid in their functioning and primarily concerned with defending their own and professors’ interests.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Higher education and development
Karen MacGregor
Several countries have linked higher education to economic development with great success, including Finland and South Korea. Africa, where an upcoming study of university systems across eight countries has unearthed contradictory notions of the role of the university, could draw on international best practice to encourage more flexible, differentiated, networked and development-focused higher education systems better placed to support economic growth.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Strengthening PhDs in social sciences
Trish Gibbon*
Can the social sciences meet what appears to be an increasing demand for PhD graduates? Is existing supervisory capacity sufficient? Is quality being compromised? Where does the demand originate and where do the graduates go? These are some of the questions raised in a seminar with Manuel Castells on strengthening doctoral scholarship in the social sciences in South Africa.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: OECD World Forum in Busan
Assessing the progress and failings of our societies requires a far broader set of measures than just economic indicators. This is why international experts in fields as diverse as the environment, development, business and social affairs will be meeting in Busan, South Korea from 27-30 October to discuss and develop the statistics needed in a range of areas affecting quality of life.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Higher education and research a priority
Jane Marshall
Higher education and research remain next year’s chief priority in the French budget, totalling just over €29 billion (US$42.5 billion), an increase of 5.3% on 2009. The high allocation is in keeping with President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election promise to increase the sector’s funding by €1.8 billion annually over five years until 2012, in an effort to make France succeed in the “worldwide battle for intelligence”.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Rise in research appeal
Corina Ulshöfer
More than 360 US students are taking advantage of the summer holidays to do research internships in Germany, funded via Rise, the Research Internships in Science and Engineering Programme coordinated by the German academic Exchange Service, DAAD.
Full report on the University World News website

FRANCE-AUSTRALIA: New study and internship options
An agreement signed between French and Australian universities in Canberra last Wednesday will provide mutual recognition of each country’s education qualifications and periods of prior study.
Full report on the University World News website

GLOBAL: Exceptional community outreach programmes
The MacJannet Foundation and the Talloires Network have called for nominations for the second annual MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. The prize recognizes exceptional university-based programmes around the world that demonstrate active citizenship and student leadership.
Full report on the University World News website


EUROPE: Tax incentives help but changes needed
Alan Osborn
An international conference of European vocational training and taxation experts in Brussels has found considerable scope for tax incentives to cover a greater share of investment in education and training than they do today. But this will only work if the incentives are used in a mix with other measures such as grant and loan schemes, subsidies, learning accounts and training funds.
Full report on the University World News website

UK: New cyber-security centre to fight online crime
Leah Germain
The role of universities in the fight against cyber-crime – a key problem for businesses worldwide – has been illustrated by the opening last week by Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland of a centre for secure information technologies. The £30 million (US$48 million) state of the art research institute is, claims Queen’s, to be the UK’s principal centre for the advancement of technology designed to counter cyber-attacks.
Full report on the University World News website

CANADA: Student journal republished – 40 years on
Leah Germain
Two medical students at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver have resurrected the UBC Medical Journal, a periodical that had been not been published since 1968. After a four decade long hibernation, the first edition of the new UBC MJ – which was published in September in print and online, carries original research, reviews on medical trends, clinical reports and commentaries on the principles and practices of medicine.
Full report on the University World News website


GLOBAL: Who owns IP, university or researcher?
Neil Brown*
The question whether a university or its employees own the intellectual property in inventions is not a new one. It has been around for a long time, has been the subject of many disputes and judicial decisions, and with the increasing commerc ialisation of universities, the involvement of several institutions in one project and the hunger for research funds and venture capital, it is not going to become any easier.
Full report on the University World News website


AUSTRALIA: Re-moralising the university
Steven Schwartz
The central ethical premise of universities has changed fundamentally. The discovery and dissemination of knowledge has been replaced by the desire to exploit it. Can anyone today imagine a university giving a valuable vaccine away? Hardly likely. In fact, the government encourages universities to do just the opposite – to patent our discoveries and capitalise on our intellectual property. One famous university has just spent a large amount of money on lawyers trying to prove to a court that it owned the rights to a successful drug.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Preparing Europe for a new Renaissance
Raise R&D spending in Europe to a gargantuan 5% of gross domestic product by 2030. Triple the share of the European Union’s budget spent on science, and triple national outlays on higher education within Europe as well. And while we’re at it: double the percentage of the EU population with a tertiary education. Those are some of the ambitious – and some say unrealistic – targets a European science policy panel laid out for the next 20 years in a report last week, writes Martin Enserink for ScienceInsider.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

GLOBAL: Which country claims the Nobel prize?
Melanie Mahoney*
Nobel Prizes are a big honour not only to their winners but to the country the winner is from. The news that Tasmanian-born Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, with two other researchers, won the Nobel Prize for medicine gives Australia – and the US – something to boast about.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: The whole truth and nothing but – sometimes
Lauraine McDonald*
Organisational research has created a new way to generate repeat business – training staff to ‘appear’ to be telling the truth. Most people are not good at detecting lies and research has found in 80% of cases, customers believed they were being lied to when actually they were told the truth.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Students will work for beer
A new study suggests that the cliché of a full-time college student working a low-wage job to pay her tuition and getting lower grades than she’d have if she wasn't working is more fiction than fact, writes Jennifer Epstein for Inside Higher Ed. If the student works fewer than 20 hours a week, she may, in fact, have a higher grade point average than her jobless peers and be spending her pay on ‘beer money’ or other non-tuition expenses.
More on the University World News site

FOR SALE: University World News e-book

Reports from the Frontier: A global view of the key issues confronting higher education

Reports from the Frontier is the first in a planned series of electronic books to be published by University World News. The initial volume comprises eight chapters that range from the impact of the global financial crisis on universities, declining funding, and the Bologna process, to women in higher education, international rankings and e-learning. The 337-page e-book includes an index listing the chapters and article headings, and is available as a special offer to University World News readers. To see the contents page and to order your copy click here.


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US: New rankings – US decline or a flawed measure?
Most higher education leaders say that institutional rankings are highly questionable, given the many intangibles in what make a college or university ‘best’ for a given person or course of study, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. But what about national trends? Can international rankings of universities provide a picture of the relative rise and fall of nation’s universities? The Times Higher Education-QS rankings suggest there are national patterns that can be discerned – and the picture is one of decline for American institutions.
More on the University World News site

UK: Oxford University’s global standing at risk
Oxford University faces “grave” risks and needs more than £1 billion (US$1.6 billion) investment in the next decade to bring its “unfit for purpose” facilities up to a world-class standard, the institution's outgoing vice-chancellor warned last week, reports Rachel Williams for The Guardian. The university slipped from fourth into joint-fifth place in the just-published Times Higher Education-QS world university rankings.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Students barred from UK in visa snarl-up
The British home secretary, Alan Johnson, arrived in Islamabad last week to try to defuse a row with the Pakistani government over a huge visa snarl-up that could cost thousands of students their places at top British universities, writes Declan Walsh for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: International ‘leapfrogging’
In 1970, 29% of the world’s college students were enrolled in the United States, which had 6% of the world's population, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. But in 2006, the US enrolled only 12% of the world’s students. The United States actually grew in enrolments, but other parts of the world – especially China – experienced surges far beyond the totals in the US.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Spending on universities rises during recession
The year 2009 probably will be remembered as one of the worst in terms of higher education financing in the US, writes Cong Cao for UPI Asia. Contrary to this miserable scenario, institutions of higher education on the other side of the Pacific have seen their financial situation improving despite the crisis. Hao Ping, China’s Vice Minister of Education, announced this at a news conference to showcase educational achievements on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: King fires critic of university
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has removed a top cleric who criticised gender mixing of students at a new university, reports Voice of America. The king issued a royal order last Sunday relieving Sheikh Saad al-S hithri of his position on a top council of religious scholars.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Authorities arrest 18 students
Iranian authorities arrested 18 student leaders in Tehran on 2 October in a crackdown on demonstrations, which flared up at two universities as classes resumed this week, writes Nazila Fathi for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Women and Nobel prizes
Only 39 Nobel Prizes have been handed out to women, and that includes this year’s three female winners and both of Marie Curie’s awards, writes Amber Bellaire for The Globe and Mail. Considering that the Nobel Foundation was founded in 1900, Ada Yonath, Elizabeth H Blackburn and Carol W Greider were nothing short of ecstatic on the announcement of their awards this week.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Nobel prize “the fruits of past investments”
Professor Ada Yonath’s shared Nobel prize for chemistry has raised Israeli hopes for additional honours, writes Yaheli Moran Zelikovich for Ynet News. But heads of the higher education system warn that ongoing budget cuts are shifting the Jewish state away from similar achievements in the future.
More on the University World News site

UK: Earlier A-levels could ease university entrance
Britain’s exams watchdog has backed an overhaul of the university applications system that would enable teenagers to sit A-levels immediately after Easter and to get their results before the end of the summer term, writes Joanna Sugden for The Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Tories – 10% off for early student loan payments
Graduates in England would be offered a 10% discount on early repayments of their student loans under Conservative Party plans to raise an emergency fund to expand universities and prevent a repeat of this year’s admissions crisis, writes Polly Curtis for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: More scientists and researchers needed
Malaysia is in dire need of more scientists, researchers, innovators and pioneers in science and technology, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said last week, reports Bernama. He said the target under the Ninth Malaysia Plan was to have 60 researchers, scientists and engineers per 10,000 of the workforce, but to date, the country had achieved only 18% of the desired number.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: In pursuit of excellence
To cement Malaysia’s status as a global education hub, plans are afoot to improve the nation’s higher education scene and the private sector is set to change in a big way, writes Richard Lim for The Star.
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THAILAND: Universities fear return of state control
Leaders of Thailand’s 13 autonomous universities say that draft regulations giving political office-holders power to appoint spec ialists to evaluate each university and decide subsidies mark an unacceptable increase in government control, reports Chuleep orn Aramnet for The Nation.
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MALTA: Higher education legislation is drafted
Draft legislation on further and higher education is being prepared by Malta’s Education Ministry, reports the Times of Malta. It will include legislation to fully regulate private provision by creating structures to license, accredit and quality assure further and higher education.
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