QSIU HE Digest – Where should governments invest their research funding?

Anyone observing the world in which they live can see how the outputs of research improve our life, work and environment. Some people believe that if governments invest specifically in research designed to produce immediately useful outcomes, it could ensure an even higher return on government investment. However, as the paper discusses, there are many problems with this approach, not least being that research directed at particular outcomes can fail while curiosity-led research can lead to many and varied applications which are as far reaching in their implications as they are unexpected.

Full Story: Group of Eight

When the Soviet state collapsed in the early 1990s, Russia was a world leader in education, science and technology. The infrastructure was developed largely in isolation from the other zones of research strength in Western Europe and North America. Soviet scientists accessed the world literature but did not share much. Russia was strong in mathematics and in research in the physical sciences, which were funded generously as strategically important national priorities. It had a high rate of participation in tertiary education. Scientists and, to a lesser extent, school and university teachers were well paid and in good standing.Basic research was conducted in the Academy of Science and specialist institutes separate from the universities, as in France, originator of the Russian model. The same dual model was used by Germany, and China, which followed the Soviet Union.In the post-Soviet transition the economic base of public sector salaries collapsed for a time. Some teachers in regional areas went without pay for many months. Large numbers of scientists left permanently, many going to the US.Universities and research institutes are again operating. The rate of tertiary participation has risen further in recent years. The loss of Russia’s status in education and science is keenly felt, as is the loss of status in all areas. There is talk about building world-class universities: President Vladimir Putin has announced a target of five institutions in the world top 100.

Full Story: The Australian

A group of Nordic researchers will today present the results of their research on the challenges raised by the increased amount of teaching in English at Danish universities, The Copenhagen Post reports. While the group found that most students adapt quickly to being taught in English, they also report that this tends to make students less willing to participate during lessons. Their report will include recommendations for Danish universities on how to continue developing their English-taught programs, while adequately supporting students.

Full Story: Copenhagen Post

Language schools and universities throughout New Zealand are reporting static or falling enrolments, and say the high dollar and global recession are to blame.International student numbers had been recovering after dropping to barely 90,000 five years ago, but in 2012 fell 6% to below 92,000 and another drop is possible this year.English language schools suffered most of last year’s decline. English New Zealand, which represents 25 of the schools, says enrolments at its members are down a further 10% this year.At universities, slight increases in enrolments at some have been outweighed by drops at others, while secondary schools say it is harder to attract students.Education leaders say the high New Zealand dollar and the impact of the recession in other countries are hurting foreign student enrolments.

Full Story: The Radio NZ

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