news archive 2018   
Saturday, 10 March 2018 //

Time for BRUCS

Ama Waterways

LONDON (qs) -- To make things sound catchy, we have acronyms. BRICS for emerging economies, and now BRUCS for ‘emerging study destinations’. The candidates are Brazil–Rhineland–UAE–China–Singapore. These are, according to QS, new higher-education markets that are becoming increasingly relevant for students. The only European member is the Rhine-land which refers to Germany and Netherlands with astrong research base ... read more 7.3.18

Friday, 9 March 2018 //

German surprise minister

image: CC  	J.-H. JanßenBERLIN (science) -- In a surprise move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has chosen little-known lawmaker Anja Karliczek as the country’s next minister of education and research. Karliczek has a background in banking and business but little experience in science and education policy.
Karliczek is expected to have some money to play with. The coalition agreement promises an increase of 3 percent per year for research agencies and increasing research spending from 2.9 of GDP to 3.5 percent ...
read more 27.02.2018

Too few women authors on research papers

LONDON (nature) -- An analysis of research papers in 15 prestigious journals indicates that the proportion of female authors has been consistently low over the past 13 years. This under-representation negatively affects the careers of thousands of female scientists ... read more 07.03.2018

UK-EU, half in, half out

signBRUSSELS (s|b) -- Brussels wants the UK in EU research programmes after Brexit, but rejected their bid to become an associate member of regulatory bodies including the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The EU, a statement says, “will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making, which excludes participation of the UK as a third country [in] EU Institutions, agencies or bodies” ... read more 8.3.18

Thursday, 8 March 2018 //

Switzerland: The black sheep of university privatisation

image: coinBERN (swi) -- The industry-funded think-tank Avenir Suisse dislikes the incredible success of state-sponsored higher education in Switzerland. In a 96-pager it cannot but praise the successs of the country with six world-class universities and a 70 percent increase in public education spending since 2000, but good is not enough: tuition fees are not high enough, double courses should be streamlined. But universities and students alike do not agree ... read more xx.02.2018

US still dominates global higher education market

LONDON (pienews) -- With the last snow, equally fast melting news come from the latest Quacquarelli Symonds universities ranking ... read more 28.2.18

Italian universities charged excessive fees

ROME (repubblica) -- Italian universities have charged —illegally— excessively high tuition fees, the Italian student union UDU revealed in a report. Based on public figures, the report shows that in 2015 alone universities have cashed in 269 million euros above the limit set by law. After the University of Pavia had been sentenced to repay 8 million euros in 2016, a sword of Damocles is hanging now over the entire sector ... read more 02.03.2018

Wednesday, 7 March 2018 //

UK wants new move on Open Access policy

image: Foreign & Commonwealth Office CCLONDON (nature) -- The UK’s main public research funder will reassess its open-access policy, amid concern that a national drive to make papers free to read might not be financially sustainable. A new UK Research and Innovation body will unite nine UK research-funding agencies in April and, said its chief executive, Mark Walport, conduct an internal review of the policy this year ... read more | and here 01.03.2018

Denmark pushes for European debt collection agency

COPENHAGEN (uwn) -- “Denmark is not to be a ‘gift heaven’ where we let foreign citizens leave without repaying their debts,” tax minister Karsten Lauritzen said. He and science minister Søren Pind want to persuade the European Commission to agree to a Union-wide initiative for student debt recovery across member states ... read more 01.03.2018

4th edition of the European Universities Games

image: EUSALJUBLJANA (eusa) -- Starting in July 15, Coimbra will host the fourth edition of the European Universities Games. The registrations for the largest university sport event in Europe are open until March 15. The Games will feature Badminton, Basketball, Football, Futsal, Handball, Judo, Rowing, Rugby, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball and Canoe Sprint ... read more 22.2.18

Tuesday, 6 March 2018 //

CEU in Budapest reaccredited

image: CC Festival Economia 2012BUDAPEST (nyt) -- A Budapest university threatened with being shut down after emerging as a high-profile target of government attacks on its founder, the financier George Soros, announced a bit of welcome news on Wednesday: It has been reaccredited for the next five years ... read more 28.02.2018

Big Russian universities want to commercialise

MOSCOW (uwn) -- The annual revenue of Russia’s largest universities, from the sales of its commercial developments to business, is many times lower than that of their Western counterparts. According to the Association of the Classical Universities of Russia, this has to change ... read more 03.03.2018

Ethics for Romanian universities

logoBUCAREST (esu) -- Starting this fall, Romanian universities will be required to include ethics and academic integrity courses in their curricula. The Ministry of National Education has issued an order requiring these courses at master and PhD level after in recent years there have been many cases accusing public figures of plagiarism. For years, the national student union ANOSR made efforts in this direction ... read more 26.02.2018

Monday, 5 March 2018 //

Icelandic students demand grants, not loans

image: Ministry for Foreign Affairs

REYKJAVIK (esu) -- With a new strategy paper, Iceland’s student union has met with the education minister, Lilju Alfreðsdóttir. The students want a change to the outdated student funding system and demand grants instead of loans ... read more 27.02.2018

Wishlist of internationalisation

HONG KONG (abc) -- A Hong Kong-based student fair company asked students from the poorest countries in the world where and what they’d like to study. Their favourite destinations are Canada, the UK, the USA, Russia, and Germany, where they dream of learning Medicine, Engineering or other Tech Sciences, Business or Social Sciences, Education, and Aviation ... read more

Saturday, 3 March 2018 //

Erasmus+ mid-term evaluation

iconBRUSSELS (aca) -- The Erasmus+ mid-term evaluation, published by the European Commission on 31 January 2018, looks beyond 2020. The programme, it states “is highly valued by its stakeholders as well as the general public, which identifies the programme as the third most positive results of the EU.” To increase the participation rate from 4 to 7.5 percent of Eu students, the budget would have to be increased by 30 billion euros ... read more 28.02.2018

Friday, 2 March 2018 //

Theresa May admits failures in UK tuition fees system

image: Derbyshire Telegraph

DERBYSHIRE (inews) -- Tuition fees at English universities are too high and the system must be reformed so the poorest students are not left with the highest debts, British prime minister Theresa May said. She announced a major review that should look at “the whole post-18 education sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education, to create a system which is truly joined up” ... read more | video19.02.2018

More foreign students in Czechia

PRAGUE (prague monitor) -- The number of foreigners studying at Czech universities and colleges has risen by 334. As of 2017, foreigners made up some 15 percent of the total of 299,054 ... read more 22.02.2018

Swedish strategy for internationalisation

iconSTOCKHOLM (aca) -- As a result of an inquiry on increased internationalisation of higher education, launched by the Swedish Government, a proposal for a national strategy for internationalisation has been published. A second part, proposing an integrated system for registration and tuition fees, recruitment, admissions, residence permit and fees, will be presented by October 2018 ... read more 28.02.2018

Thursday, 1 March 2018 //

New EU seatcolvers

image: EC Audiovisual Service

BRUSSELS (ec) -- In February there have been new appointments in the European Commission. Themis Christophidou is the new Director General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. She is a Cypriot national who formerly served as a Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, and before that, as Deputy Head of Cabinet of the former Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, Androulla Vassiliou. Furthermore, Viviane Hoffman is the new Deputy Director General of DG EAC ... read more 21.02.2018

New Icelandic government prioritises research

REYKJAVIK (aca) -- The coalition treaty of Iceland’s new government places research and innovation high on the agenda, as advised by the Icelandic Science and Technology Policy Council. Funding of university education will be increased with the aim of reaching the OECD average in 2020 and the Nordic average by 2025: the allocation to higher ed in 2018 increased by 2,9 billion crowns (23 million euros) ... read more 28.02.2018

New fight over university autonomy in Norway ahead

OSLO (uwn) -- Norways new research and higher education minister, Iselin Nybø is working on a feasibility study on university governance, investigating among other models a decoupling of the universities from the state. The last attempt of this kind in 2001 lead to mass protests ... read more 24.02.2018

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 //

Andalusian professors want a “dignified” teaching career

image: academia.eduSEVILLA (europapress) -- Assistant professors and part-time lecturers have staged a protest at the government building in Sevilla for a “dignified” teaching career and an end to precarious working conditions. At a meeting with members of of all major political parties, Nicolás de Alba, speaker of the Collective of Precarious Professors, pressed for a change to the Andalusian University Law that prevents tenure even after years of teaching ... read more 26.02.2018

Latvian “décroissance”

DAUGAVPILS (lsm) -- In an effort to reduce the overall number of universities, the Latvian science ministry continues merging institutions. The latest case involves the Medical College and the University of the city of Daugavpils in the south-east of the country ... read more 23.01.2018

€50 million for Slovak student housing

BRATISLAVA (slovak spectator) -- Up to 50 million euros should be spent on the reconstruction of university halls of residence in the following two years. The decision comes after the students wrote a letter to the prime minister Robert Fico in late January, reminding him of a promise ... read more 1.2.18

Tuesday, 27 February 2018 //

Croatia’s top judge accused of plagiarism

image: predsjednicaZAGREB (science) -- One of Croatia’s top judges is hitting back at the country’s national research ethics panel after having been found guilty of plagiarism. Miroslav Šeparović, president of the Constitutional Court, has filed criminal complaints against all five members of the Committee on Ethics in Science and Higher Education (CESHE), after it concluded that his doctoral thesis contained repeated instances of “incomplete and opaque citations” ... read more 22.2.

German universities after Brexit

LONDON (conversation) -- A journalistic inquiry suggests that academics and institutions across Europe, and particularly in Germany, could make significant gains as Brexit shakes up the higher education landscape ... read more 22.2.

Grants in Italy: late and stingy

coinROME (stampa) -- Italian students complain that their bursaries are too small and arrive late. In central and northern Italy payments often take months to arrive, in southern Italy up to a year. 174,000 Italians receive public student support plus 16,000 from European countries ... read more xx.02.2018

Monday, 26 February 2018 //

New EU director-general for research and innovation

image: EESCBRUSSELS (science business) -- Jean-Eric Paquet, a French national and career civil servant in Brussels, was named as the European Commission’s new director-general for research and innovation on Wednesday, as part of a wider reshuffling of senior management positions. The move — though a surprise to some — is viewed by Commission insiders as having the potential to consolidate ties between research and other policy areas, as the EU executive prepares its post-Brexit budget plans ... read more | and here 21.02.2018

Popularity ranking with pre-Brexit symptoms

HAMBURG (the local) -- Germany continues to be the favourite among international students at EU universities. In a little ranking by a commercial student mobility service platform, the UK didn’t make top spot because of its “prohibitively high” tuition fees and cost of living ... read more 21.02.2018

US science agency recalls senior officials in Europe

WASHINGTON (sb) -- The National Science Foundation (NSF), a US government agency, is recalling the directors of its outposts in Brussels and Beijing, in a move criticised as the latest weakening of the country’s diplomatic power in science under the Trump administration ... read more 20.02.2018

Saturday, 24 February 2018 //

80-year-old Erasmus student

image: Live University CataniaVALENCIA (el país) -- Miguel Castillo is getting a university degree in history, and next week he will travel to Italy on the Erasmus programme. Oh, and he is 80 years old, a retired notary public with three daughters and six grandchildren. He is also something of a celebrity ... read more 14.02.2018

Friday, 23 February 2018 //

EU students owe UK £592million

image: Xilam Lucky Comics / ESNA

LONDON (sun) -- Fears are growing (and being fueled by The Sun) that EU students may not pay back the tuition fee loans that enabled them to study in the UK. The Student Loan Company confirmed yesterday EU students have so far paid back 104.7 million pounds of what they borrowed — with 592 million pounds still on the books ... read more 19.02.2018

EU-wide funding scheme for big universities?

BONN (hrk) -- European universities are pushing for the implementation of a new continent-wide “excellence initiative” that would see the European Union provide institution-level funding to help “increase the competitiveness” of higher education systems. The “European Excellence Initiative” has been proposed by ... read more | and here 14.02.2018

Thursday, 22 February 2018 //

Unprepared STEM students

sketchLONDON (fe news) -- Chemists believe university curricula to be problematic, with just 61 percent firmly of the belief that too little time is spent solving real-world problems, a recent survey shows. An overwhelming majority (84%) of chemists said that being ‘technologically savvy’ with new digital tools is either ‘crucial’ or ‘very important’ to career progression ... read more 15.02.2018

Armenian students protest against helmets

YEREVAN (uwn) -- A new law obliges male Armenian students to sign contracts with the defence ministry and to serve in the military for three years after completing their undergraduate studies. The law sparked protest from hundreds of students from different universities, several opposition parties and public figures in Armenia ... read more 16.02.2018

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 //

10 pennies for the humanities

image: CC

BRUSSELS (science business) -- Eleven universities, including Ghent University, La Sapienza in Rome and the Freie Universität Berlin, are urging the European Commission to set a target under its next research framework programme of spending at least 10 per cent of the budget on social sciences and humanities ... read more 13.02.2018

More money for Czech postgraduates

PRAGUE (prague daily) -- Czech public universities will receive 50 percent higher contributions for postgraduate students this year, education minister Robert Plaga has announced. Postgraduates have been complaining for a long time that they cannot fully devote to their study because the low scholarship does not cover their costs of living ... read more 13.02.2018

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 //

TU Delft stops interationalisation

image: Team Verkeer Politie LimburgDELFT (dutchnews) -- Delft University of Technology has said that from 1st February 2018, no non-EEA students will be considered for its next bachelors of computer science and engineering course, due to a massive increase in applications. “It is important to have experiences with other cultures, but there must be a bit of a balance, and 50:50 Dutch and international is a nice number,” a spokeswoman said. The Dutch education ministry was cited as saying it would be illegal to stop considering students from certain countries ... read more 16.02.2018

Easier access to Estonia

TALLINN (err) -- A bill approved by the Estonian government, translating an EU directive from May 2016 into Estonian law, will make it easier for third-country nationals to stay in the country for the purposes of research, studies and training ... read more 1616.02.2018

Monday, 19 February 2018 //

Austrian lack of doctors

image: archiveINNSBRUCK (tt) -- A lack of practicioners, especially in rural regions, is plaguing Austria. How to substitute the half of 180 doctors working in the periphery who will be retired within 10 years and only few newcomers apply? Social and health minister, Beate Hartinger-Klein, does not want to dare more than advertising campaigns. The regions Südtirol and Vorarlberg plan a private Medical School with high fees and a grant systems that obliges graduates to serve far from the cities for a while (not so bad those old Soviet ideas in the end) ... read more 18.02.2018

Busy ghostwriters

ZURICH (tagesanzeiger) -- According to Thomas Német, director of Acad Write, a company who helps people with difficulties in writing their own degree thesis, 200 Swiss students have used their services and bought a “scientific draft” in 2015. The texts cost 3,000-10,000 euros. Universities have little power to discover the truth ... read more 15.02.2018

Friday, 16 February 2018 //

Toolkit for researcher intimidation

image: banksy(psypost) –- A research found that attacking the motives of a scientist undermines the belief in a scientific claim just as much as attacking the science itself. Interested in the finding could be journal editors – because they have to make decisions about conflict of interest disclosures; private corporations – because they have to decide whether to rely on neutral research or in-house research; and policy makers – when they have to decide policy on conflicts of interest ... read more 13.02.2018

Belarus’ Mouth of Truth

MINSK (belta) -- Belarus still struggles to guarantee an honest and objective process of assigning academic titles. But there are plans, supported by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, to use online technologies in the defense of scientific papers, which will make the process more transparent and objective ... read more 02.02.2018

Ukraninian Science Academy holds its ground

image: mineduKIEV (the) -- Former Ukrainian science minister Serhiy Kvit described the National Academy of Sciences with its 174 institutes as “a state within a state”, which has had “a special kind of autonomy since the days of Stalin. Now the Communist Party has disappeared and the state does not know what the National Academy does.” Yet instead of trying to revive and repurpose the academy, the government introduces further budget cuts and layoffs ... read more 8.2.18

Thursday, 15 February 2018 //

Sexual harassment accusations hit universities

image: DC ComicsCOPENHAGEN ET AL. (div) -- Denmark’s universities are teaming up with the student organisation to investigate the extent of sexual harassment on their campuses ... read more | Cambridge University received 173 anonymous reports of sexual misconduct in nine months ... read more | Students in Frankfurt protest against it. A Europe-wide survey says one in two girls felt harassed once, that makes 1500 for the city of Frankfurt per year; since one in ten harassers are lecturers, we got a total of ... read more 05.02.2018

Who is Alexandra Elbakyan?

NEW YORK (the verge) -- Subscription prices make science journals inaccessible to most people without institutional access — and they’re increasingly difficult for institutions to finance as well. Serial prices represent the largest inflationary factor for library budgets. An then came Sci-Hub, here’s the story how it was founded .. read more 08.02.2018

Food safety research needs a raise

logoBRUSSELS (new food) -- National food safety authorities from all 28 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway have called for more public investment in food safety research and committed to support European research through partnership building and training. And EFSA, the responsible body in Brussels, needs urgently more staff ... read more 06.02.2018

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 //

French Senate approves new access portal

image: CC Sylvie RobertPARIS (le monde) -- The French Senate has approved the new law on university access. The law legalises the automated online enrollment process intended to suppress unfair admission tests and high drop-out rates in the first year. The Left oppose the preselection of students before they enter university where, as Socialist deputee Sylvie Robert said, “the university president has the last word of admission” ... read more 09.02.2018

Erasmus as a soft power in Central Asia

ALMATY (euractiv) -- The main challenge for the EU is the growing competition for the ‘hearts and minds’ of Central Asia’s people, and the main goal is maintaining and promoting European soft power in the region. The Erasmus Programme is one important tool, says Nargis Kassenova, from KIMEP University, Kazakhstan ... read more 12.02.2018

Swiss tech universities show off

logoZURICH (swissinfo) -- Switzerland’s federal technology institutes EPFL in Lausanne and ETH in Zurich account for 100,000 jobs and 13 billion Swiss francs in added value to the economy, a new report calculates. This represents a fivefold return on investment, it claims ... read more 05.02.2018

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 //

MOOC gentrification completed

cow(icef) -- The honeymoon is over. 2017 marked a continuing trend of MOOC providers sharpening their focus on students who are prepared to pay for online learning. The MOOC revenue models now range from additional fees to earn certificates to larger corporate training programmes. EdX, meanwhile, has filed a trademark application for the term “MicroBachelors”, not for traditional university students, rather for mid-career professionals who have been unable to pursue conventional degree programmes on campus ... read more 31.01.2018

Sweden’s internationalisation strategy: fees and so on

STOCKHOLM (uwn) -- Scrapping fees for international students in Sweden, introduced only seven years ago? “It is unlikely that the ministry of finance will allow this,” says professor Mats Benner of the Royal Institute of Technology. A new report for the education ministry ... read more 10.02.2018

The latest fad: corporate universities

PERM (eurekalert) -- A pair of Russian researchers are looking for fame. Their research question: would a corporate university be a good investment for a company? Their sample included some 2,500 companies located in Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. A wonderful idea! ... read more

Monday, 12 February 2018 //

Big tabacco lures Utreccht University

image: © ESNAUTRECHT (science) -- Science is not equal to science, as Utrecht University had to learn. After an outburst of protest, the University had to cancel a research contract with Philip Morris International worth €360,000. Pulmonologists and the Dutch Cancer Society argued a university should not take money from an industry whose products kill an estimated 7 million people annually. However, PMI has set up a foundation to throw $1bn at research in the coming years ... read more 08.02.2018

Donald, let’s cancel everyone’s student debt!

NEW YORK (nymag) -- In America today, 44 million people collectively carry $1.4 trillion in student debt. A new research paper suggests wiping out every penny of it would revive the economy ... read more 09.02.2018

British Council fears decelerating student mobility

LONDON (icef) -- Statisticians in the sales department of the British university industry, the British Council, guess the growth of outbound student mobility will slow down by 1.7 percent in ten years. The two ‘top student markets’, China and India, are building too many domestic universities ... read more 7.2.18

Friday, 9 February 2018 //

Germany’s next education and research minister

image: Christliches Medienmagazin proBERLIN (spektrum) -- As coalition talks are nearly over, it appears that Hermann Gröhe, formerly heading Health, will be Germany’s next education and research minister. Unlike his predecessor, Johanna Wanka, he is a lawyer, not a scientist, and he is a long-serving party soldier of the Christian Democrats and Angela Merkel. His task will be tightening the federal government’s grip on schools, universities and science. The coalition has already decided to raise the education and science budget by €11 billion (to 3.5% of the GDP), to further the federal funding of universities and to invest in the digital infrastructure of schools ... read more 08.02.2018

Thursday, 8 February 2018 //

Ball season in Vienna

image burschenschaft.deVIENNA (nyt) -- The Vienna faction of the party, which returned to government last year, has sponsored the Academics’ Ball since 2013. Attendees include members of Austrian right-wing fraternal societies, who wear pillbox hats. Outside the venue, up to 10,000 protesters marched by, carrying banners saying “Don’t Allow Nazis to Govern.” The night after, more than 3,000 guests attended the Vienna Ball of Sciences, which was founded as a “counterball”, in a subtle protest by university rectors and scientists ... read more 04.02.2018

European libido

BRUSSELS (s|b) -- Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has joked that Erasmus “increased the European libido”, referring to the estimated one million babies born to couples who met through the mobility scheme. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK could still participate in some form, but this would depend on post-Brexit immigration rules ... read more 01.02.2018

Turkey becoming international education hub

ANKARA (andalou) -- “Compared with 2004, when there were only 10,000 international students studying in Turkey, today we can say that Turkey has become an educational base,” Mehmet Ali Bolat, head of Turkey’s Federation of International Student Associations (UDEF), said. Now Turkey hosts around 120,000 university students from more than 150 countries and their number could increase to 300,000 by the end of 2023 ... read more 02.02.2018

Wednesday, 7 February 2018 //

Scandinavia: Foreign students in the cross hairs

image: Heinrich Hofmann

COPENHAGEN (uwn) -- In Denmark, data was collected in response to a parliamentary question about how many students were reporting fictitious addresses to claim student financing - 50 foreigners! In Sweden, public pressure was necessary to stop requiring evidence from international students that they are able to afford living costs when applying for a residence permit. And in Norway, the visa application charge has sharply risen and is now the highest in the region ... read more | here | and here02.02.2018

‘Gendering’ at Swiss universities

ZURICH (nzz) -- Gender research departments and language handbooks blossom at Swiss universities. Some female professors insist that their grades hinge on gender-neutral language in exams. Others criticise the threat to freedom of criticism ... read more 06.02.2018

Grand coalition promises big time for education

image: föhrenbergkreisBERLIN (zeit) -- A new grand coalition of Christian and Social Democrats in Germany appears to coagulate, and it segregates promises of 6 billion euros to be spent on education and science. While the research budget could go up to 3.5 percent of the GDP, the Government in the making also plans to throw more money at schools, VET and universities ... read more xx.01.2018

Tuesday, 6 February 2018 //

Zuckerberg’s outdated ideas

image: Brian Solis(the atlantic) -- Mark Zuckerberg and others continue to tout the potential of ‘personalised learning’, pointing to decades-old research that’s been practically impossible to duplicate. “If you’re really going to make these huge investments [based on this study], you might want to be absolutely sure that the analysis of that research is solid,” said Ben Riley, a skeptic of personalised learning. ... read more

Prominent Oxford professor charged with rape

PARIS (nyt) -- Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Islamic studies scholar and professor at the University of Oxford, has been charged with rape in France. He has denied the accusations as a smear ... read more 02.02.2018

EU freezes funding for Bulgarian research projects

SOFIA/BRUSSELS (nature) -- The European Union withheld funding after Bulgaria failed to identify enough sufficiently qualified scientists. Bulgaria was due to receive €150 million (and up to €700 million by 2020) from the EU to build facilities for research and innovation ... read more 02.02.2018

Monday, 5 February 2018 //

Italian court blocks English-courses

image: GeobiaROME (repubblica) -- Italy’s high administrative court, the Consiglio di Stato, has declared the Polytechnic Institute of Milan’s decision to offer all graduate programmes in English unconstitutional. 98 professors had sued the university, now the court confirmed three principles that limit internationalisation: the primacy of the Italian language, the freedom of students to learn and the freedom of professors to teach ... read more | and here 30.01.2018

Sci-Hub strives

BERLIN (daily beast) -- Users of Sci-Hub downloaded more than 150 million papers in 2017, reveal raw data released by the pirate site. The collection houses 85.2 percent of all journal articles stored behind all paywalls everywhere ... read more | and here 14.01.2018

Russian student protests against ‘upskirting’

image: youtubeST. PETERSBURG (newsx) -- A Russian student in an attempt to protest against ‘upskirting’ (taking pictures under a woman’s skirt in public places) took unusual measures. In a lone protest, the student activist took it to the crowded St. Petersburg subway and pulled up her skirt showing her underpants ... read more | video 01.11.2017

Saturday, 3 February 2018 //

Research concentration in few big universities

image: Fir0002 / ESNADAVOS (the) -- The concentration process of universities, public and private alike, has reached a new peak. As a report presented at the Davos World Economic Forum shows, the 27 biggest institutions alone publish 7 percent of the world’s research output and attract 11 percent grant funding awarded to top global universities ... read more 25.01.2018

Friday, 2 February 2018 //

Chinese research catches up rapidly

image: NFS / nature / ESNA

LONDON (nature) -- China has overtaken the United States in terms of the total number of science publications, according to a report by the National Science Foundation, but stays still far below the European Union’s research output. However, with a 19 percent growth rate of spending in research and development it has overtaken the EU ... read more 18.01.2018

Elsevier deal with a Finnish university consortium

HELSINKI (electrochem) -- After long negotiations, finally a deal with scientific publisher Elsevier in Finland could be struck. The three-year deal with FinELib will allow 35 Finnish institutions access to about 1,850 journals online, a deal valued at around €27 million ... read more | and here xx.01.2018

Foreign lecturers discriminated in Italy

image: ALLSIBRUSSELS (telegraph) -- British lecturers have appealed to the EU over pay discrimination at Italian universities. Italy has been condemned six times by the European Court of Justice for paying them, as well as French, Belgian and other lecturers as little as half what Italians received. The Scotsman David Petrie, chairman of the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy, says that Brussels’ response to the saga of the lecturers’ hardship showed that despite its rhetoric on citizens’ rights post-Brexit, the EU was failing to ensure the protection of workers in the EU ... read more 23.01.2018

Thursday, 1 February 2018 //

New Austrian education and science minister

image: OEAWVIENNA (aca) -- The new Austrian coalition government, led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), has chosen Heinz Faßmann, a human geographer, former professor and vice-rector, as minister of education and science. According to ACA, the appointment “entails a redefinition of the ministry’s mandate. In earlier Austrian governments, school education and higher education and research had often had their own ministries. Under the last ‘grand-coalition’ government, higher education had simply been turned into a department of the Ministry for Economic Affairs” ... read more 31.01.2018

Welsh universities face 14 days of strikes

CARDIFF (wales online) -- Four Welsh universities are among 61 institutions across the UK that will be hit with 14 days of strike action. The dispute centres on plans to remove benefits from the pension scheme (USS). The teachers’ trade union (UCU) says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement ... read more 29.01.2018

40% more European students in Russia

MOSCOW (tass) -- Russian universities attract students not only from the CIS countries, India, China, Vietnam and most African countries. According to the Russian education ministry, the share of students from Europe grew by 40 percent within one year ... read more 29.01.2018

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 //

Turkey continues academic purge

image: KremlinANKARA (uwn) -- A further 438 members of Turkey’s higher education community have faced criminal detentions, investigations and prosecutions since July. Some 698 have been dismissed or expelled from their institutions and subjected to travel restrictions ... read more 16.01.2018

Luxembourg can afford it

LUXEMBOURG (delano) -- The government of Luxembourg announced it would spend €1,44 billion for research and higher education between 2018 and 2021. This budget already grew by €284 million, or 25 percent, over the period from 2014 to 2017 ... read more 12.01.2018

EU students owe Denmark a lot of money

image: coinsCOPENHAGEN (politiken) -- Foreign students owe Denmark €57 million. The European Union has rejected the Danish government’s request to help it claim back this unpaid student debt. The quarrel follows a cap on EU students eligible for grants installed by science minister Søren Pind in April 2017 ... read more | and here 14.01.2018

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 //

Romanian students in the streets

image: ANOSR

TIMIȘOARA (esu) -- Romanian student organisations have repeatedly warned about the danger of the legislative changes to the criminal law, which were proposed or sanctioned by the parliament majority. Protest marches in Timișoara, the main city in western Romania, carried a coffin wrapped in the flag and tagged “Justice” ... read more | and here 23.01.2018

Modernising university law in Malta

VALETTA (times) -- When he saw Austria, Britain and Holland which had introduced governing boards to help with running universities, Maltese education minister Evarist Bartolo wanted the same. Now not only students are up against him, but his own experts, too ... read more | and here 23.1.18

Norwegian universities open up

OSLO (universitetsavisa) -- The reports are now out. After months of stalemate, where several Norwegian universities withheld reports on their working conditions, Senior Advisor Kristin Wergeland Brekke of the rector’s staff at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has announced that 52 reports dating back as far as 2016 will now be released. The issue had been a trial of strength between the institutions and the ministry... read more 18.01.2018

Monday, 29 January 2018 //

Alleged plagiarism by Finnish presidential candidate

image: CCHELSINKI (yle) -- Finnish populist-right presidential candidate, Laura Huhtasaari has been accused of plagiarising her bachelor’s thesis. Her alma mater, the University of Jyväskylä is conducting a preliminary investigation into the work alleged to contain direct copies of texts produced by others ... read more 16.1.18

Dutch shortage of professors

AMSTERDAM (nos) -- Dutch students must share their teachers with more and more people. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of students grew by eleven percent, the number of teachers went up by just six percent ... read more

Russian ‘anti-ranking’ reveals plagiarism

flagMOSCOW (mosaica) -- The online community ‘Dissernet’, which reveals plagiarism in scientific texts, has launched a so-called ‘anti-ranking’. The ranking sheds light on Russian universities with large numbers of plagiarised works. Moscow Pedagogical State University headed the list, with 232 plagiarised dissertations. On the flip side, four Russian universities have entered the top 100 in the THE university ranking, bringing the country closer to its 5 to 100 goal ... read more | and here 17.01.2018

Saturday, 27 January 2018 //

Jews reportedly banned from U.K. campus lecture

image: Antarctica JournalWARWICK (haaretz) -- David Collier, a journalist and blogger on anti-Semitism, has said he and two other Jews were stopped at the entrance to a lecture at Warwick University. The event, alleging Israel was intentionally undermining the fertility of Palestinians, “was organised by group of researchers and students,” a university spokesman said, “not by the University” ... read more 21.1.18

Friday, 26 January 2018 //

National education funding gap in Europe widens

image: EUABRUSSELS (euractiv) -- Data shows that the divide between higher education systems that reduce public funding for universities and research, and those that increase it, is getting wider, even more as the latter are more likely to win EU funding. Thomas Estermann, policy director at the European University Association (EUA) proposes that some of these funds could be ring-fenced to finance the best research proposals of underrepresented countries ... read more

French teachers protest university reform

PARIS (médiapart) -- Parcoursup, the new French undergraduate admissions platform is now in action. Despite the law not having yet been officially adopted, teachers and researchers are already fighting a reform, which, according to them, will weaken the already weak. A call to strike on the first of February has been issued ... read more 22.01.2018

Closer regional ties for Danish university

logoSØNDERBORG (jv) -- The University of Southern Denmark in Sønderborg is to strengthen its cooperation with local businesses, and has employed two new consultants for the task. “We would like the university’s knowledge to be available to as many people as possible”, says Frederik Gottlieb, one of the new recruits. Companies that partner with the university will also benefit from state and EU funding ... read more 17.01.2018

Thursday, 25 January 2018 //

Quiet reform in Greek universities

image: Spiros GeorgatosATHENS (efsyn) -- Greek higher education is, despite enduring problems of insular localism and sporadic violent protests, slowly improving according to Spiros Georgatos, president of the Greek National Council for Education and Human Resources Development. He says funding for universities and research is steadily increasing, all while the process of rationalising the country's higher education and research administration makes big progress ... read more 15.01.2018

Apple’s gift to Europe

(iLounge) -- Marketing works wonders: Apple — the firm that tried to evade 13 billion euros in taxes, a sum that could easily double the entire annual education budget of Ireland — expands its ‘Everyone Can Code’ programme to 70 universities in Europe. The full-year course designed to teach coding and app design is a generous present to the world ... read more | and here 22.1.18

Education technology skyrockets

logoBERLIN (twitter) -- Private sector spending and investment in education is increasing. According to the latest UN Education report, spending on both private tutoring and education technology is expected to exceed US$200 billion (€163 billion) in the next five years ... read more 22.01.2018

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 //

Eugenics at UCL

image: CC GothickLONDON (london student) -- A eugenics conference held annually at University College London by an honorary professor (Richard Lynn), the ‘London Conference on Intelligence’, is dominated by a secretive group of white supremacists with neo-Nazi links, a student paper revealed. UCL said in a statement that it had not approved the events and has now launched an internal inquiry ... read more 10.01.2018

Irish universities struggle with Brexit

DUBLIN (ut) -- Only “robust investment” will be enough to allow Irish higher education to weather the challenges of Brexit, which is already posing a threat to Ireland’s links to UK universities, says a new report. What Ireland stands to lose is the common travel area between Southern and Northern Ireland, with consequences for staff and student mobility ... read more 11.01.2018

How to tackle the ‘reproducibility crisis’

image: mshausbauAMSTERDAM (science) -- Scientists, universities, funding agencies, and journals alike should be doing much more to ensure the reproducibility of scientific research, according to a new report. The number of voices calling for fundamental changes in the way science is conducted and published is growing ... read more 16.01.2018

Tuesday, 23 January 2018 //

Hungarian students protest for education reforms

image: ESNABUDAPEST (reuters) -- Thousands of Hungarian university students and schoolchildren protested outside parliament on Friday to demand reform of an education system they say fails to prepare them for life in the 21st century. The students say the system is too rigidly focused on rote-learning and blind memorisation of facts and does not encourage critical thinking or creativity. One leaflet demanded a free choice of textbooks and a bigger student say in educational matters ... read more 19.01.2018

Science advice in decline under Trump

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS (science) -- Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, expert panels that provide key federal agencies with science advice have had fewer members and met less often than at any time since 1997, when the government started tracking such numbers, a new analysis concludes ... read more 18.01.2018

Hungarian universities not to talk to press

coat of armsBUDAPEST ( -- The Hungarian Ministry of National Affairs has sent out letters to vocational training schools, outlining what to do in the event of press inquiries. The schools are now required to write draft replies to the questions and send them on to the ministry, which will provide guidance on how to respond. Similar measures are soon to be introduced in other higher education sectors, but with more power in the hands of rectors and chancellors ... read more 10.01.2018

Monday, 22 January 2018 //

Italian excellence competition

image: VF flickrROME (ilsole24ore) -- The Italian science ministry has announced how it will distribute 1.3-billion euro of an initiative aimed at boosting research excellence. The money will be given out over 5 years to 180 university departments. Among the winners, just 25 were from universities in the poorer south of the country. Minister Valeria Fedeli pledged to use 110 million euro of European Union subsidies to bolster prospects in future excellence competitions for researchers in disadvantaged areas. ... read more 09.01.2018

Erasmus University sitting in court

ROTTERDAM (nos) -- Lars Klappe, chairman of the Student Law Office is taking his university to court. According to him, the practice of stopping students who get below a certain mark from continuing their studies breaks Dutch law. The Erasmus University of Rotterdam wants to hold on to the system in order to keep the dropout rate low ... read more 17.01.2018

Romanian rectors enter the bullring

image: bihorstiriBUCHAREST (adevarul) -- Rectors from Romania’s biggest universities have signed an open letter to Liviu Pop, Minister of Education. They seem to be calling for the dismissal of George Doca, newly appointed director of the Romanian Language Institute, over his lack of scientific credentials, and who fired council members in opposition of his candidacy ... read more 17.01.2018

Saturday, 20 January 2018 //

German award for “extraordinary failure”

logoPOTSDAM (pnn) -- German students have been awarded the 4,0 Award for Extraordinary Academic Failure (4 is the worst grade before failing an exam or degree). Sebastian Pape was rewarded for his thesis “Ethical Investment”, which was written the night before the deadline, and consisted of little more than an introduction. While the ceremony was a fun night for the students, it does highlight a problem in many private universities, which allow students to pass despite terrible performance, letting them essentially buy their degree ... read more 10.12.2017

Friday, 19 January 2018 //

Technological university for Ireland

logoDUBLIN (trinity news) -- A new framework for the promotion of STEM degrees in Ireland has outlined the creation of technological universities in the coming years. The plan sets out to increase the number of apprenticeships and traineeships available, with the promise that by 2025 all university students will be able to undergo a work placement as part of their course ... read more 16.1.18

Greek universities marred by violence

THESSALONIKI (huffington post) -- Incidents of violence are occurring on an almost daily basis in Greek higher education institutions, disrupting their normal function. Just last month, a group of students attacked a rector in Patras, and the University of Athens was invaded during an event, where students were mugged. The Ministry of Education will now take measures to put a stop to this, and is asking for experts’ suggestions towards a solution ... read more 13.01.2018

Fake diplomas in Romania

ALEXANDRIA (hotnews) -- Nearly 500 people issued diplomas from the universities of Alexandru Ghica and Alexandria Ecorries risk losing them, as a lawsuit is being filed against the institutions. They are accused of issuing 15,000 fake diplomas in the fields of economics, and oil and gas ... read more 16.01.2018

Thursday, 18 January 2018 //

Georgia fights academic corruption

image: Georgian ParliamentTBILISI (wenr) -- Georgia has made tremendous strides in reducing corruption. In 2004, the country was ranked 136th out of 145 countries included in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index, now its ranking improved to 44 out of 176. Mariam Jashi, chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Culture even believes that improvements in higher education are such that Georgia can be made more attractive for international students and could become a hub for international education in the region ... read more

Science to take central role in Estonian economy

TALLINN (baltic course) -- According to the country’s prime minister, Jüri Ratas, science is to play a greater role in Estonia’s economy. Ratas has promoted the inclusion of researchers in the creation and development of new products “by raising the incomes of researchers and improving working conditions” ... read more 11.01.2018

Lithuanian university merger

KAUNAS (lietuvosdiena) -- Two struggling universities in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas, the Lithuanian Educational Unversity and the Aleksandras Stulginskis University, are to be become part of the Vytautus Magnus University, in the hope that their situation will improve. There are concerns though, that the VMU will suffer from its new partners, which have been described as “two sick universities – one with the flu, the other with cancer” ... read more 12.01.2018

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 //

Crimean universities see exodus into Ukraine

image: ESNASIMFEROPOL (krymr) -- Crimean students looking to broaden their horizons are leaving the peninsula en-masse, to the Ukrainian mainland. “In Crimea, all the exchange programs are closed, you cannot go anywhere. In mainland Ukraine you get the opportunity to be a citizen of the world” says Vernadsky Vladimir Kazarin, rector of the Tavrida National University, which relocated from annexed Crimea when the Russian government closed it down in 2015 ... read more 08.01.2018

Christmas break longer than expected in Ukraine

KIEV (day kyiv) -- Students at some universities in Ukraine had a longer winter break than usual, in some places two months, and still ongoing. The high price of gas forced institutions to make the choice between continuing work, and forking out for huge energy bills ... read more 19.12.2017

Sweden’s Lund University – unsustainable

logoLUND (lundagard) -- Despite being the highest ranked in Sweden, Lund University has been officially flagged as a cause for concern in regard to environmental sustainability. University director, Susanne Kristensson puts the development down to air-travel, procurement and supply chains, “we have many employees flying between Gothenburg and Stockholm to attend various meetings or seminars. That’s a big problem” ... read more 21.12.2017

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 //

Turkey jails students

image: pen internationalPARIS (turkey purge) -- While many European governments are cozying up with president Erdoğan’s government, Turkey’s prize-winning author Aslı Erdoğan said during a live TV interview in France that people in Turkey “are afraid of breathing, let along tweeting,” as thousands of university students in Turkey have been jailed over tweets across the country ... read more

Limited foreign influence in Russian universities

MOSCOW (uwn) -- The upper house of the Russian national parliament is drawing up a package of measures to restrict external pressure and foreign influence on Russian students and universities ... read more 13.01.2018

Swiss student exchanges go beyond the EU

BERN (swi) -- Switzerland’s Federal Council has agreed to fund a 2.4 million Swiss francs (€2 million) pilot project to facilitate exchange programmes with students from outside Europe, notably the United States, Canada and China ... read more 10.01.2018

Monday, 15 January 2018 //

A graduate tax instead of tuition fees in Italy?

image: CC RoccuzROME (repubblica) -- Pietro Grasso, former anti-Mafia prosecutor and leader of the new social democratic party MDP, has proposed to abolish tuition fees in Italy. The party’s movement “Liberi e uguali” (free and equal) is inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s slogan “For the many, not the few”. The proposal has sparked a debate early in the campaign for the general election in March 2018 as to whether a free university education for all is really feasible and desirable ... read more | and here 07.01.2018

First French Anti-Trump climate change grants

PARIS (heraldnet) -- More than 5,000 people from about 100 countries expressed interest in the “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants — a nod to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan as part of Macron’s efforts to counter Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced the contest for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. A majority of the applicants — and 13 of the 18 winners — were U.S.-based researchers ... read more 11.12.2017

APB est mort, vive Parcoursup!

PARIS (lejdd) -- The new admissions system “Parcoursup” was introduced today in France. It remains to be seen if this will be enough to dispel any doubts about selection. The main difference to the system’s predecessor “APB” is that universities will now get access to students’ dossiers, a duty formerly left to an algorithm ... read more 14.01.2018

Saturday, 13 January 2018 //

Girls drink for free in Italy

image: NASA/Robert MarkowitzROME (ilsole24) -- The Italian teaching, universities and research minister Valeria Fedeli has signed a decree to give financial incentives to girls wanting to study scientific degrees, in an effort to plug the black hole in the transition from school to university. 35 percent of female Italian school leavers choose STEM subjects, but only 15 percent arrive in technical and computer science departments. 64 million euros are designated to incentivise institutions and activities ... read more 08.01.2018
Friday, 12 January 2018 //

Students of former USSR look west

image: ESNAMINSK (eadaily) -- Belarussian and Ukrainian students are increasingly looking to Poland for higher education, where before they may have chosen Russia. In the 2016, the number of foreign students at Polish universities was 65,800, compared with 4,3000 in 1990. More than half of the students in Polish universities are Ukrainians ... read more 29.12.2017

Norway at crossroads with publishers

OSLO (fagpressenytt) -- Since autumn, Norwegian universities have been negotiating new joint subscription agreements with Wiley, and Taylor & Francis, but talks have turned stale, as an agreement can’t be reached on payment. “We are a long way yet from terms and conditions” says Nina Karlstrøm, from the Department of Education ... read more 07.01.2018

Hungarian students plan protest

image: Budapest BeaconBUDAPEST (hirtv) -- A student protest over the dire state of Hungarian public education is being organised by the Independent Student Parliament on the 19th of January. One of the organisers, Viktor Gyetvai has said “We are worried, not only for our own future, but for the future of the whole country” ... read more 08.01.2018

Thursday, 11 January 2018 //

University of Paris by 2019

image: CCPARIS (le monde) -- Parisian universities Paris-Descartes, Paris-Diderot and the Paris Institute of Earth Physics are to merge, forming the aptly named “University of Paris”. The merger will mark a new step on the path towards the unification of the city’s universities ... read more 29.12.17

Norwegian universities hide survey

TRONDHEIM (khrono) -- Several Norwegian universities have gone against the decision of the Joint Complaints Board, in order to keep hidden the results of the so-called ARK survey. This survey charts the working environment and climate issues in the university sector which now demands that the board’s decision be changed. Knut Andreas Bostad of the board says their behaviour is unprecedented ... read more 15.12.2017

Ukrainian education ministry restricts Russian domains

KIEV (tass) -- The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has instructed its employees and those of subordinate institutions to restrict access to the Russian domain zones .ru and .ру. The measure comes as part of Ukraine’s attempt to shore up information security in light of perceived Russian aggression ... read more 29.12.2017

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 //

Publishers reluctant over Dutch open access

schach AMSTERDAM (volkskrant) -- Dutch universities fear a price hike for scientific journals. Since 2015 there has been an arrangement whereby more articles by Dutch scientists are available online. The publisher Springer now wants to see more money from the institutions, whereas the previous government stated that all Dutch scientific articles should be free to read, as the research was funded publicly ... read more 27.12.2017

British universities fear social media backlash

LONDON (telegraph) -- Academics at British universities say they have been forced to leave the country, in order to pursue their research interests as British universities are accused of blocking studies for fear of retaliation on social media ... read more23.12.2017

Elsevier given the cold shoulder

schachBERLIN (nature) -- The subscriptions to Elsevier’s journals of around 200 German institutions have expired with the new year, yet the publisher is allowing them continued access in the hope that a deal can be struck ... read more 08.01.2018