International Higher Education Roundup: 8 December 2011

QS Staff Writer

Updated September 12, 2021 Updated September 12

The guide to higher education news from around the world.

European Commission proposes increasing research funding by €30 billion

The European Commission (EC) has proposed increasing funding for research and innovation by US$30 billion as part of its Horizon 2020 program, which will dictate the EC’s scientific policy between 2014 and 2020. The total figure being touted stands at €80 billion, which massively eclipses the €50 billion earmarked in the current program, which commenced in 2007.

Of the total funds, €24.6 billion will be dedicated purely to scientific research (including a 77% increase in funding for the European Research Council), €17.9 billion to industrial leadership in innovation (€13.7 billion is reserved for key technologies), and €31.7 billion to pan-European concerns such as health, food and transport. €2.8 has been allocated to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which has provided 1,500 students with funding since 2008 (the goal is 25,000). The proposals, if they are passed, will see a 16-fold rise in the number of students who will receive funding during their studies.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU commissioner for research, said that one of the main goals of Horizon 2020 would be to provide economic stimulus by turning scientific breakthroughs into business opportunities.

Full story: University World News

Number of US research doctorates falls

The National Science Foundation has revealed that, for the first time since 2002, the number of students earning research doctorates in the US fell in 2010, by around 3%. The drop can be partially explained by certain categories of doctorates being reclassified as professional qualifications. However it is also notable that the number of science and engineering doctorates awarded has also fallen, from 33,466 a year before to 33,141.

Other figures that were revealed were an increase in the proportion of doctorates awarded to females (up to 40.9%) as compared to males, and a continued drop in the proportion in doctorates awarded to foreign students – down to 34.3% from 34.8% in 2009, and particularly accentuated in science and engineering, where it fell from 36.6% to 34.1%.

Humanities and ‘letters’ both, however, saw small increases – though it should be borne in mind that these doctorates will have been commenced pre-recession. As funding is pulled from the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, it is likely this will not be the case in the future.

Full story: Inside Higher Education

Hanyang University to open branches across Asia

South Korea’s Hanyang University (ranked 314 in the 2011 QS World University Rankings®) has announced plans to open up branch colleges in countries where Korea has a strong economic and cultural presence. The first of these will be a technical institution in Malaysia, which is currently being referred to as the ‘Hanyang Malaysia Institute of Technology’. It is intended that the school, which will take 2,400 students across ten undergraduates programs (including engineering science, business administration and electronics), will open its doors in 2014.

Other countries which have been identified as potential locations for branch campuses are Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The university already has two institutes in China, through which many Chinese students have come to study at the university’s original Korean campus.

As well as this internationalization policy, Hanyang is also forging links with large technology companies, such as Samsung, with which it has set up a software research department.

Full story: The Korea Times

Obama administration calls for more urgency in dealing with high college costs

On Monday, the president of the USA, Barack Obama, met privately with some of the biggest names in US higher education to discuss the issue of college affordability. Attendees reported that the president called for more urgency in dealing with spiralling college costs, a major obstacle when it comes to improving completion and participation rates – issues which the Obama administration has identified as key to closing the attainment gap.   

According to Thomas J. Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College, one thing that emerged from the meeting was that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach would not be taken to policy, as the different sectors of American higher education were too different for this to work (notably – and somewhat controversially – for-profit colleges were not represented  at the talks).

It was emphasized that lowered costs had come in the light of decreased funding, putting pressure on universities to improve financial management and administration.

Full story: Chronicle of Higher Education

Shortages in accommodation lead to calls to halve number of international students in the Netherlands

A representative of the Dutch Freedom Party, a political party which supports but is not part of the ruling minority coalition, has called for the number of international students in the Netherlands to be halved. Such a reduction, the argument goes, will help ameliorate a long-term student housing shortage in the country, currently estimated to stand at around 30,000 rooms.  To partially deal with this shortage the government has recently announced plans to build accommodation for 16,000 students.

The Freedom Party, however, believes this is an inadequate number, and believes the only way to deal with the problem is to see that the number of students coming into the country matches those going out. The current figures stand at 80,000 and 40,000 respectively. The government has responded that it believes that foreign and domestic students should be treated equally, and the Dutch National Union of Students has stated that foreign students were very important for the Netherlands.

In recent years, the shortage has seen many foreign students who have been promised rooms being housed in bungalows and caravans, a long way from the campuses at which they are studying. Many have reported paying full rent while sharing rooms with an excessive number of roommates. Some universities have taken the line of only guaranteeing a certain number of foreign students’ housing.

The European Students Union has reacted to the Freedom Party’s call by suggesting that if limitations were placed on the number of foreign students going into the Netherlands, other countries should place restrictions of the number of Dutch students they accepted.

This article was originally published in October 2012 . It was last updated in September 2021