October 7, 2015
Bernardo Rondelli
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Transdisciplinary research projects: a matter of evaluation or education?

During a review of a series of research project proposals, I quite frequently came across the phrase: ‘…and the project proposes a truly transdisciplinary approach’.  The word ‘truly’ caught my attention and prompted me to raise a discussion about what a transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approach means in research. In the common view, multidisciplinarity draws on knowledge from different disciplines but stays within their boundaries. Interdisciplinarity analyses, synthesises and harmonises links between disciplines into a coordinated and coherent whole. Transdisciplinarity transcends their ...
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March 6, 2015
José Luis Mateos
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Critical approaches to education-based meritocracy: the case of Britain

Starting in the post-war socio-political milieu and throughout the second half of the 20th century, Britain witnessed dramatic expansion of its Higher Education system. This is very much related to the ‘modernisation theory, which some 40 years ago predicted that the development of industrial societies would require workers to be ever more highly educated and occupational roles to be allocated increasingly on the basis of achieved rather than ascribed characteristics’ (Boliver 2011, p.230). This post will review a set of policy efforts ...
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October 20, 2014
Luca Giocoli
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FP7 and H2020: what else for Universities?

In this post we will identify some financial tools that the European Union provides to entities and citizens of Member States in order to help to create a Europe based on equity, technological progress and of course sustainability, among other things. In line with our approach, we are going to focus on the reason that can inspire European Universities to join this plan and to use those tools. Cohesion Policy: one more chance to get funding from the EU In terms of its ...
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July 17, 2014
Naël Desaldeleer
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Deciphering the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)

These days we are witnessing attempts to build a single, pan-European sphere of higher education and research (HE&R) in the fight against national area segmentation. The Bologna Process and its reform of academic degrees is well known, but is it really clearly understood? As the original Bologna Process formally ended in 2010, the time has come to examine the first results. Since it will gradually come to shape all activities in the field, how HE&R stakeholders understand it will be crucial ...
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May 19, 2014
José Luis Mateos
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U-Multirank: SIRIS Academic first impressions

After the contentious launching of the European Comission-powered U-Multirank, press and stakeholders have raised their voice with both positive and negative comments on the system. We have also decided to put forward our preliminar views on U-Multirank in this post. Last Tuesday 13 May, the European Commission officially launched the U-Multirank, an international higher education ranking that allows “users to compare the performance of institutions” out of 30 indicators “across five dimensions of higher education and research activities: a) teaching and learning, ...
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April 24, 2014
Solange Chavel
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Internationalisation of higher education: what are we talking about?

Internationalisation of higher education is a trend. It appears as a necessity and attracts a considerable amount of attention, both within academia and politics. But as all buzzwords, it thrives with ambiguity. Here we will attempt to clarify the concept by distinguishing three different reasons a higher education institution might be called “international”.  1. International = star player A higher education institution may first be called “international” if it is globally attractive and has a reputation of excellence in what it does. The ...
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March 10, 2014
Florian Amon
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Higher Education in the International Development Agenda

In the agenda for international development cooperation, Higher Education is seldom a priority area. Sector strategies often focus on primary education to provide a basis for improving a country's quality of education. This article discusses the motivation for supporting Higher Education in the international development agenda. It does not advocate the need to put Higher Education in the centre of development efforts, but it does emphasise the multi-dimensional impact that properly run Higher Education institutions have on the development of a ...
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January 31, 2014
Naël Desaldeleer
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The so-called French university crisis: facts and self-fulfilling ideology

Not a week goes by in France without some newspaper headline about the university crisis, but it is also time to talk numbers concerning this matter. Reviewing an empirical study by two French sociologists, we find that the crisis is not the one we are told. There is a persistent rumour that public universities are in crisis, and this notion is also prevalent in France. Over the last decade, the world of public higher education and research has been subject to many ...
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November 27, 2013
Naël Desaldeleer
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How to speak the language of French Higher Education and Research Part 2: Glossary

With its grandes écoles, non selective universités and ever increasing number of acronyms, the French system of Higher Education and Research has always been difficult to understand. However, even France seems willing to try to change. This does not mean that no new acronyms have been invented (PRES, FCS, IDEX, CGI, etc.), but it does mean that France has prepared itself to enter the global landscape of Higher Education and Research. In 2011, after five years of reforms, a new landscape ...
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November 27, 2013
Naël Desaldeleer
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How to speak the language of French Higher Education and Research Part 1: Translating the reforms of 2011

With its grandes écoles, non selective universités and ever increasing number of acronyms, the French system of Higher Education and Research has always been difficult to understand. However, even France seems willing to try to change. This does not mean that no new acronyms have been invented (PRES, FCS, IDEX, CGI, etc.), but it does mean that France has prepared itself to enter the global landscape of Higher Education and Research. In 2011, after five years of reforms, a new landscape ...
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