LEIDEN: Researchers find UK universities to suffer Brexit fallout

UK university-indstury links ‘set to suffer’ after Brexit

Large research-intensive universities in the UK are most at risk of having their collaborative links with industry damaged by Brexit, according to a report with the title UK Universities Interacting with Industry: Patterns of research collaboration and inter-sectoral mobility of academic researchers. This report was presented at the Centre for Global Higher Education’s annual conference on the 1st of March in London by Professor Robert Tijssen and Dr Alfredo Yegros from Leiden University. Together with a third author, Wout Lamers, also from Leiden, they have been measuring the relations between British universities and industry, with a particular focus on academic collaboration with companies based in other EU member states. They found that 24% of academic-industry connections among the 47 most research-active British universities were with companies in the EU, an average of 40% of the co-publications with foreign companies included at least one firm located in an EU member state. Speaking to University World News, Tijssen said: ‘There are several reasons why research links with European companies would be at risk from Brexit. In the case of European Commission-funded research, UK universities are likely to have less access to European Union funding and it will be harder for them to be research project coordinators. They might have to renew or renegotiate contractual arrangements, notably on intellectual property rights issues, that are now covered by standardised European R&D contracts that apply equally to all member states.’

Based on a story by Nic Mitchell (02-03-2017): http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170302205045714

PRAGUE: Rector defends rights of anarchist student

The Rector of the Charles University, Professor Tomáš Zima, has stepped into a row over the threatened expulsion of a Russian anarchist student, whose student visa has been revoked by the Czech authorities. In an open letter to Interior the Czech Minister Milan Chovanc (ČSSD), the Rector argues that the move against the student, Igor Ševcov, was “totally disproportionate”. Ševcov was originally indicted for throwing ‘fire bottles’ at the House of the Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO), though in the end he was charged only with keeping look-out for his colleagues who were spraying slogans. He was banned from public demonstrations for three years. According to supportive news sources, his visa was revoked due to an administrative error related to the earlier charges. The Rector is now appealing to return his visa, for fear that his life would be threatened in Russia. Professor Zima argues that Ševcov has already been politically persecuted in Russia, and would face further persecution for his political views, and lose his chance to finish his studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, where he is seen as a diligent student. In his recent annual University address, Professor Zima promised to defend truth, democracy and freedom.


Barcelona: Anti-LGBT phobia law

Pompeu Fabra has approved an initiative to allow transexuals, transgenders and intersexuals, to change their names on internal University documents, “to guarantee their right to be called by the name corresponding to the gender they identify with.” The move allows use of a different name to the one that appears on their official IDs in all internal, non-legal, matters, such as student cards, intranet practices, emails, and class lists. It is part of a wider inter-university project being coordinated by UPF, to apply the 11/2014 ‘anti-LGTBIphobia law’ into higher education. The law establishes conditions to enacts the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people in all areas of social life, and “contribute to the overcoming of stereotypes that negatively affect the social perception of these people.”  For more on the law, see here, and on the UPF initiative, see here (Spanish sources).

MADRID: Students urged to become eco-friendly

Madrid students encouraged ‘to go green’

A major ‘eco’ campaign is being launched by the Complutense University to persuade its students to become more environmentally aware and to reduce the impact of their so-called Botellóns (Spanish for ‘big bottle’) parties or get-togethers when 100s of bottles and other debris can be left scattered on sites. The campaign, being run jointly with the Madrid City Council, is known as the 4R Campus Joven initiative – to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recollect the refuse, especially of course the plastic bottles. These Botellóns outdoor parties, which are particularly popular among students, are deemed to be causing significant ecological damage on the University campuses and public sites due. Now the aim for the Complutense and the City Council is to adapt behaviour towards “a more eco-responsible leisure culture”.

OXFORD: Survey shows internet ‘taking over lives’ 

The number of Brits using the internet has reached 78% of those aged 14 years or more, compared with 59% in 2003 – yet more than half do it without enthusiasm, and nearly one in six (14%) feel the internet is ‘taking over their lives and invading their privacy’. These results, from a recent survey conducted by the University’s Oxford Internet Institute, a partner in Europaeum activities, also showed an additional one-third (37%) had ‘no strong feelings either for or against’. The report is based on face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 2,000 UK internet users. One noteworthy trend is a levelling off in the popularity of social networking sites with two-thirds (61%) of internet users, using them, after explosive growth until 2011. Most users of social network sites are under 35, but with a substantial rise in users aged 45-54 years – from 10% in 2007, to 51% in 2013. The digital divide in Britain continues to narrow, suggests the report, with those never going online falling from 23% in 2011 to 18% in 2013. Yet while everyone owns a tv, one-quarter (24%) do not have a computer. Lead researchers Professor William Dutton and Dr Grant Blank said although the internet – developed after the discovery of the world wide web 25 years ago – is an integral part of most people’s lives in Britain today, half of Brits appear to use it without enthusiasm. “These are people who use the internet because they have to, not because they want to. They don’t go online to enjoy themselves and they don’t feel more productive online. They also perceive problems, particularly with regard to privacy, frustration and wasted time.”