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France: monthly minimum wage for student interns to increase to 554€

A new law has been implemented in France to regulate student internships that will last at least two months and up to six months. However, for any student internship lasting less than a couple of months, the recruiter has a choice to pay the intern or not. This law has been more than welcome by students considering student internships are compulsory for most Bachelors and Master’s degrees students to graduate from higher education institutions and students usually need to spend more than usual to attend the internship.

Not only the minimum monthly pay is increasing but students will also benefit from the tickets restaurants when the company is providing them to its employees, coupons that can be used at many supermarkets, restaurants or cafés in France that were originally provided only to staff and excluding interns, usually costing the employer 50%-60% of its value and the staff the remaining 40%-50%.
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QS University Rankings:Asia 2013

Best Student Cities 2015

The QS Best Student Cities 2015 index was released today. Paris remains in top place, with a number of ranked universities and as a hub of employer activity. It also performed well on the Student Mix and Desirability indicators.

The Australian city of Melbourne, climbed up the ranking from fifth place to take second place, outperforming London who held this position last year. Melbourne has a number of ranked universities and scored the highest of any city for its diverse student mix. Being rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking as on of the most liveable cities in the world, Melbourne scored well on the Desirability indicator. It also scored strongly on Employer Activity. Like the other Australian cities in the index, Melbourne scored less well on the Affordability indicator.

London slipped to third place, scoring lower than many other cities on Desirability and struggling on the Affordability indicator. London however holds its place in the top three due to the high concentration of top ranked universities, as the top city in the world on the Employer activity indicator and with a strong student mix.

Having studied in both Melbourne and London, I have found them both great cities to study and live in. There are things that I have loved about being a student in both of these cities that aren’t perhaps so easily captured by the indicators of the index. I loved Melbourne’s thriving arts scene, fantastic café-culture, and multi-ethnic character. London on the other hand is a bustling global hub of business and culture – home to some of the world’s greatest cultural institutions, with a fascinating history, eclectic nightlife, and a wonderful melange of diversity. This mix of experiences wonderfully enhanced the formal education I was receiving.

There are numerous factors that students consider when choosing where to study, and the QS Best Student Cities is one of the tools that students may use to help them find what’s most important to them. Check out the full results.


L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowships


There has been a lot of discussion to support more students to study STEM subjects in the UK and Ireland, as a special efforts to support long term economic growth. It is the same with many other countries around the world.

However, how to support women to play a more active role in STEM subjects never seems to be easy.

I used to sit on the Education Committee of the UK National Commission For UNESCO. I recently come across this prestigous international fellowship to women in science. I thought I should do a short blog about it so that people who are interested in it could find out more.

Hope you will find it useful.

Best regards,

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang



2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science

1.      Introduction
The L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science are awards offered by a partnership between L’Oréal UK & Ireland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society, to promote, enhance and encourage the contribution of women pursuing their research careers in the UK or Ireland in the fields of the life and physical sciences.

The National Fellowships are offered under the umbrella of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Programme, which has promoted women in scientific research on a global scale since 1998.

Four Fellowships will be awarded in 2014 to outstanding women scientists in the early stages of their career to enable and/or facilitate promising scientific research. The Fellowships are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of postdoctoral research in any area of the life or physical sciences.

The value of each fellowship is £15,000 (equivalent € for candidates in Ireland). The Fellowships are designed to provide flexible support. The prize money can be spent in innovative ways to enable women scientists to pursue and continue their research careers – such as buying equipment, paying for childcare or funding travel costs to an overseas conference.



2.  Who is Eligible?


  • Candidates must be female postdoctoral level researchers who have already been awarded their research doctorate in the fields of life or physical science.
  • Candidates must have no more than 10 years’ active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks, but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).
  • Candidates must not currently hold a permanent academic post, or have ever held a permanent academic post in the past, or have received, before the start date of the award, the promise of a permanent academic post.
  • Candidates must be undertaking research in the life or physical sciences. Computer science, engineering, mathematics, psychology, science education and social sciences are not eligible for this Fellowship.
  • Candidates must be conducting their research at a UK or Irish university or research institute.
  • Candidates must be a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA), or a Swiss citizen, or have permanent residence status in the UK or Ireland; and must be residing in the UK or Ireland at the time of application.
  • Applications are welcomed from candidates who wish to establish/re-establish themselves after a career break or other period of absence from active research or where the candidate is establishing a research career as a mature entrant or after experience in other fields.



3.     Application and Deadline
We can only accept applications made online. You will need to visit to create an account and complete an application.

Closing date: 14th March 2014 at midnight (BST)




4. Criteria are as follows:
1) Intellectual merit of candidate
· Academic records
· Ability to interpret and communicate research findings
· Evidence of originality, initiative and productivity
· Strong recommendation in reference letters (two requested)

2) Clearly articulated research proposal
· The relevance of the research and its impact
· The originality of the research proposal
· The proposal should be presented in a clear and compelling way

3) How the fellowship will enhance the candidate’s career and/or assist with a successful return to scientific research
· Whether the candidate has made a convincing case for the difference that this fellowship will make to her.



5.  Key Dates
· Applications website will be open from the 1st February – 14th March 2014 (Midnight)
· Reader assessment of applications takes place between 28th March – 8th May 2014
· Jury assessment of applications takes place between 9th May – 29th May 2014
· Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by phone and by email on Friday 30th May 2014
· Assessment day and awards ceremony takes place on Thursday 19th June 2014
2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science Application Terms & Conditions



6. Further Information
For further information, visit or email



A French university to be established in the UK

Université Paris-Dauphine, one of France top 20 best universities according to the 2013 QS World University Rankings® – ranked globally at 358 – has announced in early December 2013 it will launch a degree in London. The institution will enrol students that will complete a Bachelor’s degree in Economy and Management with classes of approximately 30 students. Université Paris-Dauphine is aiming at enrolling in majority students coming from international French high schools such as the reknown independent school Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London.

The degree will start operating in September 2014, based in the Institut Français in South Kensington, right next to the primary and secondary French high school, Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, that enrols about 4,000 pupils aged 3 to 18.
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Paris named world’s best student city once again

The City of Light is still the world’s best place to be a student. Paris has won the QS Best Student Cities ranking for 2014 with 417 points from a possible 500, just two more than London.

The QS Best Student Cities ranking measures cities with at least two world ranked universities, on a range of criteria. It looks at how highly-ranked its universities are, how international its student body is, at its quality of life, at its affordability, and at how enthusiastic employers are about hiring the graduates from its institutions. We collect data on 98 cities, and publish the top 50.

This is the second time we have analysed student cities in this way, and Paris and London have been first and second both times. While London has the largest number of world-ranked universities and a more international student community, Paris is a lot more affordable as a place to study.

Employers, we find, are keen on both Paris and London, but their favourite destination is Singapore. The island state is third in this ranking, partly because of its high standard of living as well as its recruiter-friendliness. Next are Sydney, with a very high standard of living, and Melbourne, top worldwide for the size and diversity of its student body. The rest of the top 10 include one more Asian entry, from Hong Kong, two from continental Europe, Zurich and Munich, and two from North America. These are the Boston/Cambridge conurbation, home to Harvard, MIT and other top institutions, and Montreal.

Of the five measures used to draw up this ranking, three come from the data used in the main QS World University Rankings. The institution rankings score comes from the number of ranked institutions in each city, their average position, and the standing of the top-rated university. The student mix measure is based on the percentage of students in the city’s population and the share of them from overseas. And the employer activity measure makes use of the exclusive QS survey of national and global employers to discover the cities from which they most like to recruit.

Of the other two measures we use, quality of living comes from a world survey carried out by Mercer, the global business information specialists, and data from GaWC, a world city survey produced by Loughborough University in the UK. Vienna is the winner on this measure.

Finally, our affordability indicator combines two things a potential student needs to know. The first is the average level of tuition fees, and this is weighted especially highly in the calculation. Then we add three lower-weighted elements to capture the essentials of student life: Mercer’s city cost of living index; the Economist Intelligence Unit’s celebrated Big Mac index, reflecting perhaps the reality of student consumption; and the price of an iPad, collected in cities around the world by Commsec, part of Commonwealth Bank in Australia. It turns out that Argentina has the world’s priciest iPads, despite which Buenos Aires, 33 in our table, is by no means one of the dearest of our top 50 cities. Malaysia is the cheapest place to buy one, and partly as a result, Kuala Lumpur is indeed the lowest-cost student city in the table.

This ranking does contain some surprises, such as the absence of Cambridge (UK), which is home to only one ranked university. And while some of the top 10 succeed partly through having a large number of good universities (Paris, London, Boston and Hong Kong among them), Munich, Zurich and Singapore have only two each, both regarded very highly. The table also shows that while Munich and Zurich both enjoy high living standards, Munich is far more affordable.



Chinese cities are among world’s best student cities

London, 20th November, 2013: The interesting thing about the 2nd QS Best Student Cities, for me, someone who was “Made in China” is that: Chinese cities are also named as two of the top 50 cities in the world for students.

 The results, released today, see Hong Kong is ranked 7th among all Chinese cities, and the second highest-ranked Asian city. Beijing is named as  Mainland China’s top-ranked city at 18th; while Shanghai ranks at 35th.

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France and international students – a perspective

In the current context of internationalization and increased competition between universities and countries, attracting international students is a major challenge all countries have to take – including France. France has already an excellent potential since it is the 4th country with the most international students, after the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia – and the 1st non-English-speaking country, before Germany[1]. This trend is confirmed by the latest QS World University Rankings. Unsurprisingly, French universities perform the best in the International Students index, with 15 institutions in the top 200 in this indicator. This is opposed to only five French universities in the top 200 for the overall rankings.

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students olympics

European Universities Games held in Spain

While the UK is busy undergoing the final preparations for this year’s Olympics, Spain has been playing host to the first European Universities Games.

Organized by the European Universities Sports Association (EUSA), this first edition of the European Universities Games was held in Cordoba, in southern Spain, between 13 and 23 July 2012.

More than 2,500 students took part, representing teams from 151 universities in 32 European nations.

During the ten days of the Games, these teams participated in a total of 667 sports matches, competing to be named the champions in ten different sports.

A glance at the final results of the contests gives an overview of the wide range of universities taking part – and the diverse sporting strengths of Europe’s students.

However, while teams from many different countries were named as champions, several nations had a particularly good run. Read more


QS Best Student Cities 2012: post-launch effects

The first global ranking of student cities, published last month by QS, caused a stir around the world, reaching more than 500,000 people on Twitter and attracting more than 1 million hits on the website.

Paris edged out London as the top city, benefiting from a concentration of leading universities with low study costs. Four continental European cities appeared in the top ten, while both Melbourne and Sydney reached the top six for Australia.

QS Best Student Cities Ranking rated the top 50 cities on student mix, quality of living, employer activity and affordability. Public information, published surveys and data gathered in the production of the QS World University Rankings were combined to produce scores.

Cities had to have at least two world-ranked universities to be included. Edouard Husson, Vice-Chancellor of the Universities of Paris, said the city’s triumph in the first QS student cities ranking had been welcomed both by the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, and by President Sarkozy. He said the accolade reflected the huge amount of work taking place in French universities and especially in Paris, with its high density of leading institutions.

Nunzio Quacquarelli, the chief executive of QS, said the success of Paris also reflected the affordability of study at French universities. Both domestic and international students could attend leading institutions at low cost. The ranking was welcomed in student cities across the world.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was delighted that second-placed London had been confirmed as one of the best places on earth to study. “We have more bookshops than New York, more museums than Paris (which, by the way, are free) and less rainfall than Rome,” he said. “What’s not to like about London?” Other city leaders were almost as pleased as Mr Johnson.

In Dublin, for example, Andrew Montague, the Lord Mayor, said that the city’s appearance in the top 10 worldwide was “hugely useful” in raising its profile among prospective students. Media organisations in 30 countries reported on the ranking.

Forbes Magazine said the results would be welcomed by those who “enjoy bashing education in America” since Boston was the only US city in the top 10. However, Chicago, San Francisco and New York all joined it in the top 20. Students and alumni competed for bragging rights on social networking sites, where discussion continues on the relative merits of different cities. More than a fortnight after the ranking appeared, Amanda Drolet was still extolling the virtues of Boston on Twitter, while others argued for Berlin, Montreal and Barcelona.