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- 2014/15 QSWUR Release
By Martin Ince
The IREG-7 conference in London, organised by QS and its partner organisations, is now only a few weeks away. It will be held at University College London, the fourth-ranked institution in the World University Rankings.
The theme for this conference is Employability and Academic Rankings, although there will be sessions on a full range of rankings topics.
To help us think about the link between university rankings and graduate employability in the global market, we have a distinguished panel of speakers from employers including Airbus, Siemens and others. Contributors from universities, and external observers from bodies such as the World Bank, will look at employability and skills as a new measure of higher education performance. This issue has emerged in recent year as a major concern for universities around the world.
There are also to be strong sessions on current and future rankings systems, globally and increasingly regionally, for example in the Middle East and the BRICS nations. An especially strong set of presentations will look at developments in Russia and Eastern Europe. In addition, the QS Asian University Rankings for 2014 will be released on May 13, immediately before the opening of the conference.
Discussions surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased with an international momentum attracting both proponents and opponents. Perceived as a response to an ever digital and highly connected world, MOOCS are a platform for thousands of courses offered by world class institutions. This global platform continues to grow in popularity expanding far beyond the US. Multilingual platforms are now available in China and France, while Latin American and Middle Eastern initiatives are underway.
MOOCS, however, are still in their infancy and yet to glean global recognition from recruiters.
In order to measure employers’ perspectives, QS Intelligence Unit canvassed recruiters and their position on MOOCs in the annual QS Global Employer Survey.
Recruiters were asked whether they were familiar with MOOCs and of the 4,654 employers who responded, 71% said that they were not.
Perhaps what was most interesting was the regional distribution of responses. The highest proportions of recruiters with awareness or familiarity of MOOCS were based in Eastern Europe and US & Canada, from Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States. Latin America and Western Europe evidenced the greatest proportion of graduate recruiters who were unaware of MOOCs. A greater proportion of recruiters from Africa & Middle East displayed a familiarity in comparison to their Asia Pacific counterparts.
A regional breakdown is presented below:
Those sectors to which respondents responded positively were Consulting (24%), closely followed by Technology (22%) and Industry (17%).
Tracking a quickly evolving initiative such as MOOCs would be essential for higher education sectors and potential students alike. We at QS will continue to monitor the evolution of this phenomenon with the aim of maintaining a pulse on the market.
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.
Dr. Christina Yan Zhang
2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science
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?
3. Application and Deadline
We can only accept applications made online. You will need to visit www.womeninscience.co.uk 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
A possibly dramatic decision affecting Swiss students was implemented in last few weeks. Looking back to 9th February 2014, the Swiss population has voted in a referendum for the limitation of immigration aiming to renegotiate the quotas of European immigration, and a tight majority 50.3% voted in favour of the limitation.
Reacting to this decision, clearly contrary to the principle of the free movement of persons in place with the EU, Switzerland has been excluded from EU programs Horizon and Erasmus for 2014. European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor stated on 26th February 2014 “In the absence of an international agreement on determining the conditions for Switzerland’s association to Horizon 2020 (*), Switzerland does not participate in this programme as an associated country.” and also “As for Erasmus + (**), Switzerland has now missed the time for the 2014 grant award decisions. This means that in 2014, Switzerland will not participate in Erasmus+ on equal footing with Member States as initially envisaged and its participation will be limited to cooperation activities as with any other third country.”
The current economic and political situation in Greece has made its mark on every aspect of Greek society. Education could not be an exception to the rule. According to the published data on the 2014 budget, funding for the Ministry of Education for the coming year stands at a total of 4.587.329.000 Euros, down by 8.1%, corresponding to a net reduction of 400 million Euros.
Out of this budget, 876.873.000 Euros are allotted to Tertiary education and approximately less than 30% of it is investments in infrastructure, equipment and research. The numbers are significantly reduced from 2012; total funds were one billion Euros and earmarked funding for investments and research was higher by 40%.
The QS Applicant Survey 2014 is one of the largest surveys of its kind. It gives valuable insights about the thoughts and aspirations of applicants pursuing an MBA or postgraduate degree. It is compiled by QS, the world’s leading higher and business education specialists, and distributed globally to over 10,000 potential applicants that register for the various QS education fairs held around the world. The results depict a clear picture of the status, attitudes, goals and ambitions of applicants, and how they, and the employment and education markets for young professionals, are changing.
The 2014 survey acquired over 9,000 responses across Masters, MBA, PhD and EMBA applicants. Preliminary results draw interesting comparisons among applicants from Western Europe and US & Canada. 39% of survey respondents are interested in Masters Programs, 62% were drawn towards the MBA programs and 16% of respondents registered an interest in the Executive MBA programs.
75% of the applicants from the US & Canada intend to apply for MBA programs. This is in line with the traditional popularity of MBA programs among American students. On the other hand, MBA programs attract 46% of the Western Europe applicant pool. Executive MBAs are more attractive to candidates from Western Europe, with 20% of the applicants indicating an interest in the program. This observation is another example of the rising popularity of Executive MBA Programs. They offer flexibility with increasing travel opportunities. However, traditional Masters Programs still hold their ground in Western Europe, the proportion of applicants is marginally higher than the MBA.
The gender trends in both regions are equally varied. The chart above presents the current expectations for male and female applicants. There’s a wider gender gap among Western European applicants in comparison to their American and Canadian counterparts.
Once the survey is closed later this year, final results would be interesting to examine. In today’s quick changing environment, trends can change quickly.
Local versus Global Endowment
Shaw’s education endowment is managed through the Shaw Foundation Hong Kong Limited, the Sir Run Run Shaw Charitable Trust, and Shaw Prize Foundation Limited. It supports the local education of the Chinese in mainland China, and through The Sir Run Run Shaw Scholarship Program for Graduate Studies, hundreds of Chinese and other Asian students have been supported to pursuit postgraduate study overseas in the US and UK, at universities including Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge and Oxford.
Possible Actions for national policy makers:
When education institutions think about endowment, alumni fundraising is often their first thought. After all, why should one contribute to the development of an educational institution if one has never been educated there and benefited from this life-changing opportunity?
However, we also know that the sciences are without borders. The Brazilian Government “Sciences Without Borders” scholarship scheme is intended to send 101,000 Brazilian to study STEM subjects and the creative industries at top universities around the world.
Recognising that science knows no frontiers, when he was at his 90s, Shaw established the Shaw Prize, to recognise outstanding achievements in Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences. While astronomers regularly receive the Nobel Prize for physics, and there is a Nobel prize for physiology and medicine, there is none for maths. Since its foundation of 2004, 54 leading scientists from around the world have received this prestigious prize, and seven of them later won the Nobel Prize. The total prize amounts to HK$240 million (£19 million). Due to its growing influence and prestige, the Shaw Prize has been nicknamed the Nobel of the East.
Possible Actions for national policy makers:
Some of these subjects are hot topics for us all nowadays, including Environmental Science, Earth and Marine Science (the subject of the Vetlesen Prize), which helps to address global warming and pollution; and all the engineering and technology related subjects. We now appreciate that 3D printing, invented in 1984, only became global headline news in 2013, and other new subjects are emerging all the time. If a billionaire really wants to spare a few million dollars per year to help the world to become a better place collectively, finding the right discipline to award won’t be that difficult.
Sir Run Run Shaw, the Hong Kong media mogul died on 7th Jan 2013 at the age of 106. In the 48 hours after the news about his death, there were more than 500 pieces of news in English on the subject, and 3,500 in Chinese. Most western media associated the legacy of Sir Shaw with his success in the entertainment industry, especially his work in introducing Kung Fu movies to the west. But instead of adopting this approach, most of the Chinese media featured detailed discussion of his philanthropic activities in the education sector.
According to the official statement from the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, Shaw has donated more than $ 4.75 billion HK dollars (370 million GBP) since 1985 to create more than 6013 education projects covering 31 provinces and cities throughout mainland China. This endowment, benefited tens of millions of students from primary school to university. If we also include the figure of his donation to the healthcare in mainland China, it is a staggering total of more than $ 10 billion HK Dollars (785 million GBP)
On 7th January 2013, a picture demonstrated the distribution of Sir Run Run Shaw Buildings around China become a media sensation in mainland China, it is said that a search for his name in Baidu map, the Chinese google, there are more than 30,000 education, hospital and research buildings in mainland China that are named after him. This picture was named by the Chinese netizens as the picture that “Touched the heart of China”. On day after his death, there are more than 2.5 million results of weibo discussion on “The Sir Run Run Shaw Buildings” in Sina Weibo, the Chinese twitter. A current trend is for people to take photos of the lecture halls, and libraries donated by and named after Shaw, where they have spent years studying. The idea is to show their respect to this philanthropist, who is widely considered as PRC’s greatest private contributor to the education sector ever.
What could the rest of the world learn from the role of Sir Run Run Shaw in his philanthropic activities in the education sector?
A search for “Yifu”, the Chinese name of Sir Run Run Shaw in Baidu, there are more than 30,000 results. A picture that is considered “Touched the Heart of China”.
The Sir Run Run Shaw Foundation will only consider fundraising proposal recommended by a selected pool of experts employed by the Ministry of Education in the PRC. Also higher education institutions which submit proposal for endowment are required to commit to fundraise three times the funds donated by the foundation. So once a university submits a proposal to the foundation, it will already have official backup from the municipal or provincial governments who will be committing to finance the rest of the project to make the submission eligible, or alternatively, the institutions themselves will need to finance the rest.
For example, in 1986, Sir Shaw donated HK$110 million to 11 Chinese universities. Each of those 11 Chinese universities either gets another HK$30 million from its municipal or provincial government, or manages to finance the rest itself.
Possible Actions for national policy makers:
Universities are widely considered to be the phase of education with the biggest potential returns for individual venture capitalists, investors or entrepreneurs. The majority of fund receiving by the education sector goes to higher education, rather than to schools or further education.
However, further education has played a crucial role in the upgrading of some of society’s most deprived communities. For example, it is a central part of the European Commission’s life-long learning agenda.
In the case of Shaw, 80 per cent of his endowment went to schools, special schools and technical institutions, and only 20 per cent to universities.
Possible Actions for national policies makers:
Please click here to read Part 2 of this article.