Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 335

Universities and university autonomy

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 aprile 2011

Around 450 university leaders and other higher education stakeholders gathered last week (13-15 April) at Aarhus University, Denmark for the EUA Annual Conference on the theme “Investing today in talent for tomorrow”. Europe’s future as a dynamic competitive global region will depend largely on its ability to increase the number of highly trained people within EU Member States and to attract others from abroad. The meeting in Aarhus highlighted that developing and nurturing more talented individuals is already central to the mission of European universities. One of the most striking developments in recent years in this respect has been the rapid development of doctoral (PhD) education within universities. The establishment of structured doctoral programmes and schools has rapidly become the norm in Europe. Other recent changes have also included improved university-industry partnerships and rapid internationalisation of universities. At the same time, universities face a number of challenges in developing talent – not least because of increasing global competition to attract and retain the best researchers and students. At a time when the EU is preparing priorities and budgets for the next financial period (2014-2020) the conference examined the elements that condition successful strategies for developing talent and will determine universities contribution to the EU2020 agenda for ‘Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth’ . Participants discussed different ways of embedding research from the undergraduate level onwards and underlined how engaging undergraduate students in research improves their overall educational experience and increases interest in pursuing research careers. They also analysed different ways of creating greater critical mass which makes it easier for universities to develop better career opportunities and structures for young researchers. As employers, universities themselves also play a crucial role in developing talent.  University leaders agreed, for example, that they will need to: improve support to young researchers in writing their first grant proposal, or through transversal skills development; provide clear recruitment and exit procedures; and do more to retain staff through a set of institutional benefits such as supplementary pension schemes, support for international mobility and competitive wages. They will also need to put in place the additional human resource (HR) management needed to support international recruitment. University rectors/presidents/vice-chancellors will also have to focus on mentoring and grooming the next generation of university leaders.

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