Tag: excellence

PhD positions at INGENIO in Valencia related to higher education and innovation studies

ingenioINGENIO, a joint research centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), has two new doctoral positions available for commencement in early 2015. INGENIO is a research institute focusing on the analysis of science and technology policies, innovation and research systems. It has a staff of over 30 researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including economics, sociology, physics, medicine, engineering and management studies.

Each scholarship includes a fees exemption, an annual salary and social security entitlements. The possibility to apply for additional funding to cover the cost of international stays of up to three months per year is also associated with each PhD scholarship.

Two PhD candidates will be linked to two existing INGENIO projects: 




Do you know an excellent teacher in higher education?

If you think about your learning experiences, which teachers in higher education made the biggest positive impact on your learning? Who stood out as a truly excellent teacher in higher education?

CEUCentral European University (CEU) has announced the third annual European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The award was introduced in 2011 to highlight excellent teaching in higher education institutions in the European Higher Education Area.

The candidates are expected to have an outstanding teaching record and the call highlights that they must have experience with one or more of these practices:

  • applying innovative teaching methods;
  • combining theory and practice, relevance and scholarly excellence;
  • using research elements to achieve excellence in teaching;
  • applying problem-based/problem-oriented teaching;
  • achievements in encouragement of critical thinking;
  • sustained commitment to teaching excellence, rather than one-off achievements.

Eligibility: the candidate must work in social sciences or humanities and work in a higher education institution in the European Higher Education Area, excluding CEUs own staff.

Deadline for proposals: January 20th, 2014.

Do you know of a teacher who you think would be worthy of this award? 

Read more about the application criteria and procedures at CEU website.




Hedda podcast: Autonomy of universities with Dr Tatiana Fumasoli

Episode 42 of our podcast series features dr. Tatiana Fumasoli from ARENA, the Centre of European Studies at the University of Oslo. In the podcast she reflects on the issue of autonomy and shares some preliminary and highly interesting findings on a recent project focused on examining how Norwegian and other Western European universities use and interpret autonomy in the context of balancing excellence with socio-economic relevance.


Listen without the Flashplayer

Tatiana Fumasoli  (ARENA, University of Oslo)

Tatiana Fumasoli
(ARENA, University of Oslo)

Dr. Tatiana Fumasoli is employed as a post-doctoral fellow at ARENA in University of Oslo. She holds a PhD (2011) in Communication Sciences from Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). Her thesis was called ‘Strategy as evolutionary path. Five higher education institutions on the move’. Prior to her PhD she obtained an Executive Master in Communications Manafgement from USI and worked as a researcher at CORe (Centre for Organizational Research) Faculty of Economics at the USI.

She is also a member of the UACES Collaborative Research Network on the European Research Area (ERA-CRN).

Her main research interests are linked to higher education research, management sciences, and organisation theory.




News: World University Rankings 2012-2013 published last week

timesLast week the most recent set of World University Rankings was published. So, the top 10 includes Caltech, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Cambridge, Imperial College of London, UC Berkeley, and Chicago. In essence the same list than last year with just Oxford and Stanford changing their places. The first non-US/non-UK institution was ETZ Zürich on 12th place.

The best Asian university was University of Tokyo on 27th, and THE editor Phil Baty featured in his analysis Alan Ruby who argued that there is a general rise of Asian universities in the list, likely to be linked to the austerity measures in Western universities and the focus on excellence in a number of Asian countries which now is paying off. However, another analysis indicates that the good or better positioning in rankings is not indicative of increasing quality across Asia – for instance in the case of India there is a clear differentiation in terms of institutions and the few highly selective institutions provide few spillovers to the whole system.

The best Nordic university is Karolinska on 42nd place. In Norway, nation wide media wrote about the University of Oslo rising some 17 places – where the rector is commenting how this rise is due to a long term efforts to raise research quality. Odd words after last years “dramatic fall” – which was just as many places down. This indicates that in a two year perspective the position is about the same. But in those  two years this has created two kinds of news – the dedication to research and results on the one hand, and the dramatic fall on the other hand. And one can of course question how many changes there really have been over two years. But one could argue that University of Oslos concerns about falling under the 200 list can be seen as quite grounded in some kind of public perception, considering how the group under 200 in the THE analysis is calledthe best of the rest” or as “they might be giants…or were“.




Growing criticism towards German university alliances?

Jens Jungblut (University of Oslo)

Jens Jungblut (University of Oslo)

In this post, Hedda associate Jens Jungblut examines current developments with the German university alliances. Jens is working at the University of Oslo where he is writing his doctoral dissertation on the relationship between shifts in governments and changes in higher education policy. 

Institutional differentiation is something rather new to the German university landscape. While classically German universities were, and to a large extend still are, characterized by equality of funding and reputation, different recent activities aimed at creating more diversification in the system. The first and most influential of these activities was the excellence initiative by the federal and Länder governments. In a parallel process several universities formed alliances and associations, following the British example of the Russell-Group, to cooperate in a situation of growing competition for funding and students (see also an earlier article on this issue).

Open letter from a rector criticizing university alliances

Recently the debate around the differentiation of the German university system entered a new round. Ulrich Radtke, the rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, published an open letter to the German rectors’ conference, in which he criticized the decision of his colleagues to form university alliances.

The University of Duisburg-Essen is the youngest universities in Germany and not a member of any of the German university associations. It is the result of a recent merger of two smaller universities and characterized by a relatively high percentage of students of non-traditional background.

Radtke criticizes several aspects of the newly established university alliances. He starts off by describing the university alliances as co-operations of the old and large universities against the young and smaller ones that try to enhance their position in a higher education system that is characterized by serious under-funding and student overload. For him the German higher education system offers a lot of excellent research environments but they are to be found on the departmental level and spread between many higher education institutions. For him there are maybe three or four universities in Germany that could claim to be overall stronger than the others, the rest are more or less equal.