SRHE pre-conference seminar at ECER about European higher education

srheECER 2014 will be held at University of Porto in coming September. As a pre-conference event, SRHE is holding a one day seminar themed “European higher education – exploring effective strategies for turbulent times”. The event takes place Monday 01 September 13.30-18.30.

The organizers state the aim of the seminar to:

  • bring together colleagues from various European countries to discuss how higher education can cope with turbulent times and how to move forward.
  • bring insights into and examples from various European countries on current developments in higher education.
  • provide a meeting point for emerging researchers to discuss current issues and network with established researchers in the field of higher education.

The event includes a keynote speech by Professor Rosemary Deem (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK) and four parallel sessions: (more…)

Researcher position in Italy on governance instruments in education and higher education policy

snsThe Scuola Normale Superiore announces a position as part of the research project “Governance shifts and policy tools mixes in education and higher education policies. A comparative perspective”.

In the last twenty years, scholars in public policy have devoted a lot of attention to the changes in the governance arrangements. The main focus of this stream of research has been on the transformation of governance modes (and of the policy tools adopted) without enough emphasis both on the real policy performance of these changes and on convincing interpretations of the occurred governance shifts. Thus, the research project in which the grant is given is focused on analysing which causal mechanisms have influenced the governance shifts, and ‘whether’, and ‘in what sense’, such “new” governance arrangements and policy instruments mixes have been, and are, effective respect to the expected policy outcomes. To answer these research questions, the project should work both on a small N of cases research strategy and a large N of cases research strategy (in the fields of education and higher education policies).

Within this general framework, according to the indications of the scientific coordinator of the project, prof. Giliberto Capano, the grant holder should focus on the development of an innovative theoretical framework capable to grasp the causal relations between changes in governance arrangement, and policy instruments, with their real effects in education and higher education policies.

Research activities will therefore include:
a) an analysis of the literature on governance changes and policy mixes adopted in education and higher education policies in comparative perspective;
b) the design and the test of policy performance indicators in both education and higher education policies;
c) the selection of best suited methods for the Large N of cases (the 28 EU countries) research strategy and the Small N of cases research strategy (from 3 to 5);
d) implementation of the empirical research;
e) writing of a research report.

Duration of the contract: 2 years.

Application deadline: the application must be received by September 30th 2014 at the Scuola Normale.

More information about the requirements, selection and application process can be found on the  website of the Scuola Normale Superiore. 


Towards more predictable career-paths for young researchers in Germany?

Jens Jungblut  (HEIK/Hedda)

Jens Jungblut

In this post, Hedda’s Jens Jungblut examines a proposal for new career paths for young researchers in German higher education. 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. 

The German Council for Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) is the most important advisory body for higher education policy in Germany. They consult both the federal and the Bundesländer governments in questions relating to the structure and development of higher education and research. In their most recent recommendation they address the career paths for young researchers in German higher education, which especially in the phase following the PhD is characterized as very problematic, and they suggest some fundamental reforms.

The problematic situation for young researchers in Germany

In the view of the Wissenschaftsrat, the career paths at German universities can be characterized as very diverse and not transparent, which makes them hard to navigate and communicate especially internationally. At the moment the main professional aim of an academic career in Germany is obtaining a Chair and becoming a professor, as this gives academic independence and a permanent contract. However, going down this road poses a risk for young researchers, as there is only limited data available on the number of applications and the chances of obtaining a professorship. What is known is that the number of temporary positions, especially for young researchers who are working on obtaining a PhD, has increased by 45% between 2000 and 2012. In the same period, the number of professorial positions and other permanent academic positions stayed more ore less stable. This led to a de-coupling of the different career steps and a situation where one is, relatively speaking, less likely to obtain a permanent position in academia. (more…)

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:  (more…)

OECD regional wellbeing comparison tool

oecdThe OECD has launched a new online interactive tool to compare regions in the world in terms of the indicators for wellbeing. Well-being indicators are grouped according to eight categories, including: access to services, civic engagement, education. jobs, environment, income, health and safety.

The tool includes over 300 regions across OECD countries and an argument for such regional focus is that national composite scores on various performance indicators usually mask large regional differences. The tool shows the scores of the various indicators, positions within the country as well as a comparison across all OECD regions. The scores are also shown in terms of the relative ranking since 2000 and whether the country has been increasing or decreasing relative to other OECD countries. Furthermore, the scores are compared across other regions, so you can identify similar regions across OECD member countries.

However, no overall composite score is provided for the overall positioning of the region in total. Overall, the instrument can also be rather useful in identifying roughly comparable regions according to these particular indicators. The OECD page also allows to download the whole dataset. (more…)