HEIRRI project is looking for institutions to pilot a course on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

The Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques is currently working on the Higher Education in Responsible Research and Innovation (HEIRRI – www.heirri.eu) project, a European Horizon2020 funded project under the call Science for Society. This project aims to promote Responsible Research and Innovation in higher education, and specifically it will provide teaching/training materials in different formats for higher education institutions to integrate into the curriculums of their degrees, or for specific workshops.

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a term used widely in Europe, we are aware that it is not used in other parts of the world, but it basically focuses on six dimensions (there are some additional definitions but the ideas are similar):

  1. Engagement: It implies that societal challenges should be framed on the basis of widely representative social, economic and ethical concerns and common principles on the strength of joint participation of all societal actors – researchers, industry, policymakers and civil society.
  2. Gender Equality: Addresses the underrepresentation of women, indicating that human resources management must be modernized and that the gender dimension should be integrated in the research and innovation content.
  3. Science Education: Faces the challenge to better equip future researchers and other societal actors with the necessary knowledge and tools to fully participate and take responsibility in the research and innovation process.
  4. Open Access: States that RRI must be both transparent and accessible. Free online access should be given to the results of publicly funded research (publications and data).
  5. Ethics: Requires that research and innovation respects fundamental rights and the highest ethical standards in order to ensure increased societal relevance and acceptability of research and innovation outcomes.
  6. Governance: Addresses the responsibility of policymakers to prevent harmful or unethical developments in research and innovation. The latter is a fundamental basis for the development of the rest of the dimensions.

The HEIRRI project calls on higher education institutions from all continents interested in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and its integration into the curricula for a pilot test of two of the training programs and materials developed by the HEIRRI project. 




Call for applicants: 5 PhD positions in higher education at INCHER, Germany

Interested in doing a PhD in higher education? INCHER-Kassel has announced 5 PhD positions! Note that the deadline is shortly, already on 15th of March 2017.

The positions are part of a new doctoral training programme, titled: “Changing dynamics of elite production? The role of higher education for career trajectories in different societal fields”. The positions are fully funded over three years.

Applicants are required to have an above average university degree in social sciences or economics and profound competences in empirical research in social science or economics, experience with quantitative and qualitative empirical research are desirable, and the candidates are expected to be able to communicate in English and German. Prior knowledge in relevant research themes and data analysis software are of advantage.

Download the call here for more information and specifications of requirements

The International Centre for Higher Education Research Kassel (INCHER-Kassel) is an interdisciplinary research centre in higher education research. The centre was established in 1978. The centre has four research areas: Students and GraduatesChange of KnowledgeGovernance and OrganizationInnovation and Transfer

 




Guest bloggers: The Politics of Higher Education Policies. Unravelling the Multi-level, Multi-actor, and Multi-issue dynamics

Dr. Jens Jungblut (INCHER, Kassel)

This guest entry is written by guest editors of a recent special issue in Policy and Society: Meng-Hsuan Chou, Jens Jungblut, Pauline Ravinet, and Martina Vukasovic. They briefly introduce the key focus of the special issue and describe the “three multi-s”.

In this thematic issue of Policy and Society (all contributions are openly accessible), we highlight the multi-level, multi-actor, and multi-issue (the ‘multi-s’) nature of public policy using the case of higher education policies.

We begin with an overview of how the global shift towards knowledge-based economies and societies has placed ‘knowledge’ at the core of contemporary public policy and policymaking. The governance of knowledge, however, is not a neatly contained policy coordination exercise: it requires collaboration across multiple policy sectors that may have previously experienced very little or less interaction. For example, we can think of a (non-exhaustive) list of relevant policy areas to include, such as higher education, research, trade, foreign policy, development, or migration. In our view, higher education policy coordination is thus permeated with respective sectoral concerns, with discussions taking place across distinct policy arenas, sometimes in silos, both inside and outside of formal government channels.

While the above characterization brings forth the multi-issue aspect competing for attention in higher education policy coordination, we suggest that it also points to the presence of multiple actors: state actors from different ministries or agencies, representatives from universities and businesses, other non-state actors (interest groups, stakeholder organizations), as well as users of such coordinative outputs (concerned parents, students, as well as employers). As regular readers of this blog would recognize: the multi-issue and multi-actor features of higher education policy coordination often result in duplication, competition, inconsistencies, clashing priorities, and even potential bureaucratic and political conflict (Braun, 2008; Peters, 2015)—all symptoms of horizontal policy coordination challenges (Gornitzka, 2010).




Call for participants: summer school in St. Petersburg – “Higher education and social inequality”

The Institute of Education at National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow), China Institute for Educational Finance Research and Graduate School of Education at Peking University invite earlier career researchers and doctoral students to apply to the upcoming 5th International Summer School on higher education research that takes place June 10-16, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The theme of this year is “Higher education and social inequality”.

V International Summer School will focus on the inequalities in higher education as well as the problematisation of the role of higher education in reproducing social inequalities. Participation in higher education has been increasing rapidly over last decades, but social equity has not been achieved. Numerous studies around the world show persistent inequalities in access and participation in higher education shaped by social background. Gains in widening access, especially in systems with high participation rates, are undermined by the increasing stratification of higher education institutions and societies. These challenges call for re-thinking, conceptually and socio-politically, the role higher education has in a modern society.




PhD position in political science at University of Oslo on themes related to research quality

R-QUEST (the Centre for Research Quality and Policy Impact Studies) has obtained funding for 8 years from the Research Council of Norway to examine the nature and mechanisms of research quality. The Centre is a collaboration between six main research institutions, including Department of political science, University of Oslo; Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy (CFA), University of Aarhus; Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University; Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH- Royal Institute of Technology; Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR), The University of Manchester; and Nordic Institute for Studies of Innovation, Research and Education, NIFU.

A central aim of the centre is to develop policy tools for robust but flexible identification of research quality at all levels. Three key aims for the project include following:

  1. What is research quality? How are notions of research quality negotiated, established and practiced, and what are the mechanisms through which these notions affect policy?
  2. What are the drivers of high quality research, and what is the role of policy in developing outstanding research?
  3. What are the effects of high quality research on the society?

In conjunction with the project, the Department of Political Science at University of Oslo has announced a PhD position. Applicants must submit a project description of up to 3000 words, outlining a precise research topic, specific problems to be studied, sources of data to be used, the choice of scientific theory and method, and a realistic schedule that details how the project will be completed within the fellowship period. The R-QUEST project description should be consulted for information on e.g. available data sources.

Requirements: the applicant must have a Master’s degree in Political Science or a closely related discipline, with at least 30 ECTS thesis, demonstrate training in quantitative and qualitative methods as well as top grades and a high quality thesis. Read more about the requirements here.

Deadline for applicants: 31st of January

Read more about application requirements and procedures here. 




Guest blogger: All universities are “excellent,” but some more than others: the rise of elite associations

Jelena Brankovic (Bielefeld University and Ghent University)

This guest entry is written by Jelena Brankovic. Jelena is a Research Associate at Bielefeld University (Germany) and a PhD Candidate at Ghent University (Belgium). She is also a HEEM master programme graduate. Currently she is working on university responses to status dynamics and competition in higher education. 

You can follow Jelena on Twitter: @jelena3121

Universities have been forming associations for more than a century now. Among some of the oldest examples of such ventures are, for instance, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the US, established as early as in 1899, the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Universities (est. 1904), or the Association of Commonwealth Universities (1913). In principle, an association is established by two or more universities which have something in common, which could be either some specific characteristic, such as religious affiliation, ownership structure, or, perhaps, disciplinary focus; or, more often, a shared geographic, political, cultural or linguistic border. Or both. Think of examples such as the Association for European Life Science Universities, Association of Universities in Portuguese Speaking Countries, Japan Association of Private Universities and Colleges, or, for example, Association of Universities Entrusted to the Society of Jesus in Latin-America.

Associations are many and their number has increased over time. They can be regional, national and international. In addition to the level or field in which they operate, we can also distinguish between, on the one hand, those which are there to represent interests of the university institution in a particular region, such as right to autonomy and well-known academic freedoms of its members, and, on the other, those which are tied by some additional characteristic or cause, such as, for instance, the already mentioned religious orientation. To distinguish, we could call the former generalist and the latter specialist.

Any of this is hardly news. However, in recent years a particular type of university associations seems to be gaining in popularity, both in national contexts and internationally. Unlike the most commonly found type of specialist associations which seek to differentiate in a more functional or horizontal fashion, this type is made up of vertically differentiating – or status-driven – university associations. These associations are characterised by high status of their members, claims to superiority in terms of their quality and – typically – exclusivity when it comes to membership. In other words, they are invite-only clubs of the small elite at the apex of the respective hierarchy of universities. Think of the Russell Group in the UK, Group of Eight in Australia, League of European Research Universities (LERU), Japanese RU11 and you get the picture.




Podcast: University Civic Engagement – What Does It Mean To Be An Engaged University?

The recording was made during a seminar organized by the research group ExCID (Expert cultures and institutional dynamics: Studies in higher education and work) at University of Oslo. The ExCID group is focused on theoretical, methodological, and empirical understanding of the dynamics of higher education and its way of fostering academic and professional development. The seminar was held 15th of November 2016.

University Civic Engagement: What Does It Mean To Be An Engaged University?

Presenter: Dr. Bojana Culum (University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Bojana Culum (University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Bojana Culum
(University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Abstract for the seminar:

Civic engagement refers to the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s (better) future, through both political and non-political processes. Civic engagement is considered to be central to the public purpose of higher education and essential to the student experience, empowering students to become active and socially responsible citizens in a democratic society. However, in the context of major societal changes and challenges, it is argued that publicly-funded universities have to move beyond creating such engaged experiences only for students and that they have a civic duty to engage with wider society on the local, national and global scales, and to do so in a manner which links the social to the economic spheres. There are many ways to live our commitment to community and civic engagement, from big impacts to small decisions. This seminar will reflect on research in the field as well as critics and serve as a platform for discussion on what does it mean for contemporary universities to embrace civic engagement and become active and socially responsible institutional citizen(s) and caring (institutional) neighbours – how to foster meaningful connections and engagement between universities and communities to effect positive change in society.

Bojana Culum works as assistant professor at the University of Rijeka’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Pedagogy, Croatia. Her research focuses on university third and civic mission, university civic and community engagement (the concept of an engaged university) and changes in academic profession with particular interest for early career (female) researchers’ socialisation into academia. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Portland State University, USA, during the academic year 2015/2016.

Listen without the Flashplayer

View the slides of the presentation here. 


The recording has been reposted with permission from the research group.

View the research group homepage here.




On the move towards research-led universities – Meeting of the HERANA project discusses institutional change in African flagship universities

This guest entry is written by Jens Jungblut and summarises some of the key activities at a recent HERANA workshop in Cape Town. Jens is currently a post-doctoral researcher at INCHER, University of Kassel. 

From November 20 until November 24 the Center for Higher Education Trust (CHET) organized a workshop in the context of the HERANA research project in Cape Town. During this meeting representatives of seven flagship universities from different Sub-Saharan African countries discussed together with a group of international experts the institutional developments of the different universities on their road to becoming research-led universities.

HERANA workshop participants

The workshop started out with a presentation of the activities of CHET by its director Nico Cloete, which was followed by a short lecture from Peter Maassen, professor of higher education at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo, who presented findings from a research project that investigated the characteristics of research flagship universities in Europe highlighting commonalities but also differences between several successful institutions. Afterwards, Åse Gornitzka, professor of political science at the University of Oslo, discussed organizational change processes in higher education with an emphasis on explanations from organizational theories why change processes can be slow, unpredictable and sometimes even fail. Professor Leo Goedegebuure, director at the LH Martin Institute in Melbourne, presented to the participants recent developments in higher education in South-East Asia and offered some conclusions on institutional factors that allowed some universities in Asia to strengthen their research function and catch up with global developments. His presentation was followed by a reflection from Fred Hayward on his work during the last years for USAID supporting the reform of higher education in Afghanistan in which he also highlighted some common challenges between Africa and Afghanistan.




Conference review: Higher Education as a Critical Institution – the CHER 2016 Conference

lim

Miguel Antonio Lim  (University of Manchester)

Now that next year abstract deadlines are coming up, it is just about time for reflections of what the conference season had to offer in 2016. 

This guest entry is written by Miguel Antonio Lim. He is Lecturer in Education and International Development at the University of Manchester. His research interests include the sociology of evaluation, international higher education, and professional expertise. He has worked on research projects around global university rankings and audit culture in higher education. Miguel has previously been EU-Marie Curie Fellow at Aarhus University and Executive Director of the Global Public Policy Network Secretariat. He has worked for the Asia Pacific Center at Sciences Po-Paris and taught at the London School of Economics.

The 29th Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) conference took place on the 5th-7th September at Cambridge University around the theme: ‘The University as a Critical Institution?’ While CHER is among the most popular and important research-oriented conferences in the field of higher education, the organizers noted an increased participation at the 2016 conference to almost 200 delegates.

CHER 2016 was marked by the strong presence of higher education researchers from around the world. There was a babble of languages spoken throughout the coffee breaks. Colleagues working in the UK, Russia, China, the USA, Germany, Italy, and the Nordic countries, among others, presented work about their various regions.

Apart from the geographical breadth of the conference, CHER 2016 also showcased a wide variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches towards the study of higher education. These were particularly apparent in the sessions of the conference in which Sue Wright, an anthropologist, and Vicky Boliver, a social policy scholar (using statistical methods) delivered their keynotes.




List of conferences relevant for higher education in 2017

2017 coming up – what are your conference plans for the coming year? Calls for papers have been distributed and dates are confirmed. So time to start planning which conferences to attend in 2017. To make this easier for you, we are now compiling a list of relevant conferences for the fourth year now!

Remember, always double check with the conference websites for the dates or changes in deadlines, extensions and so forth. We still hope this can be a useful resource to plan your calendar for next year.

We have listed the conferences first as specific higher education conferences and then other disciplinary conferences that would likely be relevant for higher education researchers. The conferences are listed alphabetically in their respective sections. Where we have such reviews, we have also added a link to Hedda reviews from these conferences, to give some insight for how these conferences are like – just to make your selection process a little easier!

Again, if you have some to add – leave a comment and we add it to the list!

(Bi)Annual conferences