- China: ‘Thousand Talents’ Scheme
- Malaysia: Doctoral Student Number Soar
- UK: 10th Best Highered System ?
- India: Ancient University Back to Life
China’s high profile ‘Thousand Talents’ scheme to lure back academic high-fliers may look on paper like a major success. But there is concern that it is not bringing researchers back to stay full-time, commit to the long-term development of China’s science and technology sector and nurture future local PhD talent.Returnees prefer part-time or visiting research posts in China rather than full-time positions, according to experts. And they are often unwilling to leave tenured positions at major universities in the West. The Chinese government is regarded as being among the most assertive in the world in introducing policies to reverse the brain drain of scientific and entrepreneurial talent, as part of its aim of becoming a global economic and science powerhouse. The Thousand Talents
scheme was launched in 2008 to lure back top talent, to boost the country’s innovation capacity and international competitiveness. The plan was to attract over a period of 10 years around 2,000 leading researchers who have held professorships or the equivalent in a ‘renowned’ university or research institute abroad, as well as entrepreneurs. Carrots included huge monetary and other incentives such as assistance with housing and tax-free education allowances for the children of such returnees. Some 3,000 returnees have been recruited in less than five years under the initiative, according to official figures.
In recent years Malaysia has been focusing heavily on developing the research quality and quantity of its major universities, and the country spends 1% of GDP on research and development, as stipulated in the 10th Malaysia Plan.Five of the country’s 65 universities and university colleges have thus been granted ‘research university’ status and receive additional government funding. In turn, these universities have pledged to raise their output of research papers in journals indexed by the Institute for Scientific Information, or ISI. This increase is achieved in part by pushing a change in PhD programmes, from the conventional dissertation to a requirement for ISI paper publications, and by increasing the number of PhD students.
The report for Universitas 21 rated the UK 10th best at providing higher education in a ranking of 48 countries.The study put the UK second for university research and teaching but 27th for spending on higher education.Universities UK said other more established global rankings regularly put the UK system second to top.Ross Williams, lead author of the Universitas 21 study, said the evidence showed the UK system was very efficient.Professor Ross, of University of Melbourne, told BBC News: “The model is that if you want to maintain high output you must maintain high resource levels.
India’s ancient university returns to life It was an eminent centre of learning long before Oxford, Cambridge and Europe’s oldest university Bologna were founded. Nalanda University in northern India drew scholars from all over Asia, surviving for hundreds of years before being destroyed by invaders in 1193.The idea of Nalanda as an international centre of learning is being revived by a group of statesmen and scholars led by the Nobel prize winning economist, Amartya Sen, The group wants to establish a new world-class residential university with top students and researchers from around the world, on a site close to ruins of the ancient Buddhist institution in the Indian state of Bihar.The new Nalanda International University will focus on the humanities, economics and management, Asian integration, sustainable development and oriental languages.