Public Release:  New global project on university reforms

Aarhus University to head global project on university reforms

Aarhus University

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IMAGE: UNIKE creates a network for young research talents, and they will all contribute to the project. view more

Credit: Aarhus University

Six European universities will join forces to educate young researchers who will be examining the university reforms currently influencing the global university development. This will be part of the new international Universities In the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE) project. The project recently received a DKK 31.6 million grant from the EU's Marie Curie Actions Fellowship programme.

"The project has a wide and international scope and is initiated in collaboration with five other European universities and 15 universities from the Pacific Region. The purpose of the project is to establish a global network for researchers, including PhDs and postdocs, which can critically analyse university developments in different parts of the world," says Susan Wright,professor at Aarhus University and head of the project.

Europe can learn from Asia

The UNIKE project will pave the way for brand new international partnerships between universities in Europe and the Pacific Region.

"Globally, power is shifting to parts of Asia, and we are particularly interested in how they are reforming their universities and how they picture the future development of the region. Comparative studies of what is going on in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific Region are therefore vital in the UNIKE project," says Susan Wright.

New collaboration forms with the outside world

Four companies and four NGOs offer internships to the PhD students enrolled in the programme , who will then examine the collaboration between universities and the surrounding world.

"The young research talents are to map the current situation and examine how the universities interact in a landscape with many different organisations and interests at stake. They will also examine how the current financing types as well as management tools and styles are functioning at the universities and, on the basis of this, come up with alternatives that may influence the university development positively," says Susan Wright.

Facts about UNIKE

UNIKE will be running over five years - from 2013 to 2017 - and will comprise 12 new PhD projects and three postdoc projects. Each semester, workshops will be organised across borders for the young PhD researchers.

Project partners: Times Higher Education, Berghahn and Routledge Publishers, The Association of Pacific Rim Universities in Singapore, The Sino-Danish Center in Beijing and the Magna Charta Observatory in Italy.

Other institutions involved:

  • The European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers
  • The Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education at the University of Washington State, USA
  • The Center for Graduate Education Research at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.

Several international conferences will be held in connection with the project - among others a two-week summer school in New Zealand in 2015 and a final conference in Denmark in 2017, which will be attended by all project researchers and partners.

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