Action is what counts. Sustainability at ETH Zurich and EPFL

GK Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities

Tackling the challenges of sustainable development requires critical thinking, innovative technologies and an open dialogue between science, industry, and society. As Swiss-based universities that are consistently high in the leading international university rankings, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are committed to playing a key role in addressing these …

Regional Engagement and Sustainability: University of Aveiro in Portugal

GK Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities, Research & Innovation

In the framework of the demographic evolution foreseen up to 2050, major issues related to  sustainability include: food, natural resources (water in particular) and energy. These “grand societal challenges” affect all aspects of our lives and are not contained within geographical borders or specific scientific disciplines.  

Values and Valuation for Sustainability

GK Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities, Research & Innovation

Last year, I chaired the U.S. National Academies’ Committee that produced the report, “The Hidden Costs of Energy” (2010). Using the most advanced methodology and the best available data, the Committee estimated a lower bound of US$120 billion per year in non-climate damages to Americans from producing and using energy in America.  

How can Research Universities Contribute to Fostering Sustainable Societies in Developing Countries

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities

Although law is hardly a science, rather an intellectual discipline, it is at the heart of many of the issues discussed in this Colloquium: it shapes the functioning of democracy; it regulates markets; contributes to protecting the environment, to fighting corruption and crime; it avoids or solves conflicts, translates the ethical values of society into concrete rules, and sanctions violations. …

Preparing the University and its Graduates for the Unpredictable and Unknowable

GK Chapters and other contributions, Human Resources, Missions & Responsibilities, Research & Innovation, Teaching & Learning

Universities are a key player in the “knowledge society”. But this increased influx of knowledge and the exponential rate of technical progress also generate anxiety and fear that could undermine the fundamental role of universities to elaborate and disseminate knowledge. Universities should not be locked into the sterile debate of  

Global Sustainability. Timescales, Magnitudes, Paradigms and Black Swans

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities, Research & Innovation

We live in a time of great change, an increasingly global society, driven by the exponential growth of new knowledge and knitted together by rapidly evolving information and communication technologies. It is a time of challenge and contradiction, as an ever-increasing human population and invasive activities of humankind are now altering the fragile balance of our planet.  

Learning in/for a World of Constant Flux: Homo Sapiens, Homo Faber & Homo Ludens revisited

GK Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities, Teaching & Learning

The educational needs of the 21st century pose a number of serious problems for current educational  practices. First and foremost, we see the 21st century as a time that is characterized by constant change Educational practices that focus on the transfer of static knowledge simply cannot keep up with the rapid rate of change. Practices that focus on adaptation  

INTRODUCTION: Respice, Prospice Higher Education A Decennial Review

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Financial Resources, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities

If “[a] week”, as the late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once pointedly remarked, “is a long time in politics”, so also, a decade is a long time in higher education. It represents the graduation of two or three generations of students. It reflects the subtle influence of changing scholarly and research priorities and, for all the treasured independence of …

The Research University as Comprehensive Knowledge Enterprise

GK Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities, Research & Innovation, Teaching & Learning

While the Glion Colloquia have brought university leaders together to exchange perspectives on an array of critical issues confronting higher education, perhaps none is more imperative to consider than the role of the research university in an innovation-driven society. Research universities are the primary source of the new knowledge and innovation that drives the global economy  

BILDUNG and Innovation — a Contradictio in Adjecto for Today’s University Education

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities, Research & Innovation, Teaching & Learning

I do think that the terms Bildung and innovation can be contradictory, at least they express the inner  conflict felt by a person, who is responsible for change in an institution — the university — and therefore  for innovation and, at the same time, knows how frequently and in what manner this task has been  deliberated in the history of …

The German Excellence Initiative: Changes, Challenges and Chances

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities

For more than 200 years, the German university system has followed the ideas of Wilhelm von  Humboldt — the unity of research and teaching, the freedom of teaching being the most important of Humboldt’s principles. These ideas have been followed until today, even though the external conditions that universities have to cope with have changed dramatically. On the one hand, …

National Innovation Policies Governments as Innovation Agents of Higher Education and Research

GK Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities

There is widespread agreement among economists that international forces have changed the nature of economic development (Soete, 2006). National markets have become increasingly interrelated, and goods, services, capital, labour, as well as knowledge, flow around the world seeking the most favourable economic conditions. Natural resources  

Response of Chinese Higher Education and SJTU to Globalization

GK Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities, Teaching & Learning

Globalization means more competition and that a nation’s investment, production and innovation are  not limited by its borders. Internationalization, according to Levin (2001), is one set of behaviour  influenced by globalization processes. These processes are not only political and economic, but also  social and cultural,  

The Challenge to European Universities in the Emerging Global Marketplace

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Financial Resources, Missions & Responsibilities

Although the topic for this paper implies a focus on Europe, the issues I want to address are by no means  limited to that continent. Without wishing to minimize the significance of national differences  and continental contexts, it is possible to discern a set of generic issues facing higher education systems  around the world which bear a distinct similarity. My …

Comprehensive Universities in Continental Europe: Falling Behind

GK Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Human Resources, Missions & Responsibilities

Universities in continental Europe have a long tradition of nearly one thousand years, incorporating the  idea of the “Greek academia”. The foundation of universities spread rapidly throughout medieval Europe, with Bologna (1088) and Paris (1150) as the first, acting as models for the others to come. The university started as a “universitas magistorum et scholarium”,  

Developed Universities and the Developing World: Opportunities and Obligations

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Financial Resources, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities

Among the scores of books written during the past decade about globalization — so many, in fact, that  some by different authors bear the same title 1 — none has captured as many readers as Thomas L.  Freidman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2005). It has sold several million copies  

Globalization of Research Universities in Korea

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Governance and leadership, Missions & Responsibilities

An important consequence of economic globalization is expected to be that only a few leading  universities will dominate the world of higher education, just as a few companies are dominating different industrial sectors worldwide. Globalization has thus become a major goal for most research  universities in Korea. It is driven by a number of other factors as well,  

Reinvigorating Universities in an Entrepreneurial Age

GK Challenges, Chapters and other contributions, Missions & Responsibilities

The global economy stands at a moment of extraordinary potential. The last three decades have  produced steep gains in worldwide economic growth, led by a surge of innovative, entrepreneurial  activity rooted in advanced science and technology. Nations around the world have an opportunity to  capitalize on efficiencies and optimize