UN-SDG – Would Higher Education and R&D Remain the Same?

In a world driven by knowledge, it is becoming more and more dynamic with fast changes in many aspects, this is also the case of the motors generating all our knowledge and the associated changes, i.e. higher education. The numbers of students participating in higher education is escalating globally. As a matter of fact, those doing so outside their own country is on the rise dramatically. This is indeed, part of the fast globalization process taking place around the globe. However, because of economic constrains in many countries funding is being slashed and tuition fees introduced or raised. In this context, international students have become a critical commodity for some universities and there is little compromise in the attempt to attract them. Meanwhile, the fast and recent advances and progress in ICT and the huge popularity of the social instruments as Google (1998), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), and Twitter (2006) amongst others, have challenged the face of communication in marketing and the status of universities where some hold back from using such tools to blast prospective international students with compelling messages. Never before has this crucial life decision involved so many options or such an unfathomable volume of information.
Also, the ranking of global universities (http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings) has strong impacts on the mobility of students and staff as well as. Since the launch of the QS World University Rankings® in 2004, the QS has produced many and different rankings. Today, the QS Intelligence Unit is at the forefront of developing and successfully implementing comparative data to highlight the relative strength of institutions (http://www.iu.qs.com/university-rankings/).

However, the dynamic process of global knowledge transfer, student and staff mobility continues to have new impacts and consequences on higher education and R&D in general. In this context, the Paris Meeting and its outcome in terms of the strategic UN-SDG will further impose new trends in higher education and R&D in general. Many new questions emerge including how higher education and the associated institutions can become more sustainable? (http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2011/oct/13/sustainability-in-higher-education). Naturally with UN-SDG is hard to believe that higher education and R&D will remain to be the same especially in cases where the higher education and R&D institutions are still driven by Business-as-Usual.

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