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De Lange VIII: The Research University in the Global Arena

February 28, 2012 by Rita R. Colwell

De Lange Conference

The Future of the Research University in a Global Age

February 27-28, 2012

Session I, moderated by Neal Lane, Senior Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University and past director, National Science Foundation, White House Science Advisor to President Clinton

Speaker: Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus, Canon U. S. Life Sciences Chairman and President, CosmosID, Inc.


The Nation's research universities are entering both a new era and a new environment in the 21st Century. The global expansion of higher education in recent years has been dramatic, especially in the massive investments being made in science and engineering education and research by countries of the world, notably in Asia, Scandinavia, and Latin America. Although the U. S. still leads in number of Ph.D.s conferred each year, at the present rate of growth, the number of doctorates graduating each year in China will soon match that of the U. S. An important aspect of these changes for the U. S. and its higher education institutions is that the best and brightest students may no longer travel to the United States to study and those that do may not remain. Furthermore, the U. S. form of doctoral education has been adopted by many of the countries and, in this context, contributions that have been made by students from other countries to higher education in the United States must be understood. For example, significant benefits have accrued in the form of partnerships, collaborative research, and personal experiences, as well as increased involvement of industry, including international corporations. The role of women in increased graduate enrollments is another positive development. Thus, in addition to a global competition for talent and innovation, the grandest challenge for the Research University will be to determine how it will compete and how it will be funded in this new century.



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