Rector nearly quit over limits on power

September 30, 2005

The new rector of the embryonic University of Luxembourg considered resignation just three months into his appointment as a replacement for his predecessor, who died before the institution was up and running, it emerged this week.

Rolf Tarrach admitted to some frustration over the constraints on his authority as rector as well as difficulties in recruiting foreign professors earlier this year. Now he has told the Luxembourg media that he is "much happier".

But a stiff test is nevertheless looming over money. He has proposed a 2006 budget of some €50 million (£34 million), an increase of 52 per cent, part of which will cover recruitment to and investment in expanded research programmes.

Another challenge is the university site. There are three at present, but Dr Tarrach would like a single campus for the eventual 9,000 students - either in Luxembourg City or at the planned "city of science" at Esch, in the south of the country.

Jul Christophory, a leading Luxembourg academic and author, said: "What's lacking at present in Luxembourg is a critical mass, a university culture with book shops, bars, cafeterias and a willingness by citizens to take students into their houses because accommodation is certainly going to be a problem."

Priority at the university is being given to doctoral and masters studies.

Luxembourg has not had its own university until now, and there is concern that the country may be lagging behind in pure research.

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