Plans to turn Luxembourg University into a European centre of research excellence have taken a back seat as the institution seeks to find a successor to its French-Canadian rector, who died of a stroke three months into the job.
Francois Tavenas, a civil engineer, set in motion government plans to combine high-level industrial and academic research in a pan-European context within the institution.
The new rector will be appointed by the Grand Duchy's Conseil de Gouvernance, a group of academics and others from Luxembourg and other European Union countries, together with the Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research. An earlier attempt failed when the sole candidate was ruled out by the university.
"Mr Tavenas had practical experience of the economic world and many contacts, but he died before he was able to implement the arrangements he'd made with captains of industry," a leading Luxembourg academic told The Times Higher .
A four-year plan gave doctoral and masters studies priority over undergraduate study. The Ministry of Culture admitted progress towards implementation of the plan had slowed as a result of Mr Tavenas' death.
"There is a search going on," a spokesman confirmed. "We hope an appointment can be made quite soon."