Science lags behind on the insular isle

May 31, 1996

Britain is not keeping up with its partners in Europe in internationalising its education system and its scientific and technological workforce, according to a new study, writes Kam Patel.

The report says United Kingdom policy is in "striking contrast" to those of other European countries. The Netherlands is committed to an international perspective for its educational system and France is explicitly promoting international integration of its students and scientists. Only Italy and the UK are reforming educational systems primarily to meet national employer demand.

The study was carried out by Josephine Stein of Manchester University's programme for research into engineering, science and technology and Nicole Kurtz-Newell of the French national research body CNRS. Their work formed part of the Economic and Social Research Council programme on the European context of UK science policy.

In another ESRC study Louise Curran and John Lovering of Cardiff University looked at trends in the scientific labour market in France, Germany and Britain. In Britain it is being deregulated and there has been an increase in short-term contract-driven work. Scientific activity tends towards centralisation and retrenchment within existing locations.

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