Higher education that helps young land jobs | The Straits Times

5. Juni 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei The Straits Times. Der Originalbeitrag erschien bei LSE IMPACT.

Changes are needed to equip students with employable skills that prepare them for real world

Approximately 290 million young people worldwide are neither studying nor working – that is almost a quarter of the world’s youth.

Unemployment rates even top 50 per cent in many countries for those aged between 15 and 24. For instance, the youth unemployment rate now stands at 54 per cent in Greece, 58 per cent in Spain and 53 per cent in South Africa.

Policymakers have claimed for years that education is the best insurance against unemployment. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has repeatedly lobbied for countries to maximise tertiary education rates. Even Germany – supposedly Europe’s model student nowadays with its vocational education system – was criticised for not producing enough university graduates.

Yet, the truth is, post-secondary education does not automatically enhance job opportunities. Take Italy, where these days it actually seems harder for those with a college degree to find a job than those without one – 33 per cent of college graduates between 20 and 24 remain out of work, compared with 30 per cent of those with only a high school degree.

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Is a college degree worth it? Interventions are needed to enhance the practical relevance of higher education | LSE Impact

23. Mai 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit K. Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei LSE IMPACT .

Many young people around the world struggle to find jobs despite having obtained university degrees. Asit K. Biswas and Julian Kirchherr outline what needs to change in order to boost the practical value of higher education. Recruiting academic staff with work experience outside of academia could provide richer teaching experiences and a more developed understanding of which skills are needed, even essential, in the job markets.

Approximately 290 million young people worldwide are neither studying nor working – that is almost a quarter of the global youth. Unemployment rates even top 50% in many countries for those between 15 and 24. For instance, Greece’s youth unemployment rate now stands at 54%, Spain’s at 58%, South Africa’s at 53% (World Bank). Policy-makers have claimed for many years that education would be the best insurance against unemployment. Indeed, the OECD has repeatedly lobbied that countries ought to maximize their tertiary education rates. Even Germany – supposedly Europe’s model student nowadays with its vocational education system – was criticized for not producing enough university graduates.

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Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams | Environmental Impact Assessment Review

27. April 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Huw Pohlner und Dr. Katrina Charles verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Abstract

No commonly used framework exists in the scholarly study of the social impacts of dams. This hinders comparisons of analyses and thus the accumulation of knowledge. The aim of this paper is to unify scholarly understanding of dams’ social impacts via the analysis and aggregation of the various frameworks currently used in the scholarly literature. For this purpose, we have systematically analyzed and aggregated 27 frameworks employed by academics analyzing dams’ social impacts (found in a set of 217 articles). A key finding of the analysis is that currently used frameworks are often not specific to dams and thus omit key impacts associated with them. The result of our analysis and aggregation is a new framework for scholarly analysis (which we call ‘matrix framework’) specifically on dams’ social impacts, with space, time and value as its key dimensions as well as infrastructure, community and livelihood as its key components. Building on the scholarly understanding of this topic enables us to conceptualize the inherently complex and multidimensional issues of dams’ social impacts in a holistic manner. If commonly employed in academia (and possibly in practice), this framework would enable more transparent assessment and comparison of projects.

The full article (11 pages) is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925515300846 


The social impacts of dams: A new framework for scholarly analysis | Environmental Impact Assessment Review

10. April 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Katrina Charles verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Abstract

No commonly used framework exists in the scholarly study of the social impacts of dams. This hinders comparisons of analyses and thus the accumulation of knowledge. The aim of this paper is to unify scholarly understanding of dams‘ social impacts via the analysis and aggregation of the various frameworks currently used in the scholarly literature. For this purpose, we have systematically analyzed and aggregated 27 frameworks employed by academics analyzing dams‘ social impacts (found in a set of 217 articles). A key finding of the analysis is that currently used frameworks are often not specific to dams and thus omit key impacts associated with them. The result of our analysis and aggregation is a new framework for scholarly analysis (which we call ‘matrix framework’) specifically on dams‘ social impacts, with space, time and value as its key dimensions as well as infrastructure, community and livelihood as its key components. Building on the scholarly understanding of this topic enables us to conceptualize the inherently complex and multidimensional issues of dams‘ social impacts in a holistic manner. If commonly employed in academia (and possibly in practice), this framework would enable more transparent assessment and comparison of projects.

The full article (16 pages) is available at: http://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/abs/10.3362/1756-3488.2016.005 .


The tough life of an academic entrepreneur | The Straits Times

7. März 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei The Straits Times. Der Originalbeitrag erschien bei LSE IMPACT

Academics who apply their knowledge in commercial or policy fields – far away from the ivory tower – should have their work recognised as academic merits, not distractions

Ms Cheli Cresswell’s last meeting with her assessors was odd. Her assessors, renowned scholars at the University of Oxford, were eager to discuss with her the scientific papers she ought to write in order to obtain her doctorate. However, Ms Cresswell only wanted to talk about her app idea. It would let citizen scientists map stories about human-elephant interactions from online sources. This visualisation would then aid communities and environmentalists in developing more targeted conservation strategies. She hopes this app will be an integral part of her doctoral thesis. Her assessors did not get it.

Ms Cresswell is a prime example of an academic entrepreneur. More and more policymakers understand that academic entrepreneurs are a university’s most valuable asset. Indeed, many British universities now need to measure spin-offs per 100 students and staff. After all, newly founded firms account for nearly all net new job creation, according to studies of the Kauffman Foundation. Academics (directly) contribute little to this job creation on average. According to one estimate from Sweden, less than one in 100 scholars per year quit academia to become full-time entrepreneurs. But up to 16 per cent of academics may run a part-time business which they founded. Several universities are already entrepreneurial. For instance, the Cambridge Science Park, Europe’s longest-serving and largest centre for commercial research, at the University of Cambridge counts 1,400 companies and 40,000 jobs. Alumni from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created 25,800 companies employing 3.3 million people.

These figures indicate that many associate academic entrepreneurship with the natural sciences or computer science. However, we believe that broader conceptualisation and understanding are essential. Indeed, academic entrepreneurship is more than commercial spin-offs, run by patent-holding scientists.

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The Tough Life of an Academic Entrepreneur: Innovative commercial and non-commercial ventures must be encouraged. | LSE IMPACT

16. Februar 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Asit Biswas verfasst worden und erschien bei LSE IMPACT

Academic entrepreneurs are a valuable asset for universities. However, most academic entrepreneurs are forced to live double lives. Performance assessments rarely factor in their experimental and unconventional activities. Asit Biswas and Julian Kirchherr outline incentives needed to unleash the creative potential of scholars for the overall benefit of society.

Cheli Cresswell’s last meeting with her PhD assessors was odd. Her assessors, renowned scholars at the University of Oxford, were eager to discuss with her the scientific papers she ought to write in order to obtain her doctorate. However, Cheli only wanted to talk about her app idea. It would let citizen scientists map stories about human-elephant-interactions from online sources. This visualization would then aid communities and environmentalists in developing more targeted conservation strategies. Cheli hopes this app will be an integral part of her doctoral thesis. Her assessors did not get it.

Cheli is a prime example of an academic entrepreneur. More and more policy-makers understand that academic entrepreneurs are a university’s most valuable asset. Indeed, many British universities now need to measure spin-offs per one-hundred students and staff. After all, newly founded firms account for nearly all net new job creation, according to studies of the Kauffman Foundation. Academics (directly) contribute little to this job creation on average. According to one estimate from Sweden, less than 1 in 100 scholars per year quit academia in order to become full-time entrepreneurs. However, up to 16 percent of academics may run a part-time business which they founded. Several universities are already remarkably entrepreneurial. For instance, the Cambridge Science Park, Europe’s longest-serving and largest center for commercial research, at the University of Cambridge counts 1,400 companies and 40,000 jobs. Alumni from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created 25,800 companies employing 3.3 million people.

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Safeguards, financing, and employment in Chinese infrastructure projects in Africa: the case of Ghana’s Bui Dam | Waterlines

12. Februar 2016

Dieser Beitrag ist in Zusammenarbeit mit Tim Disselhoff und Dr. Katrina Charles verfasst worden und erschien in der begutachteten Fachzeitschrift Waterlines.

[Download Pre-Print Manuscript]

Chinese players are now Africa’s key partner for its infrastructure sector (including water supply projects), providing approximately two-thirds of investments since 2007. The social impacts of these engagements during the construction phase are mostly portrayed in an alarmist tone within the popular press. Meanwhile, scholarly literature investigating them remains scarce. We draw on the Bui Dam, a major dam in Ghana, financed by China Exim Bank (CEB), the largest financier of infrastructure in Africa, and constructed by Sinohydro, the largest dam developer worldwide, as a case study to explore social impacts of Chinese engagements in the African water sector. We particularly examine social safeguards policies from the perspective of Chinese players, the financing modalities, and the dam’s impacts on the local labour market. We find that social safeguards policies were not within the responsibility of Sinohydro. Furthermore, financing modalities were largely favourable from a Ghanaian perspective, comparable to World Bank conditions, partly due to the successful negotiations (from the Ghanaian standpoint) during the planning and design phase of the project. Most likely, the project would not have been implemented if CEB had not stepped in to provide funding. Lastly, we find that most workers employed during construction were Ghanaian, paid significantly above the country’s minimum wage. Nevertheless, working conditions overall were questionable. This case study highlights how Chinese engagement in construction of water infrastructure may help develop projects otherwise stuck in the planning and design phase. However, labour conditions during the construction phase of these projects need to be carefully managed.

The full article (22 pages) is available at: http://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/abs/10.3362/1756-3488.2016.005 .