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A European MIT?

EU proposal to found a European institute of technology gets thumbs down from advisors

Jane Burgermeister(janeburgermeister@yahoo.co.uk)

Key scientific advisors to the European Union have warned that a proposal by the European Commission to create a European institute of technology (EIT) modeled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will not work.

In a report sent this week to the EU Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik, the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB), which advises the commission on science policy, said that a "top down" approach to creating such an institute was not viable.

Helga Nowotny, the chairman of the 45-member EURAB, told The Scientist that an MIT-style high-tech institute "must emerge from the scientific communities themselves," noting that MIT's reputation had grown over decades.

"Politicians do not have a good record in creating top-down institutions, especially not when it comes to research and teaching. Politicians are indispensable, however, and, equally important, responsible for creating the environment in which universities can expand and grow in the desired direction,"...

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