Two major news organisations are reporting that the Trump administration is considering restrictions on visas for Chinese citizens, including students, as part of a forthcoming package of tariffs and investment restrictions against China. The Wall Street Journal and Politico have both reported that the administration is considering the visa restrictions as part of what the Journal described as a package of measures intended to punish China for allegedly violating American intellectual property laws and pressuring US companies to transfer technology. According to the Journal, the White House is considering limiting the number of study and work visas for Chinese citizens. China sends by far the most international students to the US, accounting for close to a third of international students. American colleges depend heavily on Chinese students for both the tuition revenue and the academic talent they bring. – Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

Japan is to boost research funding for artificial intelligence and automation technologies this year as it struggles to maintain its global scientific research competitiveness. Though still a leading research nation, experts say bold reform measures and fresh policies are needed if Japan is to keep pace as China has emerged as a strong presence in Asia in recent years. Japan’s Council for Science, Technology and Innovation has announced a 7 per cent hike in research funding for 2018, compared with the previous year.  The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also heavily pushing artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics amid a labour shortage and an ageing population. – Suvendrini Kakuchi, University World News. Read more

Most of England’s universities feel prepared to withstand future policy shocks, but a small proportion are at breaking point, describing themselves as a “single policy change away from collapse”. This is the picture painted by new research commissioned by the Guardian and HSBC and executed by Shift Learning. Through anonymised interviews and an online survey, university leaders cited changes in government policy, potential cuts to tuition fees and a rise in staff and pension costs as their main areas of concern. 63 per cent of the survey respondents said they felt less optimistic than 12 months ago. – Rachel Hall, The Guardian. Read more

India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for mutual recognition of educational qualifications. Frederique Vidal, France’s Minister of Higher Education, and India’s Human Resource Development Minister, Prakash Javadekar, signed the MoU at a ‘Knowledge Summit’ held to coincide with the first state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India.  At the summit, agreements were signed between universities and research institutions of both countries to boost student mobility. “It is historic … for the first time, a government-to-government MoU has been signed to mutually recognise academic qualifications. It will help the student community. There used to be only bilateral arrangements between institutions to institutions,” Javadekar said. – The Economic Times. Read more

To many, the idea of pushing through significant changes at Asia’s most highly ranked university would be nothing short of madness. But, even though the National University of Singapore has topped Times Higher Education’s Asia University Rankings for three years on the trot, the new leader of the city state’s flagship institution could not be calmer about rocking the boat. Tan Eng Chye, who became NUS president in January after more than a decade as provost, said he was not afraid to rethink the university’s entire approach to teaching in order to “future-proof” his 28,000 students for a world increasingly shaped by digital technology and automation. “The fourth industrial revolution is crucial. My colleagues know this and they understand that we must change with the times because of it.” – Rachael Pells, Times Higher. Read more


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