27 de outubro de 2006

 

O Instituto Europeu de Tecnologia

Durão Barroso fez-se paladino da criação do Instituto Europeu de Tecnologia, a pretender competir com o MIT. A meu ver, começa por haver uma grande diferença entre um instituto concentrado fisicamente, num campus, como o MIT, e um instituto espalhado por toda a Europa.

Já há grupos portugueses em grande expectativa em relação a esta oportunidade de internacionalização, mas também de afirmação interna. Não é assim por toda a Europa. Pelo menos, os reitores ingleses manifestam reservas, segundo um artigo do Guardian:
Vice-chancellors have warned that plans for a European rival to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could simply be a duplication of existing partnerships between universities and industry.

José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, is spearheading plans to create a "European Institute of Technology" (EIT). Such a body would, Mr Barroso argued, "act as a pole of attraction for the very best minds, ideas and companies from around the world".

The institute is one of the commission's main instruments for enabling the EU to close the spending gap between Europe and the US, Japan - and, increasingly, China and India - on research and development (R&D) and reach a target of 3% of GDP by the end of this decade.

Mr Barroso's initial plans for an EIT stirred opposition from universities and some governments which feared it would be an over-centralised body creaming off the best researchers in higher education, institutes and business.

Drummond Bone, the president of Universities UK, the umbrella group representing vice-chancellors, said: "While welcoming the justification of the analysis underlying the EIT project, and appreciating that it is now better defined than previously, we still have some serious reservations.

"To what extent will the funding for EIT impact directly or indirectly on the EU's seventh framework programme and European Research Council budgets? This is still profoundly unclear.

"We are also concerned about the mechanisms which will be necessary for the EIT to ensure the quality of its own degrees. And what, practically, would be the added value of the EIT to the numerous collaborations which already exist between university consortia and industry."

The commission adopted the proposal last week at the informal meeting of EU heads of state and government in Lahti, Finland. The commission has now agreed that the EIT will consist of just a 19-strong governing board, including 15 "high-profile" people from business and science, and 60 scientific and support staff.
Jan Figel, the education commissioner, said initial funding would be €308m from the EU's own budget, but Brussels is also looking to the private sector. Among the companies cited as interested are Siemens, Microsoft, Pfizer, Ericsson, Nokia, Unilever, Volkswagen, BP and Shell.

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