He said China has begun making staggering investments in its top schools; in Shanghai, for example, Fudan, Shanghai Jiao Tong and Tongji universities have all developed sprawling new campuses.
He adds that ultimately, however, the reputation of universities is measured by the impact of their graduates and the contributions of their faculties.
He allows there’s no shortage of smart students in China. But attracting and developing world-class researchers is a slow process. First-rate scholars prefer to work close to one another.
Schools in mainland China are now trying to establish themselves in analogous ways. Both Fudan and Peking universities, for example, have persuaded top scientists from Yale to split their time between labs in China and the West, in the hope that the younger faculty who work with them will develop into world-class scientists themselves.
Such arrangements show that the rise of the rest is an opportunity, not a threat.
While Asian universities and their Western collaborators may profit from new arrangements, so does everyone else, since knowledge is a public good that other scientists and engineers can use.
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