Can we set up rules for private investors – how money is distributed in the university between targeted research and blue-sky research – without putting off investors? Would it be possible to say to investors that we will use 70% of the money for what they want but that, due to the rules of the university, 30% of the money will go to other research?
This would have to be negotiated with the sponsors or donors and, as soon as you start negotiating, you lose part of the ideal for full independence. Some universities would be able to negotiate 30% and to use that 30% for other research, but some firms would not accept this and some universities would use the 30% to fund overheads instead of additional research.
The massive invasion of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has substantially changed the way people communicate, think and act. In any university students should learn how to communicate, how to think, and, finally, how to act. Given this evident and strong link, ICT plays a fundamental role in the transmission of information between the academic staff and the “student world”. Another consideration is that public funding of the educational system is decreasing and private bodies are more and more concerned with financing universities. In many cases these donors are private firms and they support the educational system in order to produce a receptive and educated staff. But firms are nowadays highly involved in the ICT revolution.