We hope you are well rested, because 2019 is going to be anything but boring. Here are 10 things that the European higher education sector can expect in the next 12 months.
Science will be set free.
Well, not really. But in less than a year, all results funded by European Union programmes have to be openly accessible and free of charge. Plan S, announced a few months ago by Science Europe, has expanded this to major national research agencies across Europe. Critics claim that the plan proposes changes that are too radical, too soon. None of these issues have yet been resolved, but Science Europe has a year to work them out before Plan S launches in January 2020.
Reviewing the reviewers.
Plan S is worthless without a well-functioning quality assurance system. But for a long time, critics have said that national and institutional incentive systems favour quantity over quality. With almost 70 million hours spent each year on reviewing scientific papers – and more than two million of them being published – those scientists may be right. We expect a closer inspection of peer review systems this year.
The science race is on – and you’ll get drafted.
Another reason for the publication avalanche is the increased number of researchers in the world. Science is power – financial, political and militaristic. In 2018, it was reported that China had overtaken the US in the number of published papers, which provoked the European Commission to commit to channel more euros through funding agencies. If you still haven’t mastered the art of the funding application, 2019 is the year to do so. Unless you like the idea of working on another researcher’s ideas.
There is money on the Horizon Europe.
After years of planning, the European Commission proposed a budget of €100 billion for the world’s largest research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe. It promises to be mission-oriented, while maintaining a focus on excellence in both research and innovation. With less than two years before it starts, 2019 will be a year for political positioning by Europe’s research universities.
Europe battles to be an AI frontrunner.
The European Commission has published a plan to ramp up investment in AI innovation and research – starting with €1.5 billion in 2019 – in the hope that total public and private investment will reach €20 billion per year. But is money enough? Will Europe do what it takes? Two hundred AI labs and institutions joined the Confederation of Laboratories for AI Research in Europe (CLAIRE)in a massive effort to ensure that it does.
Universities establish effective policies against harassment.
In 2018, academia had its #MeToo moment, which resulted in a string of sexual harassment revelations (one causing the Nobel Prize in Literature to be postponed for a year). In 2019, we expect universities to establish substantial anti-harassment programmes.

Read more : Morten Irgens, Christen Krogh : Times Higher Education : 07 January 2019