Those planning new universities might think that a good institution will attract top staff wherever it is located. But is the quality of the environment beyond the ivory tower really so insignificant – and has the pandemic changed the calculus? Paul Jump runs through our survey results

Most universities around the world are named after their locations. Many are – or aspire to be – anchors of their local communities, and most milk their local attractions for all they are worth in their student prospectuses.

Yet the life of the mind is one that can be lived anywhere – and that only seems likely to become ever truer as the Covid-19 pandemic hastens higher education’s digital migration. Moreover, the hierarchy of universities in terms of reputation, facilities and calibre of colleagues is such that location is often assumed to be a peripheral issue for staff – particularly academics – when they consider where to work.

Indeed, some countries in recent years have established new flagship universities in all manner of unlikely locations, with the expectation that the salaries and prestige they offer will see staff flocking to them regardless of how few restaurants they have on their doorsteps, how far they are from the sea or how hot or cold it is outside the lab.

Read more : Paul Jump : Times Higher Education : 01 September 2020