International conference: ‘Does size matter? - Universities competing in a global market’, Reykjavic, Iceland 4-7 June 2008



This international conference was jointly organised with the Nordic Universities Association (NUS) and the Nordic Association of University Administrators (NUAS) and hosted by the University of Iceland. It brought together 150 leaders and managers of universities from the five Nordic countries and beyond.

The conference presentations focused on the pros and cons of the institutional mergers and university rankings and sought strategies to face the growing global competition in higher education.


Conference programme and participants list:

Plenary Presentations

Keynote speech: “Opportunity, Strategy and Effrontery: Understanding the Manchester 2015 Agenda”.
Alan Gilbert, President of the University of Manchester, UK


From international to global competition

From academic values to stakeholder value? A critical response to the commercialisation of higher education.

Kari Raivio, Chancellor emeritus, University of Helsinki, Finland


The European response to global competition
Marijk van der Wende, Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands (IMHE Governing Board Chair)


The excellence initiative and its impact in Germany: the case of Karlsruhe
Eberhard Umbach, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany


Winning strategies

Mergers – a Danish response to the global challenges
Lauritz B. Holm Nielsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark


‘Excellence from students’ perspective
Dagný Ósk Aradóttir, a student at the University of Iceland

Stronger by networking
Göran Bexell, University of Lund, Sweden


Globally competitive, locally engaged: higher education institutions as a regional driving force
Jarle Aarbakke, University of Tromsø, Norway


Does size matter?


Institutional size and rankings
Alex Usher, Educational Policy Institute, Canada.


Size, rankings and bibliometrics
Anthony F. J. van Raan, University of Leiden, Netherlands


University ranking – a critical perspective
Geir Ellingsrud, University of Oslo, Norway


Strategic options for small nations and their institutions in response to world university rankings
Tony Sheil, Griffith University, Australia.


Marketing strategies

Higher education in a small country
Ingjaldur Hannibalsson, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland


Creating the Innovation University in Finland
Rector Yrjö Sotamaa, University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland


Do You Know Your Unique Selling Points – and Does Anyone Else?
Dr Neil Kemp, International Education Consultant and Visiting Fellow, University of London


Original conference website


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