Higher Education

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 387–405 | Cite as

Global and national prominent universities: internationalization, competitiveness and the role of the State

  • Hugo HortaEmail author


This article provides a characterization of the internationalization of “global” European universities and discusses the role of the State in promoting greater internationalization and competitiveness levels of prominent national universities. The analysis supports previous arguments stating that global ranking of universities is strongly based on research, but reveals that the internationalization of research universities’ student population is also arranged to enhance research capacity. This finding is further reinforced by a positive association between the internationalization of the academic staff and the internationalization of the student population in one of those universities, being this association particularly strong with the doctoral student population. Finally, based on the analysis of two prominent national universities with different global competitiveness levels, we discuss the role of the State as a central supporter of these universities internationalization and global competitiveness arguing that public funding and support is critical if countries want to have national prominent universities competing at global level.


World class universities Prominent national universities Internationalization academic staff Internationalization student population Role of the State Resources 



I would like to thank Emma Uprichard for her valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Advancement of Higher EducationTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIESInstituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa – ISCTELisbonPortugal

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