Skip to Content

Too good to fail? What are the ramifications of the global pandemic on institutions’ financial health, and how will it change the geopolitics of the knowledge economy?

Session Overview

This video was part of the July 2020 REMOTE: The Connected Faculty Summit

Discussion here will focus on the implications of the financial crisis facing many highly-ranked and prestigious institutions with a longer-term view of how this might alter the geo-political impact of research universities, and the balance of power between China, the US and rest of the world. If universities ‘are too big to fail’, then what of their strengths do national governments most value?

This panel is managed and moderator by our content partner, Times Higher Education, the publisher behind the world’s biggest dataset that produces the annual THE World University Rankings, with an expertise in independent higher education reporting and analysis spanning 50 years.


Michael Wesley

Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, The University of Melbourne

Professor Michael Wesley is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne.
Previously he was Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University; Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy; Director of the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University; and Assistant Director-General for Transnational Issues at the Office of National Assessments, the Australian government’s peak intelligence agency. **
** His research interests include Australian foreign policy, security dynamics in Asia and the Pacific, and the politics of statebuilding interventions. His 2011 book, _There Goes the Neighbourhood: Australia and the Rise of Asia_ won the John Button Prize for the best writing on Australian politics and public policy. **
** Professor Wesley holds a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a PhD from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Peter Mathieson

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Edinburgh
Professor Peter Mathieson MBBS(Hons)(London), PhD(Cambridge), FRCP(London), FMedSci assumed the office of Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in February 2018. He was formerly the 15th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. Previous posts include: foundation Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol, Honorary Consultant Nephrologist, North Bristol NHS Trust, Head of the University Department of Clinical Science at North Bristol, Director of Research & Development for the North Bristol NHS Trust, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol.

Sarah Springman

Rector, ETH Zurich
Sarah Springman has been Full Professor for Geotechnical Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, since January 1997 and Rector of the university since January 2015. She was educated at the University of Cambridge and spent most of her recent career in Switzerland as Professor for Geotechnical Engineering, with a main focus on soil-structure interaction and the geotechnical aspects of natural hazards. As Rector of ETH Zurich she is responsible for education within the Executive Board and as such for 20.000 students. She is in charge of admissions to study programmes at all levels and for the organisation and management of study-related matters.

Phil Baty

Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education
Phil Baty is a leading international authority on university performance and strategy, with more than 22 years of experience in global higher education, including a decade as editor of the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings and its derivative analyses. He is an award-winning journalist, a sought-after speaker and commentator, and the creator of the THE World Academic Summits.