© 2010

Innovation, Profit and the Common Good in Higher Education

The New Alchemy


Part of the Issues in Higher Education book series (IHIGHER)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. John Harpur
    Pages 1-33
  3. John Harpur
    Pages 34-51
  4. John Harpur
    Pages 52-109
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 244-310

About this book


University ethics is everyone's business, and big business is what the university is all about whether in the US, Europe or the rest of the world. How this has come about is less important than that it has, and is being taken very seriously by global and national forces. The important issue confronting higher education is its assumed role in guaranteeing economic prosperity. Governments are no longer content to let research leak out serendipitously into the economy. The Post-Industrial Society, Information Society, Knowledge Economy and Smart Economy require nothing less than commercially directed research producing innovatory products. The public interest is reduced to economic measures. The political, social and moral implications of changing practices in the university are rarely acknowledged in the rise of the New Alchemy. This book examines the resulting ambiguities and questionable evidence in favour of current polices.


education higher education innovation methods university

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.National University of IrelandMaynoothIreland

About the authors

JOHN HARPUR is Lecturer in the Computer Science Department, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland. In 1998, he was awarded the Applied Ergonomics award for contributions to Human Factors. Along with academic articles, he has authored two books dealing with Asperger Syndrome directed at adolescents and college students. Between 2002 and 2006, he served as a Vice President in the Irish Federation of University Teachers.

Bibliographic information


'John Harpur raises very important issues in relation to Irish public policy. He deserves credit for being a rare insider in Ireland to address inconvenient truths to little emperors. His book is well researched and international in its scope.'

- Michael Hennigan, Found and Editor of Finfacts, Finfacts

'..this is a wide-ranging and interesting text that approaches the well-trodden territory of 'what are universities for?' and 'have they been hijacked for spurious economic benefit?' in a more scholarly way than is often the case.'

- British Journal of Education Studies

'Too often research into higher education policy issues oscillates from description to prescription with very little analysis in between. Harpur's book most definitely does not fall into this category it is scholarly work with strong analytical themes.' - Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education

'Harpur provides a fresh set of perspectives...constantly challenging orthodoxies, asking questions and drawing together and recombining elements in order to make something new.' - Higher Education Quarterly