EUA : European University Association

Bologna process Ministerial Summit: Ministers lay basis for future European HE cooperation

The 46 Education Ministers meeting at last week’s biennial Bologna Ministerial Summit in Belgium (28/29 April) adopted a Communiqué that will provide the basis for the future of European higher education cooperation when the current framework ends in 2010.

EUA welcomes the fact that the Communiqué, entitled ‘The Bologna process 2020 – The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in the new decade’,  underlines the importance of maintaining the existing stakeholder approach post 2010, which means that universities, students, business, in tandem with governments, will share responsibility for the development of future reforms and cooperation. This approach has provided opportunities for universities, through EUA and other higher education institutions, to take a leading role in policy development, and this should be built upon in the future.

EUA also welcomes the fact that the Communiqué takes up many of the key points stressed in its recent Prague Declaration to Ministers. In particular, the Communiqué underlines the importance of increasing the quality and quantity of mobility in Europe, together with many of the other key issues underlined in the EUA Declaration including taking forward lifelong learning, notably through the take-up of EUA’s Lifelong Learning Charter, and improving researcher careers.

In his speech to Ministers, EUA President Jean-Marc Rapp, underlined the importance of increasing funding in higher education and research, notably with a Europe-wide stimulus package to underpin the development of the European Higher Education and Research Areas, and outlined the ‘10 success factors’ for universities developed in the Declaration. He also stressed five key priorities for EUA in the next decade with regard to the development of the EHEA:
•    Consolidating and communicating the achievements of the Bologna process
•    Putting the lifelong learning agenda at the ‘centre of our preoccupations’
•    Maintaining quality at the heart of the Bologna process
•    Enhancing cooperation at the European level with more ‘common European reference points’
•    Building the future EHEA based on the unique partnership model created by the Bologna process.

Looking to the future, EUA will continue to take a central role for its members – through its participation in the Bologna Follow Up Group. In March 2010, Ministers will meet again for a Bologna anniversary conference to mark the official launch of the EHEA and the end of the first phase of the process. Here, EUA will present the result of its ongoing Trends 2010 study that will make a direct contribution to the discussion on the achievements of the past decade of the Bologna process, of the challenges lying ahead and of the priorities to be set for the future.

Ministers have also agreed that beyond 2010 the Bologna process will be co-chaired by a country holding the EU presidency and a non-EU country. The next formal Ministerial Summit will take place in Romania in April 2012 with further meetings planned for 2015 and 2018.

Please visit the official Bologna secretariat website to see all of the presentations and reports submitted to the meeting by stakeholders (including the stocktaking report, the latest Eurydice report: "Higher Education in Europe 2009: Developments in the Bologna Process" and the Eurostat/Eurostudent: "Key indicators on the social dimension and mobility").

Bologna Global Policy Forum – 29 April 2009

For the first time as part of a Bologna Ministerial Summit, Ministers of education from the 46 European countries participating in the Bologna process were joined by Ministers or heads of delegation from 15 countries from Africa, Asia, America (North and South) and Australasia as part of a ‘Bologna Policy Forum’.

During the forum – which highlighted the growing interest in the Bologna process outside of Europe - participants took part in a debate on international higher education cooperation and partnership with a long-term view to developing and enhancing links between the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the rest of the world.

Following an exchange of views about how these countries saw the development of EHEA, a statement was adopted by all participants. It notes that all countries recognise the importance of public investment in higher education and its importance in sustainable economic recovery. It also underlined the importance of global sharing of knowledge, and the importance of ‘fair recognition of studies and qualifications’ for enhancing mobility.

“We note that transnational exchanges in higher education should be governed on the basis of academic values and we advocate a balanced exchange of teachers, researchers and students between our countries and promote fair and fruitful ‘brain circulation’ ”, the statement reads.

Noting the commitment to long-term collaboration – through for example the organisation of joint seminars – the Ministers agreed to hold a similar Forum during the next meeting in Vienna in March next year.

EUA President addresses European Ministers for Research (4 May 2009)

EUA’s President, Professor Jean-Marc Rapp this week addressed Research Ministers from across Europe attending an informal meeting of the EU’s Council for Competiveness in Prague.

Professor Rapp contributed to a high-level debate on relationship building between the main public and private actors in European research. This is the first time an EUA President has been invited to address the Competiveness Council and he told Ministers this was an important gesture in bringing forward Europe’s universities as stakeholders in the policy-making dialogue on creating an effective European Research Area.

The meeting, which followed the Bologna process meeting of higher education Ministers in Belgium last week, enabled Professor Rapp to underline the different areas of EUA’s ongoing work to improve the attractiveness of research careers in Europe, notably through its contribution to improving doctoral studies – the third cycle of the Bologna process.

Highlighting the principal issues taken up in EUA’s Prague Declaration, Professor Rapp urged Ministers to invest in education and research (particularly in this time of economic downturn) to avoid losing the present generation of young researchers, and to tap the ‘unused potential’ in Europe by stepping up commitments to lifelong learning. He also underlined four specific areas of EUA’s work that would be crucial to the future competiveness of Europe’s research:

• Increasing partnerships in research and innovation – embracing the open innovation model – particularly through the Responsible Partnering initiative

• Opening the horizons of research careers (in both public and private sectors) and the quality of researcher mobility, through the EUA DOC-CAREERS project

• Creating platforms for dialogue with key actors – notably through the EUA Council for Doctoral Education

• Mobilising universities as research institutions to address 21st century major challenges such as energy through EUA's newly-established European Platform of Universities Engaged in Energy Research.

Please click here to read Professor Rapp’s speech.

EUA launches Platform of Universities engaged in Energy Research to support EERA

Last October, EUA Council agreed to support the launch of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA).

The Alliance aims to accelerate the development of new energy technologies in support of the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) plan by pooling and integrating research activities across Europe. EUA – which was invited to join EERA by the European Commission – is pleased to announce the establishment of a new ‘European Platform of Universities engaged in Energy Research’ as a mechanism to bring university-based research into EERA activities. The new Platform will provide the framework for consultation between universities that have a substantial research capacity in energy fields.

This move follows the discussions held at a recent EUA workshop, held in Brussels, which was attended by prominent scientists from across Europe, who had been nominated by 18 of EUA’s National Rectors’ Conferences.

At the workshop - chaired by EUA Vice-President and EUA member of the EERA Founding Group, Professor Helena Nazaré - scientists had the opportunity to hold an extensive debate on the EERA with Raffaele Liberali, Director, Directorate Energy at the EC’s Directorate-General for Research.

As a result of the workshop a small steering group of experts has been identified which will meet in early June to draw up an agenda and programme for the new EUA Platform – and will have the role of providing expert advice and support to Professor Nazaré and to ensure the universities’ position will feed into future developments of the EERA.

At the Informal Competitiveness Council meeting on 4th May EUA President, Jean-Marc Rapp, stated that EUA hopes that through the building of this new European Platform it can make a contribution to achieving the European policy goal of overcoming the fragmentation of research in this key field and furthermore to bringing university-based research and postgraduate training programmes to address a major global research challenge. He emphasised also that EUA sees EERA as an important pilot action in the potential development of the new instrument of 'joint programming' within the 'Ljubljana Process' in which university-based research needs to play its full part and be strengthened – and that the new European Platform should help to achieve this goal.

Reminder: Call for papers - Fourth European Quality Assurance Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark (19 – 21 November 2009)

The Fourth European Quality Assurance Forum will be organised on 19-21 November 2009 at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. The theme of this year’s Forum is ‘Creativity and Diversity: Challenges for quality assurance beyond 2010’.

As in previous years, the forum organisers are seeking contributions from participants in the form of paper presentations and workshop proposals. EUA members are invited to propose papers, for example, sharing and discussing their experiences of QA practices or testing ideas for new quality assurance initiatives.

The deadline for papers is 20 August 2009. In order to find out more about the Fourth European Quality Assurance Forum call for papers, please click here.

Further information on how to register for the QA Forum will be published through the EUA Newsletter and website.