EUA : European University Association

Special EUA event: The launch of Trends 2010 report (University of Vienna, Austria, 11 March 2010)

EUA is pleased to announce that it will organise a special one-day event in Vienna in March to mark the launch of the next Trends report – EUA’s flagship pan-European study on the latest trends in European higher education and implementation of the Bologna process.

EUA has decided to organise this special event as 2010 will mark the end of the first phase of the Bologna process (and the official opening of the European Higher Education Area). This event has also been timed to coincide with the next Bologna Ministerial Anniversary Conference, co-hosted by Hungary and Austria on 11/12 March 2010.

This will be an opportunity for EUA members to witness the first presentation of the Trends 2010 report that analyses the implementation and achievements of the Bologna process reforms in Europe’s universities over the last decade, and defines priorities for the next decade.

This sixth report in the Trends series is the most far reaching in its scope in terms of the depth of the data on which it is based: questionnaire responses from over 800 universities, feedback from 28 National Rectors’ Conferences and 27 site visits to universities in 16 European countries.

Chaired by Eric Froment, founding President of EUA, this special event will begin with an introductory presentation on the Bologna reforms given by Georg Winckler, Rector of the University of Vienna and former EUA President. A comprehensive presentation of the Trends 2010 report will be followed by a cocktail and buffet reception. There will also be a limited number of places at the Viennese ball gala for EUA delegates. The ball – part of the Bologna Ministerial Anniversary Conference – will be held in the Imperial Palace in Vienna, on the evening of 11 March, 2010.

To find out more and to register for the conference, please visit the event website.

Reminder: Questionnaire for European Platform of Universities engaged in Energy Research (extended deadline)

Last month, EUA invited members to respond to a questionnaire on energy-related research and Master/Doctorate Programmes, in relation to the building of an EUA European Platform of Universities Engaged in Energy Research (EPUE) within the European Energy Research Alliance.

EUA would like members to note the deadline has been extended until 31 January 2010 to enable more universities to complete the questionnaire which requires cross faculty/department coordination. Please click here to read the letter to members or download the questionnaire.

Second EUA-CDE Workshop: Structuring doctoral programmes - a means for continuous improvement

Around 70 stakeholders and policymakers gathered last week at the University of Zagreb for the Second EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) Workshop which focussed on structuring doctoral programmes as a means for improving Europe’s doctoral education.

The introduction of structured programmes in doctoral education continues to gain momentum in higher education institutions across Europe – but implementation also poses many challenges. Amongst the conclusions to come from the EUA-CDE meeting was the underlying need for all institutions – regardless of their size -  to achieve critical mass with their doctoral programmes. This was considered crucial in order to help build doctoral communities based on the institutional research priorities, to improve overall research quality and productivity, to increase accountability, and to improve funding opportunities.

Participants stressed, however, that critical mass could be attained using different strategies and it was a question of ’content rather than numbers’ (e.g. by building networks and clusters or using inter- and intra-disciplinary co-operation). It was also underlined during the meeting that dedicated and sustainable funding would be crucial for the future of European doctoral education.

EUA’s Salzburg Principles on doctoral education - launched in 2005 - underline research as the core component of doctoral education and connect this with a call for stronger institutional strategies and structures to support this research. In the past five years, universities have been the main driver of the major reforms in doctoral education and EUA feels therefore that now is a good time to take a thorough look at the reforms being implemented and assess how the Salzburg principles are being used in practice.

The EUA and EUA-CDE plan a series of consultations with the members during the coming months in order to develop the original principles through the experiences of their implementation. Further information will be published through the newsletter and website.

EUA underlines key to successful university-business partnerships – breakfast briefing in Brussels

Last week EUA organised a breakfast briefing for Brussels-based HE and research stakeholders and policymakers to underline some of the key policy messages that have come from its recent work on university-business partnerships, in particular through the DOC-CAREERS project and the Responsible Partnering initiative.

Presenting the results of the DOC CAREERS study, Lidia Borrell Damian, EUA Senior Programme Manager, told the audience that public support for collaborative doctoral programmes between industry and universities was crucial. She also urged policymakers and all partners to work together to remove barriers hindering researcher mobility between universities and industry.

During the briefing, EUA also announced the launch of DOC-Careers II – the second phase of the project that will focus more explicitly on how universities work with their regional partners and particularly local SME’s. One important aspect of this work will be collecting case studies on university strategies for R & D human resources development, particularly in terms of recruiting and retaining doctoral candidates/holders.

Deputy Secretary General, John Smith presented the recently revised Responsible Partnering Guidelines and explained how these would serve as practical guidelines for research collaboration between industry and universities. He underlined that they would be an important first step in developing the ‘Open Innovation Charter' that has been proposed by the Commission’s high-level advisory group (ERAB), and that they would also provide valuable input to the building of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities to be supported by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Following the EUA presentations, the industry and university perspectives to these discussions were provided by Leopold Demiddeleer, Future Businesses Director, Solvay S.A. Research & Technology, Belgium and President of the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA); and Prof. Karen Maex, Vice-Rector Science, Engineering and Technology, K.U.Leuven and member of EIT Governing Board.

EUA highlights value of philanthropic research funding (European Forum for Philanthropy and Research Funding, 1-3 December)

Organised by the European Foundation Centre and EUA as one of the partners, this month’s 'European Forum for Philanthropy and Research Funding' conference in London hosted by the Wellcome Trust brought together key actors from Europe’s leading foundations and universities to discuss philanthropy as a growing asset for research.

The conference provided an opportunity to discuss the role of philanthropic funding of research and what needs to be done to enhance further growth in philanthropy as a growing research asset for universities.

In the opening plenary session, David Drewry, EUA Vice President underlined that this can be a highly flexible funding source with less complex strings attached in comparison to other public funding sources. He also warned that philanthropic funding should not be seen by governments as a substitution for public funding but rather as an additional source.  He further stressed that autonomy is key for universities to attract other funding sources and that EUA is willing to contribute to further capacity building within institutions to increase philanthropic funding.

John Smith, EUA Deputy Secretary General argued that philanthropic funding should support “risk taking” in research and should be a source for investing in “out of the box” ideas and approaches. Tim Hunt, principal investigator Cancer Research UK and Nobel prize winner in Physiology/Medicine showed how such risk-taking can lead to crucial discoveries.

The conference also provided an opportunity to present the first findings from EUA's EUDIS project. Ian Creagh, Kings College London and Chairman of the project underlined the importance of incentive mechanisms if philanthropic funding is to grow in universities budgets. Shirley Pierce, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University showed, with the example of the UK matched funding scheme, how governments can provide such an incentive mechanism.

In the concluding panel, Thomas Estermann, EUA Head of Unit was invited to discuss the findings of the breakout sessions with key stakeholders. He made the case that philanthropic funding should be a way of investing in research without the bureaucracy that other public funding sources often bring with them. He placed emphasis on the value of a continued dialogue and exchange between foundations and university leaders to increase the understanding of what is needed to enhance philanthropic funding for universities.

Brussels in brief: Barroso unveils his new team

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has announced the team of Commissioners he hopes will join him in forming the new Commission in 2010.

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (Ireland) has been designated as Research and Innovation Commissioner, with Androulla Vassiliou (Cyprus) as Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The new Commission must gain approval from the European Parliament (probably in January) before it takes office.

Click here to read more.

Merry Christmas!

EUA would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. We look forward to a New Year of European higher education and research cooperation.

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