EUA : European University Association

Call for Contributions for the 5th European Quality Assurance Forum

The 5th European Quality Assurance Forum, ‘Building bridges: making sense of QA in European, national and institutional contexts,’ will take place on 18 – 20 November 2010 and will be hosted by University Claude Bernard Lyon I, France.

The Forum, which has become increasingly successful since its beginnings, will once again be supported by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme and co-organised by the E4 Group: EUA, ESU, ENQA, EURASHE.

As in previous years, the Forum organisers are seeking contributions from participants. Proposals will be welcome in three different formats: as papers, as workshop propositions, and as proposals for holding a stand in the Forum Café. The latter would involve sharing an example of practice in QA in an informal and networking context, while paper and workshop proposals might delve deeper into how quality assurance tools and processes relate to European and national policy discussions or interact with institutional quality frameworks and quality culture.

The deadline for submission of all contributions is 26 July 2010. For further information please visit this webpage or contact

Photo ©Eric Le Roux/Communication/UCBL

Workshop Report. Towards a coordinated vision of Europe-Africa higher education partnerships: Supporting institutional capacity building in Africa

On 25 and 26 February, EUA, the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) and the Association of African Universities brought together 80 participants from Europe and Africa, representing universities, development cooperation agencies, private foundations, the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission, the European Commission, and national ministries for the workshop ‘Towards a coordinated vision of Europe-Africa higher education partnerships: Supporting institutional capacity building in Africa.’

The meeting took place in the framework of the Erasmus Mundus co-funded project ‘Access to Success: Fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa.’ It started from the logic that revitalising higher education and building stronger universities is crucial for socio-economic development. Key topics addressed included the need for more information and better communication among the various actors in Europe-Africa university cooperation activities. At the institutional level, universities need strategic approaches to link the various partners and programmes from whom they benefit. Many African universities, for example, cooperate with a wide range of universities, countries and foundations, however, they do so in a compartmentalised manner.

The provision of flexible funding tools for mutually beneficial university partnerships, a stronger focus on staff development measures and institutional governance and higher prioritisation of higher education by African governments were all critical messages conveyed by participants. It was also agreed that there is a need to establish an ‘African dimension’ to higher education, i.e. to have more cross-border cooperation among countries and universities inside Africa, and the African Union Commission has been invited to engage African universities more in planning its higher education and research initiatives. All presentations made during the workshop can be downloaded here.

The results of the workshop will feed into a white paper that will be presented at a dissemination conference in Brussels on 21 September 2010. This will also take account of the outcomes from the Addis Ababa workshop in November 2009 and the results of the upcoming workshop in Ghana on intra and inter regional mobility (3-4 May 2010). Universities interested in attending the Ghana workshop can send EUA an expression of interest form before 17 March 2010.

EUA contributes to high-level European seminar on simplification of funding for research

On 25 February, EUA participated in a high-level seminar organised in Brussels by the EU Spanish Presidency on the topic of simplification of Community funding for research.

EUA was invited to share the universities’ views on how to simplify European funding schemes. Members of the European Commission, the Court of Auditors and the European Parliament debated with EUA, EARTO, EUROHORCS and representatives from industry on the future design of Community funding.

EUA welcomes the Spanish Presidency’s initiative of launching this process and calls for a continuation of this stakeholder forum. Thomas Estermann, EUA Head of Unit, underlined that simplification needs to cover the full funding cycle and that rules need to be consistent, stable and respect the diversity of Europe’s universities. He also called for an urgent change in the implementation and interpretation of rules based on trust, highlighting key elements of the EUA’s recent submission to the public consultation on the Second Triennial Review of the Financial Regulation.

To underpin its evidence-based policy recommendations and participation in this forum, EUA continues its work on university funding through EUDIS and its upcoming experts conference and the EUIMA -Full costing project.

EUA initiates debate with key actors in European research policy

Under the chairmanship of Professor David Drewry (EUA Vice-President), EUA’s newly re-constituted Research Policy Working Group (RPWG) held its second meeting on 25 February at the EUA Office in Brussels.

As the main advisory body to the EUA Board and Council on European research policy issues, the RPWG has initiated a series of discussions with key actors on the role and contribution of Europe’s universities in building the European Research Area (ERA).

At last week’s RPWG meeting, Professor John Wood (Chairman, European Research Area Board, ERAB) and Professor Anders Flodstrom (Member of Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, EIT) were invited for an exchange of views on their current priorities and to indentify common interests. Such dialogues with other key actors will continue in the coming months to help inform EUA in the development later this year of its position on post-2013 ERA funding instruments (when the current 7th Research Framework Programme ends).

Reminder: Questionnaire for the EUA Quality Culture Project

EUA recently launched a new project to examine the internal ‘quality culture’ within European universities, and how this has developed within the framework of the Bologna Process reforms.

The first step of the project – supported by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme - will be based around a survey of European universities and higher education institutions, in order to capture the institutional quality assurance processes in place.

EUA encourages all its members to take part in the survey before the deadline of 30 March 2010.

To find out more about the Examining Quality Culture in Higher Education Institutions (EQC) project, please visit this website.

Reminder: EUA Experts Conference. Towards Financially Sustainable Universities II - Diversifying Income Streams, University of Bologna, Italy (22-23 April 2010)

EUA will organise, with its partners, a major Experts Conference on ‘sustainable funding’ in the framework of the EUDIS project on income diversification in European universities.

Building on the success of EUA’s first Experts Conference in 2008 which focused on full costing and accounting practices, this event will explore another crucial element of financial sustainability for universities: income diversification.

Registration for this event is free. Sign up before the deadline of 7 April and find out more on the event website.

Update: Bologna Process and the recognition of professional qualifications

EUA monitors European-level developments at the interface of the Bologna Process and the EC Directive (2005/36/EC) on the recognition of professional qualifications.

The most recent update has just been posted on the EUA website. In addition to coverage of the EU institutions, the updates report on the recent activities of academic, professional, regulatory and student bodies, with particular reference to the sectoral professions (medical doctor, dentist, general care nurse, midwife, veterinary doctor, pharmacist and architect).

Please click here to read more.

Brussels update: ERC appoints Prof. Helga Nowotny as new President

Professor Helga Nowotny, an Austrian social scientist, has, this week, taken over as the new President of the European Research Council (ERC). Her election followed the resignation of Professor Fotis C. Kafatos, in January, after three years leadership of the ERC.

Prof. Nowotny was previously vice-president of the ERC Scientific Council and is Professor emeritus of Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich, and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Vienna University.

EUA has provided input from universities to the development of the ERC and most recently contributed to the ERC mid-term review. EUA looks forward to continuing this dialogue with Prof. Nowotny.