EUA : European University Association

5th EUA Convention: Facing Global Challenges - European strategies for Europe’s universities, Prague, Czech Republic (18-21 March 2009)

EUA is pleased to announce that registration is open for its 2009 Convention that will take place at Charles University in Prague, from 18-21 March 2009.

For the European higher education community, EUA’s biennial Conventions are unique opportunities for reflection on the ongoing changes in European higher education sectors and institutions. Around 500 institutional leaders from all over Europe are expected to attend.

The 2009 Convention comes at a particularly important time. Key decisions on higher education post 2010 will be taken at the 2009 Bologna ministerial meeting that will map out the future of the European higher education area while at the same time the future contours of the European Research Area, and the role of universities are also under discussion at European level. The outcomes of the Convention will be geared towards impacting directly on decision making in these two crucial areas.

Hence the choice of the theme of the event - Facing Global Challenges: European strategies for Europe’s universities – that underlines the growing reality of the European Higher Education and Research Areas, with strong implications for national and institutional development.

In order to ensure well-established contributions to the 2009 Bologna ministerial meeting, the Convention will have a new format, where priority issues will be tackled under four thematic clusters:

•    The university as an inclusive and responsive institution;
•    Universities as research institutions;
•    Governing and managing complex institutions: New challenges in higher education – Impact and institutional response;
•    Global outreach – Europe’s interaction with the wider world.
Each cluster will comprise plenaries and working groups, that will last the entire Friday morning of 20 March. The results of the clusters will be discussed by the cluster chairs in Plenary session III, on Friday afternoon.

Please visit the conference website to register for the event.

EUA launches 2010 Trends project

EUA is pleased to announce that it has launched its latest Trends survey of higher education institutions that will be used for its 2010 edition of the Trends in European Higher Education Report.

The findings and conclusions of the Trends 2010 report 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.

The report will be discussed widely within the university community as well as with Ministers of Higher Education and other key stakeholders at a major conference that will take place in Vienna in March 2010. In order to analyse effectively the impact of the Bologna process on the daily reality of higher education institutions across Europe, it is essential that as many institutions as possible respond to the questionnaire.

If you have not yet received a questionnaire or if it has been misplaced, then please contact us at

First agencies included on the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR)

The first three quality assurance agencies have been included on the new European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) since Friday, 5 December 2008.

EQAR’s Register Committee, an independent body made up of experts in quality assurance and chaired by Irish High Court Judge Bryan McMahon, considered the first applications for inclusion on EQAR at its meeting on 22/23 November 2008 at Corvinus University of Budapest.

Following a thorough analysis, three agencies were accepted at the meeting:

•    ANECA - National Agency for the Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain (Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación);
•    AQU - Agency for Quality Assurance in the Catalan University System (Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya);
•    NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie);

Further applications are also pending.  Agencies that wish to be included on EQAR are first required to undergo an external review in line with EQAR’s procedures in order to provide evidence of their substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG). Based on the external review, agencies can apply for inclusion on EQAR in accordance with EQAR's formal requirements and procedures.

EQAR was founded by four European stakeholder bodies representing quality assurance agencies (ENQA), students (ESU), universities (EUA) and other higher education institutions (EURASHE) in March 2008 in the context of the Bologna process.

•    Please consult the Communiqué by the Chair of the Register Committee for additional information.
•    View the Register of quality assurance agencies

EU-Asia Higher Education Platform workshop in China

Following a number of EU-Asia higher education dialogue events this autumn, EUA recently gathered over 45 heads of doctoral schools and graduate programmes across Asia and Europe for a workshop entitled ‘Graduate/Doctoral Education in Asia and Europe’.

Held at the Delegation of the European Commission to China and Mongolia in Beijing, this workshop was the third of a series of events being organised under the European Commission funded EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP), which EUA, DAAD and Nuffic are implementing.

The two-day event drew members of the new EUA Council on Doctoral Education and discussed such pertinent themes as structures for doctoral education and new forms of delivery, employability of PhD holders and EU-Asia collaboration in doctoral education.

A one day EU-China bi-lateral meeting, co-organised by the CEAIE (China Education Association for International Exchange), followed the event, drawing over 22 Chinese universities from the Beijing area for a discussion on EU-China bi-lateral cooperation. A report on the outcomes of this event and the two prior EAHEP events, a roundtable on governance and management in Hanoi (25-26 November) and European Higher Education Fair (EHEF) and Symposium in New Delhi (12-14 November) will be posted in the new year on the EAHEP website.

Conference report: European Forum for Philanthropy and Research Funding Stakeholders Conference, Milan, Italy (2 December 2008)

Organised by the European Foundation Center and its partners, this month’s “European Forum for Philanthropy and Research Funding" conference in Milan brought together key actors from Europe’s leading foundations and universities to discuss the benefits and challenges of partnerships in research.

The conference provided an opportunity to discuss the various forms such a partnership might take, how foundations might actively support universities in their fundraising efforts and what their role might be in achieving the objectives of the European Research Area.  Professor Giuseppe Silvestri, Permanent EUA Council Representative of the Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università Italiane, underlined in the opening panel the growing importance of partnerships in research and the increasingly significant role played by foundations in university funding portfolios.

Thomas Estermann, EUA Senior Programme Manager, presented recent trends in university funding and the accompanying challenges for universities. Underlining the positive strategic effects of enhanced partnerships he also pointed out the dangers inherent in an increase in competitive research funding. A growth in funding sources that do not cover the full costs of funded projects will enlarge universities’ funding gaps and endanger in the long run universities’ financial sustainability. This effect was identified in the recent report “Towards full costing in European universities”.  

In the concluding panel, Thomas Estermann was invited to discuss the findings of the day with key stakeholders. He emphasised the importance of acknowledging the diversity of Europe’s universities, and the necessity for national governments to adopt best practices from other countries in supporting and fostering universities' diversification of income streams, including those from philanthropic sources. This issue will be addressed by the EUA in its next project EUDIS.

Brussels in brief: News from the European Commission

On 16 December 2008 the European Commission presented its strategic vision for co-operation between EU Member States on the reform of their education and training systems.

In the strategy, there are joint targets to measure the progress made by education and training systems at European level. They include the reading literacy of 15 year-olds, early school leavers, and the participation of adults in lifelong learning. The Commission proposes to review these benchmarks and to consider new benchmarks in more key areas such as tertiary education attainment, employability and student mobility. Please click here to read more.

Meanwhile, following the story in the last EUA newsletter, the European Commission has now published a call for tenders, inviting bidders to design and test a new multi-dimensional university ranking system with global outreach. More information is available on the Commission website.