EUA : European University Association

A very Happy New Year from everyone at EUA! Highlights for 2009

It is sure to be another busy year in the world of international higher education and another packed year for EUA. Here is just a selection of events and other activities to look forward to in 2009.

Dates for your diary

•    18-21 March 2009. 5th EUA Convention to be hosted by Charles University Prague, Czech Republic.
•    4-5 June 2009. Second Annual Conference of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education, to be hosted by the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
•    8-10 October 2009. EUA Autumn Conference 2009 will take place at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany.
•    19-21 November 2009. 4th European Quality Assurance Forum. (More details to follow shortly).

In a meeting in Brussels on the 15th January, the EUA Council adopted the 2009/2010 work programme. Here are some of the areas where EUA will be active for its 800 member universities in the coming year:

Bologna Process and building the European Higher Education Area

In April 2009, Education ministers from the 46 Bologna process countries will meet in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium to take key decisions on the future of European higher education cooperation post 2010. EUA’s political declaration resulting from the Prague Convention will be presented to Ministers at the meeting to ensure that the universities' viewpoint and concerns are taken into account.

In addition to taking forward the agenda outlined in the Lifelong Learning Charter, EUA is also presently exploring the evolution of the master’s degree across Europe through a project jointly funded by the European Commission. The results of this study – that will look at the master both in relation to the first and third cycles, and as a response to lifelong learning – are due to be available in mid 2009.

Research & innovation
EUA will continue to represent universities in all crucial policy fora at European level. It will take part in the key DG Research working groups and other advisory bodies. These groups take forward the key topics identified in the follow up to the European Research Area green paper. Meanwhile, EUA has also agreed to be a partner in the new European Energy Research Alliance which will require follow up and development during 2009.

In 2009, EUA will publish the report on the findings of the DOC-CAREERS project which has explored the relations between doctoral training, career development and employability prospects for young scientists entering non-academic professions. EUA is pleased to announce that it has received further funding from DG Research to launch DOC-CAREERS II to develop our work in this area.

Quality enhancement/the European dimension of quality  
EUA will continue to underpin universities’ efforts to develop, embed and mainstream an internal quality culture that fits their respective institutional mission and objectives thus supporting the development of creative and innovative institutions. In addition to co-organising the 4th in a series of successful European Quality Assurance Forums in November, EUA will complete a project exploring internal and external quality processes that support creative innovative higher education institutions. The results of the Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (QAHECA) project are due in mid 2009.

Internationalisation of European higher education and research
In response to growth in the global activities of European universities and the increasing interest in European developments in other parts of the world, EUA continues to promote dialogue with partner associations globally, through the long-established Transatlantic dialogue and the developing dialogue with the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

In addition to its ongoing work on the Internationalisation Handbook, EUA plans in 2009 to set up a new working group to support individual member institutions with ‘going global’. The organisation’s project work in this area will continue with two existing Commission-funded projects – the EU Asia Higher Education Platform and the new project focussing on access to higher education in Africa.

Governance – autonomy, accountability and funding
Following the publication of its report on the financial sustainability of universities – EUA is undertaking a new project called EUDIS – European Universities Diversifying Income Streams (please see full story in article below).

EUA is also pleased to announce that the results of two new studies will also be available at the Prague Convention: a comparative study on university autonomy in Europe; and a new study exploring the different levers promoting diversity between universities – based on an analysis of policies in five countries (France, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK).

EUA  Membership Services – IEP and the Council for Doctoral Education
The Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) continues to be one of EUA’s flagship activities. In addition to responding to 15 individual institutions’ requests, the IEP will continue its evaluation in Portugal. The Programme, which is managed independently by its own Steering Committee, will also undergo a review that will be concluded this year.

The new EUA Council for Doctoral Education is an integral part of EUA and managed by an independent steering committee.  The new independent membership service already has more than 100 members before its first anniversary. Following a workshop held in London last week (see article below), the second EUA-CDE Annual Conference will take place on 4-5 June 2009.

EUA also plans to carry out a survey of its members later in the year in order to identify the specific needs of different universities so we are able to target future member activities better.


Candidates for the new EUA Board

At a meeting this week in Brussels, the EUA Council nominated the following 12 candidates for the election of the next EUA Board which is due to take place at the EUA Convention in Prague.

•    Aleksa Bjelis, University of Zagreb, Croatia;
•    David Drewry, University of Hull, UK;
•    Jean-Pierre Finance, Université Henri Poincaré, Nancy 1, France;
•    Vaclav Hampl, Charles University, Czech Republic;
•    Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark;
•    Tadeusz Luty; Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland;
•    Maria Helena Nazaré, University of Aveiro, Portugal;
•    Sijbolt Noorda, VSNU, The Netherlands;
•    Kerstin Norén, Karlstad University, Sweden;
•    Giuseppe Silvestri, University of Palermo, Italy;
•    Krista Varantola, University of Tampere, Finland;
•    Margret Wintermantel, HRK, Germany.

The eight candidates with the highest number of votes from the General Assembly in Prague will serve as members of the next EUA Board from April 2009.

The new EUA Board will consist of the new EUA President, Professor Jean Marc Rapp – who will take over from Professor Georg Winckler in Prague - and the elected eight members. EUA’s Board meets at least three times a year and is responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Association's policy, the planning of its activities, and the management of its affairs.

It should also be noted that individual EUA members (with the support of 50 individual members) can also propose additional candidates. Please note the deadline is 16 February 2009. For more information please contact Michael.horig@eua.be.


Last reminder: EUA 2010 Trends survey

EUA would like to encourage those members - who have not already done so - to reply to the 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.

Please note that the deadline for returning the questionnaire is 31 January 2009. If you have not yet received a questionnaire or have any questions then please contact us as soon as possible at trends2010@eua.be.


Conference report: EUA-CDE workshop on doctoral supervision

On the 8 and 9 January, more than 80 people from all over Europe gathered at Imperial College London for the EUA Council for Doctoral Education’s workshop on doctoral supervision.

The workshop specifically focused on the training of supervisors, assessment of supervision and differences between the disciplines. Taking as the point of departure examples from many different European contexts, participants had extended discussions about these topics, how they were dealt with in the individual institutions and what concrete lessons could be learned. A conference report will be published in the newsletter of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE).

The EUA-CDE will continue to offer such workshops for its members several times each year. The next event will be the annual meeting in Lausanne (4-5 June 2009). For information about membership of the EUA-CDE, please visit this website or contact us at cde@eua.be.


EUA launches new project on diversifying university income streams (EUDIS)

Before Christmas EUA organised a special Breakfast Briefing for higher education and research stakeholders in Brussels on the theme: “Are Europe’s universities financially sustainable?

The event gathered over 70 people to discuss EUA’s new report on this topic and saw the official launch of a new project : European Universities Diversifying Income Streams. The project is the second step of EUA’s work on financial sustainability, which was initiated by the “Towards Full Costing in European Universities” project. After having made the case for universities to implement systems that allow them to identify their costs in order to inform their strategic decision-making, EUA is now seeking to emphasise the need for European universities to engage in well-managed income diversification, as a powerful tool for risk mitigation.

The Breakfast Briefing’s discussion benefited from the high-quality input of Member of European Parliament Gunnar Hökmark and Peter Van Der Hijden, Head of the Higher Education Policy sector of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture.

Mr. Hökmark called on European policy-makers to double spending for the knowledge sector, currently at 1% of GDP. Indeed, he said, even if 2% did not sound realistic, “it is better to be dissatisfied with 1.8% than happy with 0.9%”. He concluded his comments by listing three measures to be taken: increasing the independence of universities; increasing university-business cooperation; and raising EU spending in higher education and research.

Peter Van Der Hijden also stressed the EU should spend more in the knowledge economy and made an explicit link between universities’ diversification of income sources and the enhanced flexibility these institutions need to face today’s challenges and financial pressures.

EUA’s report and a description of the new project on diversification of income streams (EUDIS) are available here.