EUA : European University Association

EUA Prague Convention: Register now for the early bird fee

EUA is pleased to announce that registration is still open for its 2009 Convention that will take place from 18 to 21 March 2009 at Charles University in Prague. To benefit from the early bird reduced fee, you will need to register before 11 February 2009.

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. 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.

Please visit the conference website for more information on how to register.

EUA welcomes new members

On the occasion of the EUA Council meeting in January, 16 institutions were welcomed as full individual members:

•    Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand II (France)

•    University Cergy-Pontoise (France)

•    University of Limoges (France)

•    Philipps University Marburg (Germany)

•    Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

•    Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

•    University of Eastern Piedmont “A. Avogadro” (Italy)

•    Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities (Poland)

•    Moscow State University for Economics, Statistics and Informatics – MESI (Russian Federation)

•    University of Prešov in Prešov (Slovak Republic)

•    University of Nova Gorica (Slovenia)

•    Afyon Kocatepe University (Turkey)

•    Chernivtsi Yuri Fedkovych National University (Ukraine)

•    Petro Mohyla Black Sea State University (Ukraine)

•    Kharkiv National University of Economics (Ukraine)

•    Institute of Education, University of London (United Kingdom)

Meanwhile, the University of Nicosia (Cyprus) was also welcomed as an individual associate member.

Priorities on ERA policy issues debated at EUA Council

On 15 January the EUA Council heard a report from EUA President, Professor Georg Winckler, in his capacity as Chair of the EUA Research Policy Working Group (RPWG), an advisory group to Council.

The RPWG is currently reviewing the five European Commission Communications following-up the European Research Area (ERA) Green Paper consultation. EUA is contributing its views at current EU Presidency and other events – the next being held under the Czech EU Presidency on policy relating to “Strengthening the ERA through Research Infrastructures (RIs)” from 24 - 25 March where an EUA contribution will be made on “Influence of RIs on training and knowledge production”.
As a result of Council’s decision at its October 2008 meeting to accept the European Commission’s invitation to join the founding body of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), the EUA is now proceeding to establish a “European Platform of Universities engaged in Energy/Energy Technology Research” in order to bring university-based research expertise into EERA activities (whose founding membership brings together major national research institutes). National Rectors Conferences are being invited by EUA to appoint a prominent university scientist in energy technology research to be a “speaker” for national university-based research expertise in their respective countries to help EUA build this “European Platform” and identify researchers who can bring their expertise into the development of the EERA, its workshops and other activities.
At Council it was agreed that EUA should maintain strong support for the 60% flat rate for recovery of indirect costs in FP7 contracts as achieved in the Rules of Participation, and continue its efforts to improve the indirect costs recovery and intellectual property rights (IPR) conditions for university partners in the Innovative Medicines Initiative – Joint Undertaking (IMI-JU). As demonstrated in the recent EUA report on “Financially Sustainable Universities: Towards Full costing in European Universities",  FP7 is a key European driver for full-costing methods but until further simplification of rules and procedures by the European Commission are flexible enough to recognise existing sound practices in costing and accounting methodologies in European universities the 60% flat rate was the minimum required to sustain university participation in FP7 contracts.
Finally, as an active main stakeholder in the policy development of the European Institute of Technology, Council welcomed the approach being made by EUA to establish a dialogue between the EUA President and the Chairman of the newly-appointed EIT Governing Board, Dr Martin Schuurmans, which follows the precedent of the established regular exchange of views achieved with Professor Fotis Kafatos, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.
For further information on these initiatives please email Gemma Jackson at the EUA Research and Innovation Unit:

EUA launches rankings working group

On 15 January the EUA Council voted to set up a working group on rankings to develop a clear road map for the association and its response to the growing number of policy initiatives in this area.

In addition to existing international rankings (such as the Times Higher and Shanghai rankings), the European Commission has now launched a tender to develop a multi-dimensional ranking instrument for European universities. Meanwhile, the Commission’s Directorate for Research has also created an expert group on university-based research assessment that will report back in July and the OECD’s AHELO project will also pilot an international comparative assessment tool in two disciplines: engineering and economics.

The EUA Council has asked a small group – comprised of EUA President-elect Jean-Marc Rapp, Sir Howard Newby (UK) and Jens Oddershede (Denmark) – to start by considering the following issues:

•    The impact of rankings and the extent to which they contribute to the quality of European higher education at institutional, national and European level;
•    From a university perspective, how to use existing examples of good practice to enhance institutional learning in respect of tools that allow institutions to assess the outcomes of their teaching and research activities;
•    At the policy level, how best to improve data provision at the university level to improve the quality of information in order to respond to the needs of different publics.

The group has been asked to report back with recommendations at the October 2009 Council meeting.

Czech Presidency of the EU underlines importance of education during financial downturn

The Czech Presidency of the EU this week underlined the importance for national governments to invest in education and research during the economic downturn.

Presenting the priorities of the Czech Presidency in higher education and research to European Parliament committees, the Minister for Education, Ondrej Liška, said: “Even in times of economic difficulty the investment in knowledge and skills needs to be safeguarded, since it is these which will ultimately pave the way towards recovery and prepare citizens to seize new opportunities when they come.”

He warned that during ‘hard’ times there may be a temptation to divert investment away from education and training. However, he noted past experience in many countries has shown such measures to be a “serious miscalculation and ultimately counter productive”. For this reason, investment in education and training is more than ever acknowledged to be a factor in the union’s competitiveness. As national resources were likely to be stretched, he explained the Czech presidency would also underline the need for ‘new and diversified funding sources – including private ones – for educational institutions’.

He underlined three key priority areas for the Czech Presidency for education:
•    To lay the foundations of a new strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training;
•    To improve cooperation between education and business;
•    To enhance the quality and openness of higher education in the context of the Bologna process.

Presenting to the European Parliament’s committee on industry and research, he reiterated how important it was for R+ D not to be squeezed. He also explained that the motto of the Presidency “Europe without borders” would be reflected in the Presidency’s research agenda.  “Our main aim is to pave the way to create the European Research Area without barriers”, he added stressing the need to go “beyond the four freedoms and facilitate the creation of the 5th freedom – free circulation of researchers, knowledge and technology”.

Download The Minister's speech to the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education.

Download The Minister's speech to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee.