EUA : European University Association

Bologna process update: Vienna and Budapest to host 2010 special Ministerial conference

EUA is pleased to announce that there will be a special Ministerial summit in the spring of 2010 to mark the creation of the European Higher Education Area, as outlined in the Bologna process.

The meeting will be held in both Vienna (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary) and will be organised by the Austrian and Hungarian governments in cooperation with EUA, the European Students Union (ESU), and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE).

This decision was reached at the recent meeting of the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) - the official coordination body for the Bologna process, consisting of government representatives from Bologna member states and stakeholder organisations including EUA - held in Brdo, Slovenia on 13-14 March 2008.

The major focus of the BFUG meeting, however, was the preparation for the next biennial Bologna Ministerial conference, due to take place in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in April 2009, and the future of this unique cooperation beyond 2010.

The debate will be prepared through a Bologna seminar in Ghent, Belgium 19-20 May 2008, an extraordinary BFUG meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 24-25 June 2008 and an independent assessment of the achievements of the 10 years of the Bologna process. This independent study will be funded by the European Commission, and a call for tender is due to be published in April 2008.

EUA will also contribute strongly to the debate on the future of the Bologna process. On 4 July 2008 the EUA Council will address this question, and next year’s Prague Convention of Higher Education Institutions (18-21 March 2009) is being organised with the intention of exploring the questions that universities consider the most important for the future European Higher Education Area. 

EUA Bologna Handbook: extract from latest supplement

The latest (7th) supplement of the EUA Bologna Handbook has just been published by Raabe Academic Publishers.

This new supplement contains a series of in-depth articles on specific aspects the Bologna process designed to support higher education professionals, both academic and administrative, in their work of introducing and implementing the Bologna process at institutional level.

Medical education is one of the fields in which the implementation of the Bologna process, especially the introduction of a Bologna-type two-cycle degree structure, has been problematical in most European countries. In most countries, a long integrated curriculum in medical education has been maintained.

An article on this topic in the new supplement, by authors Carole Probst, Egbert de Weert and Johanna Witte, argues that Switzerland is an exception in the field of medical education, moving towards the implementation of a two-cycle degree structure with a labour-market relevant Bachelor degree. They explain that Swiss medical faculties have developed a model that meets the requirements of the Bologna process, and at the same time conforms to the European directives on medical education and to Swiss federal legislation. The article presents the Swiss model in the context of the general debate on Bologna reforms in medical education, but special attention is paid to aspects of the reforms which make the Swiss case a potential example for medical education throughout Europe.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to find out more about how you can order the Bologna Handbook. 

EUA to respond to consultation on new EIT governing board

The new European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is likely to be open for business by the summer following the European Parliament's approval last week of the Council's common position on its establishment.

The next steps in the creation of the new EIT will be appointing the organisation’s Governing Board by June 2008 and establishing the first two or three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) towards the end of 2009. The KICs are designed to bring together the three sides of the 'knowledge triangle' (education, research and innovation) and will be selected by the new Governing Board.

An ad-hoc Identification Committee, established by the European Commission, has launched on the 10th March 2008 an open consultation on the main selection criteria to identify potential members for the EIT Governing Board. EUA has been following the EIT actively as a stakeholder since the first launch of a public consultation by the European Commission in September 2005. The EUA Board and Council will now hold discussions next week during the EUA Spring Conference in Barcelona to formulate the EUA response to the consultation which will seek to ensure that universities’ interests are properly represented in the selection procedure for EIT Governing Board membership. The EUA response will be submitted by the deadline of 28th March 2008.

Following its appointment (scheduled for June) the Governing Board will begin work on preparing the call for proposals for the first two or three KICs.

For more information, please click here.

EUA gathers information on key European developments

Update on EUA Master Project

EUA would like to thank all academics, students, institutions and employers who have already responded to our online survey on the master cycle. This survey marks the first phase of a project focusing on the state of master programmes around Europe. The aim is to provide comparative information across the Bologna countries on what institutions are doing with their master programmes – and how innovation in the cycle is perceived. The project addresses three particular questions:

1.    Is a recognisable European master emerging, and if so, what are its characteristics?
2.    Is structural convergence compatible with increased diversity of provision?
3.    How significant is the Master in terms of labour market access?

To date, around 600 responses have been gathered, with particular interest being shown by academics and students. The questionnaires will stay open until mid May, after which the project will move to a phase of qualitative research through site visits to a small sample of institutions.

If you have not yet done so, please take ten minutes to fill in the questionnaire below, and also encourage colleagues, students, employers to respond before mid May.


EUA Survey on Joint Programmes

In a parallel project, EUA is also gathering information on joint programmes in Europe. The aim of this work is to find out how joint programmes have been evolving in the past few years – in all cycles – and to assess their potential impact on the emerging European Higher Education Area.  The survey is designed specifically for academics, administrators and students who have direct experience of joint programmes. It will remain open until 30 April 2008.

EURADA conference: Regional dimension of universities is increasingly important

EUA was actively involved in several sessions of the EURADA (European Association of Regional Development Agencies) annual conference in Brussels earlier this month.

EUA speakers gave presentations in several of the conference sessions (6-7 March 2008) which explored how to improve the synergies between universities and Regional Development Agencies (RDA) and how to increase entrepreneurship to foster regional innovation and competitiveness.

Board member, Professor Frans Van Vught, told the audience that the regional dimension of universities activities were of increasing importance, underlining the EUA position that universities are key stakeholders in regional policy. There was no “one size fits all” approach, he said, but it was vital to have support and partnerships from all stakeholders to develop strong competitive regions. Further presentations were made by EUA Deputy Secretary General, Dr John Smith, Professor Stephen Hagen (University of West England, UK), Professor Joop Vianen (University of Tilburg, the Netherlands), and Professor Milan Dado (University of Zilina, Slovakia).

The participation of EUA in this conference builds upon the work EUA has been carrying out on regional innovation through the 2006 Brno Conference and “The Rise of Knowledge Regions” Report and on university-industry relations through the Responsible Partnering Initiative and DOC-CAREERS project.

Please click here to see the agenda of the EURADA Annual Conference.