EUA : European University Association

Launch Conference for the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE), 1 – 3 June 2008, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

The University of Lausanne -<br/> Silvano Prada/Unicom/UNIL Copyright
The University of Lausanne -
Silvano Prada/Unicom/UNIL Copyright

EUA’s Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) is a new independent membership service being developed by EUA to build on the association’s groundbreaking work on doctoral programmes in recent years.

The EUA-CDE will develop and intensify the dialogue on the reform of doctoral education in Europe, and provide a framework for action in which to tackle issues of common concern through discussion and exchange of good practice among universities.
EUA is delighted to invite you to find out more about this exciting new initiative by attending the launch conference that will be hosted by the University of Lausanne from 1-3 June 2008. The main goals of the launch conference are to introduce the new service to European universities and to determine the priorities for EUA-CDE activities in the years to come. Participants will also be asked to look at the major developments in doctoral education since the last major EUA conference on the topic (Nice, December 2006).
The EUA-CDE will provide a forum for dialogue and exchange for all European universities for which constantly improving and enhancing doctoral education and research training possibilities is a major concern – both for those at the beginning of their reflection as well as for those that have already made progress in this area.
The launch conference is targeted at institutional leaders: rectors, vice-rectors, heads of doctoral/ graduate/ research schools, researchers, supervisors, and experts on the topic of doctoral education.
Please click here to read more about the event and programme.
Register now

EUA project brings Quality Assurance and Creativity together

Cartoon by Patrick Sanders
Cartoon by Patrick Sanders

EUA has started work on a new project to develop a methodology for quality assurance that fosters and supports creativity and innovation.

The methodology will be developed through drawing on the experience of a group of quality assurance agencies, higher education institutions and specialised arts and music schools who are exploring together the ways in which good quality systems can underpin creativity and innovation in higher education.

The first seminar was organised last week by the UK Higher Education Academy in York. It featured a keynote address by Norman Sharp, Director of QAA Scotland, who explained the evolution of quality assurance in the UK and observed:“I’m really excited about this project. Instead of talking about the negative things that quality assurance is often associated with, it’s examining the topics that really matter.

A sideways commentary on the relationship of quality assurance and creativity was also provided by Belfast cartoonist, Patrick Sanders, who produced a series of cartoons during the seminar to stimulate participants to look differently at the ways in which they work:

In my view we are all creative in different ways, and education systems can support or destroy our creative potential. Sometimes a teacher’s negative comment on a child’s drawing may discourage the child from ever drawing again, while the educational environment can also play a big role in enhancing creativity. We shouldn’t strive to be creative in the same ways. I can’t paint like Michelangelo, but then again Michelangelo probably couldn’t do the kind of cartoons that I produce.

Participants will continue to develop the methodology in a further seminar in Bayreuth organised by ACQUIN in May, and the draft methodology will then be tested. The final outcomes of the project will be disseminated in 2009.

Patrick Sanders is a professional cartoonist. Click here to contact him.

EUA nominations named in high-level advisory group on research and science (ERAB)

Two EUA nominations submitted to the European Research Area Board (ERAB) Identification Committee have been selected amongst the 22 personalities who will make up the new Board announced last week by the European Commission.

EUA President, Professor Georg Winckler and Professor Karol Musiol, Rector of the Jagiellonian University in Poland have been officially named in the high-level advisory group on research and science. The new body is expected to play a key role in helping to develop, promote and evaluate policy initiatives and actions to meet the goals of the European Research Area. One of the board’s key tasks will be to provide the Commission with an annual report on "the state of the European Research Area".

ERAB succeeds and builds on the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB), whose mandate ran from 2001 to 2007. This decision follows the Green Paper "The European Research Area: New Perspectives" in which the Commission announced a reform of EURAB in order to enhance its role.

Please click here to read the Commission press release or to find out more about ERAB.

Commission urges universities to improve knowledge transfer activities

The European Commission last week adopted a recommendation which provides universities and other public research organizations with a series of principles designed to encourage more effective management of intellectual property (IP) in their knowledge management activities.

Underling the reasons behind this initiative, the Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik said Europe needed to become better at turning research results in to commercially or socially successful innovations: “Proper management by public research organisations of their intellectual property is crucial for transferring knowledge to business, for licensing new technologies or creating spin-off companies. Doing this at a European scale brings new opportunities. We cannot afford to let valuable inventions lie idle in laboratories or on bookshelves.

The Recommendation is designed to help EU member states develop or adapt policies or guidelines on IP management and knowledge transfer, and intends to promote the exploitation of publicly-funded research results.   

It also includes a “code of practice” for universities, which seeks to offer operational principles which they should rely on when developing and reviewing institutional policies. The Code is based around three main sets of principles; for internal intellectual property; for a knowledge transfer policy; and principles for collaborative and contract research. In an annex to the recommendations, the Commission has also outlined a series of ‘identified’ best practices that seek to ‘facilitate’ IP management in institutions.

EUA will be considering further these recommendations in the context of the up-dating and revision of its “Responsible Partnering Guidelines” following the recent Lisbon Conference (December 2007) reviewing the state-of-play of collaborative R & D, knowledge exchange and technology transfer amongst universities, companies and research and technology organisations.

Please click here to read the Commission recommendations and Code of Practice.

EUA Job Opportunities - Senior Programme Manager (Secretary to the EUA Council for Doctoral Education) and Project Officer (Research and Innovation Unit)

EUA is currently looking for two highly motivated professionals to join the Association in Brussels:

  • A Senior Programme Manager to join its Research and Innovation Unit to be responsible for the implementation of the policies and activities of the newly established (2008) EUA Council for Doctoral Education (CDE).
  • A Project Officer within the EUA Research and Innovation Unit to implement projects and activities on the role of universities as catalysts for regional development with the overall aim of strengthening the input of Europe’s universities as stakeholders in the policy dialogue on enhancing the development of Europe as a competitive global region.

Please click here for more information on both job profiles and how to apply.

Around Europe: France outlines priorities for Presidency of the EU

France’s Minister for Higher Education and Research, Valérie Pécresse, last week outlined her higher education priorities for France’s Presidency of the European Union later this year.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the French Rectors’ Conference (Conférence des présidents d’université) – held in Brussels (2-4 April) to mark the French Presidency – she underlined the priority areas where France will seek to be active at European level. These include: improving student mobility; reinforcing quality assurance of higher education, and identifying indicators to improve international comparability of higher education in Europe.

On the subject of mobility, she told the audience that current research into the existing barriers to improving student movement in Europe, would form the basis of Presidency discussions. The Minister also welcomed the recent launch of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education, underlining that France would promote the move towards a true quality assurance of higher education programmes across Europe.  

She also stressed the French Presidency would also tackle the issue of international indicators for comparing higher education. Underlining the impact of international rankings, the Minister said she hoped the Presidency would be the moment to move towards defining criteria that were better adapted to European higher education. These discussions would be helpful in promoting a dialogue on the possibility of European rankings.

She concluded her speech by underlining the importance of lifelong learning to Europe. France had made progress in this area, but there was still a long way to go before a true lifelong learning system was in place. The charter on lifelong learning which the French Prime Minister has asked EUA to produce for the end of November will be a step in understanding the role of universities in this transformation in higher education.

EUA welcomes suggestions of interesting national higher education stories from its collective and individual members for its ‘around Europe’ column. If you have any suggestions or further questions, please contact EUA reserves the right to refuse or edit the submitted news items.