The Institutional Evaluation Programme was launched in 1994 at the initiative of the European Rectors’ Conference (CRE), which later went on to become the European University Association (EUA).

In the early 1990s, the debate on university quality had started heating up in Europe, which led CRE to devote two of its conferences to the issue of quality. Discussing ways to assess and evaluate quality, the rectors explored different possibilities, but there was a general feeling that institutional assessments based on self-studies and peer reviews would serve the members of the CRE best. A focused, but flexible programme, with much room for learning by doing was formulated and a pilot project developed with the participation of the universities of Gothenburg, Porto and Utrecht.

The basic objective of IEP was – and continues to be – to help member institutions and their leaders assess their activities and (further) improve their performance. Working on the belief that in a public higher education system, the university leadership (rector, president, deans, etc.) is responsible for the quality of individual programmes, it is much more cost-, time- and energy-effective to assess the quality of the performance of the institution overall, than to focus on the programme level.

While retaining this basic principle, IEP has continued to develop and, since 1994, IEP evaluation teams have carried out around 400 evaluations and follow-up evaluations of diverse higher education institutions in 45 countries worldwide. For an overview of all institutions which have participated in IEP, please visit this page.

In 2014 IEP celebrated its 20th anniversary with a new publication about the Programme. The publication can be downloaded here.