EUA : European University Association

Call for participation in European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning follow-up project

EUA, in a Consortium with the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), the European University Continuing Education Network (EUCEN) and the European Access Network (EAN), is launching a new project entitled ‘Shaping Inclusive and Responsive University Strategies (SIRUS)’.

The EU-funded project is designed to support Europe’s universities in implementing the commitments made in the European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning and thus to assist them in developing their specific role as lifelong learning institutions forming a central pillar of the Europe of Knowledge.

This project will offer approximately twenty universities with different profiles and interests in lifelong learning (LLL), and which are at different stages of LLL implementation, an opportunity to develop and enhance their strategic approaches to this issue, through interactive discussion with colleagues from all over Europe. At the same time, it will allow them to contribute to the development of policy recommendations for the European Higher Education Area.   

The participating universities will be selected through this call for participation and interested universities are invited to use the following application form. The deadline for receipt of applications is 11 December 2009, 12.00 (midday) CET.

Please visit the project webpage or email Michael Horig for further information.


Moving towards a Europe-wide ranking of university autonomy? University sector to publish European 'autonomy scorecard’

EUA is pleased to announce that it is leading a project to develop a scorecard that will benchmark university autonomy (on the national level) across Europe.

The scorecard will be a major tool both at the national level and at the individual institutional level, serving as a reference for national governments wishing to benchmark their progress on governance reforms vis-à-vis other systems, whilst also helping to raise awareness among universities of the differences that exist in Europe. The scorecard will also help record trends and progress on a regular basis, thus effectively contributing to the consolidation of the European Higher Education Area by improving comparability and promoting modernisation of the sector.

The starting point for the scorecard will be the findings of the forthcoming EUA autonomy study, an in-depth comparative study of university autonomy across 34 countries based on more than 30 different indicators and focussing on four main areas of institutional autonomy (organisational, financial, academic and staffing autonomy).

This study and the scorecard project will be officially launched in Brussels on the evening of 30 November at a special event at the Swedish representation to the EU. To find out more about the event, please email: autonomy@eua.be.

While it is generally accepted by universities and indeed many governments that increased autonomy is necessary for universities to modernise and respond to new demands being placed on higher education, perceptions and terminology regarding institutional autonomy vary greatly in Europe. The autonomy scorecard will establish a reliable European benchmark of university autonomy and accountability.

The two-year project, supported by the EC Lifelong Learning Programme, will be carried out in conjunction with EUA project partners: The German Rectors’ Conference, Universities Denmark, the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP), and the University of Surrey. The launch of the scorecard is due to take place at the end of the project in the winter of 2011.


Universities must be key stakeholders in new European Research Area

EUA President, Jean-Marc Rapp, last week addressed a major European Commission conference in Brussels on the future of European research bringing together key policy makers and stakeholders.

He underlined the crucial role universities will play in enhancing European research capacity, not only by supplying more highly trained researchers, and fostering interdisciplinary research skills and expertise, but also through their potential as focal points for dialogue and knowledge exchange. Changes in university-based research were being driven by a number of factors, he said, such as the increasing use of external funding sources, increased international competition, growing demand for highly trained researchers for non-academic labour markets, and the impact of the digital revolution.

He urged policymakers to grant universities greater autonomy in their leadership and financial and administrative structures so they could offer more competitive salaries to researchers and recruit talent on a European (and international) level. EUA’s President also called for more sustainable funding conditions for university-based research, particularly from external funding sources, to cover indirect research costs.

EUA is already taking active steps to achieving some of the milestones outlined in the recent European Research Area Board report on the Renaissance of the ERA. In particular, Professor Rapp underlined the launch of the new Responsible Partnering Guidelines (please see story below), the creation of the European Platform of Universities Engaged in Energy Research and the EUA Council for Doctoral Education.

He told the audience that universities will need support as they strive for excellence as research and training institutions and seek to diversify funding sources. In particular, he highlighted the need for a wider range of funding instruments at the European, national and regional level to help the development of their chosen research profiles and missions. Further 'simplification' of EC funding, reporting and accountability measures for an ERA built upon the premises of ‘Trust’ would also be vital.

Please click here to download Professor Rapp’s presentation or here for more information on the conference.


New Responsible Partnering Guidelines for collaborative research between universities and industry

At the European Commission Conference ‘Working together to strengthen research in Europe’ held last week in Brussels (21-23 October), EUA President Jean-Marc Rapp officially launched the new ‘Responsible Partnering’ Guidelines for collaborative research between universities and industry.

The guidelines -  published jointly by EUA, the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA), the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), and the Public Research Organisations Transfer Offices Network (ProTon Europe) - are a voluntary code of conduct for enterprises and public research designed to maximise the benefits of collaborative research for all parties in a sustainable way.

Originally launched in 2004, the updated guidelines include analyses of issues such as State Aid, European Community recommendations on IPR management and the results of the EUA DOC-CAREERS project on university-industry partnerships in doctoral research.

Professor Rapp called on the European Commission to endorse these revised guidelines, underlining they could be an important first step in developing the ‘Open Innovation Charter' that has been proposed by the Commission’s high-level advisory group (ERAB).

Download the Responsible Partnering Guidelines.


Report from EUA/HUMANE workshop on income diversification strategies in European universities (EUDIS project – 16/17 October)

Over 50 university leaders, experts and government representatives from 20 European countries gathered in Madrid earlier this month to discuss the preliminary findings from EUA’s survey on the status of income diversification in European universities (part of the EUDIS project).

The two-day interactive workshop focused on five key elements of income diversification: success factors for universities; regional opportunities; the role of external incentives; the challenges and complexity of multiple funding streams; and the impact of the economic downturn on diversification of income streams. The first analysis of the EUDIS survey data was largely confirmed by case studies and experience that participants shared from their own institutions and national contexts.  
 
The meeting highlighted that diversified funding could and should not replace governments’ commitment to fund higher education and research publicly. Equally, it underlined that universities must have the right framework conditions, in particular the ability to establish efficient governance bodies and to receive sufficient support for the ‘professionalisation’ of management, for successful income diversification.
 
Amongst the workshop outcomes is the recommendation to both European and national funders to take urgent action to streamline the eligibility and accountability requirements of their funding schemes and to reduce the administrative burden and high costs of compliance for universities. Participants also recommended further monitoring of any ‘simplification process’ to ensure that the apparent political consensus on this is implemented in the funding schemes.
 
More details on the seminar’s outcomes are available on www.eua.be/eudis.

The next qualitative data gathering phase will be followed by an Experts’ conference in Bologna on 22-23 April 2010. Expressions of interest to participate in this event should be sent to eudis@eua.be.