EUA : European University Association

Register now for the 2nd Annual Meeting of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (4-5 June 2009)

Registrations are now open for the 2nd Annual Meeting of the EUA-Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) to be held at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, on 4-5 June 2009.

The Annual Meeting of the EUA-CDE will provide a forum for debate and discussion about the future challenges for doctoral education and the rapid reforms of European doctoral programmes as well as giving participants the opportunity to discuss key issues such as:
•    improving the supervision of PhD candidates;
•    research careers;
•    internationalisation of doctoral education;
•    research assessment and doctoral education;
•    collecting data on doctoral programmes;
•    the role of networks in European doctoral education.

The structure of the conference will include plenary sessions and thematic discussion groups to allow the broadest possible sharing of practices and ideas. There will be open spaces for debates and exchange and the possibility to make concrete proposals to contribute to the future activities of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education.

For those institutions that are unfamiliar with the EUA-CDE and its activities, this conference will provide the opportunity to network with colleagues from the 120 EUA-CDE members and other doctoral/graduate schools.

To register, please visit the event website.

EUA contributes to new EC Expert Group report on diversified funding streams for university-based research

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Research has published a new expert group report entitled: 'Diversified funding streams for university-based research: impact of external project-based research funding on financial management in universities'. The report underlines the shared responsibilities of universities, national governments and research funders in enhancing the financial sustainability of university-based research which underpins the long-term competitiveness of European research.

As an observer to this expert group, EUA sought to provide the universities’ viewpoint on this key research policy issue, particularly by using much of the information and feedback it collected during its project: Financially sustainable universities – towards full costing in European universities.

The new expert group report, which provides the funders perspective takes up a number of the key issues outlined in EUA’s recent work in relation to external funding at both national and European level. In particular, it underlines that there is a clear need for Europe’s universities to adopt full costing. Another critical aspect underlined in the report is the need to make European and national funding schemes simpler as “there is a real risk of rules and procedures limiting university autonomy or leading to complex bureaucratic reporting procedures”.

The expert group also concurred “with comments made by EUA that any certification process at European level should remain ‘light touch’ and allow for different methodologies for time and activity allocation that are being developed at the national or sector level”.

The report further identifies a need for external competitive funders to “coordinate their conditions and requirements.” It suggests “the Commission acts as a moderator and catalyst in this area to facilitate a discussion to identify best practice for co financing, cost reporting and accountability requirements.”

Click here to read a full version of the report.

EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP) workshop on student mobility, joint degree programmes and institutional development (16-17 February 2009)

Last week the EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP), a European Commission funded project, organised its second thematic workshop on student mobility, joint degree programmes and institutional development, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

47 participants from 13 European and Asian countries gathered to explore the opportunities for improving academic quality through international collaboration in curriculum development and student mobility between Europe and Asia. Participants discussed a series of issues on joint degrees, how they could be favourable for students, and the impact of these degrees on employability of students. They also explored the financing of joint degrees, including the costs of the start up phase of collaboration and the importance of sustainability.

The workshop was organised by the EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP), a project financed under the European Commission’s EuropeAid Agency with the aim of promoting co-operation in higher education between Asian and European countries. The Platform is developed and implemented by the European University Association (EUA), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic).

The outcome report of the workshop and presentations will soon be available on the EAHEP website.

Brussels update: Launch of Erasmus Mundus phase II

The European Commission has launched the second phase of its Erasmus Mundus, co-operation and mobility programme which is designed to support academic excellence and the attractiveness of European higher education worldwide and foster cooperation with third countries.

Following the announcement in EUA’s newsletter last year, the second phase (2009-13) has been extended in scope to include a number of new features including support to joint doctoral programmes and award of three year fellowships for doctoral candidates (rather than just masters programmes).

Other new features included in this second phase are:
•    award of full scholarships/fellowships to European students and doctoral candidates, in addition to those already awarded to Third Country nationals;
•    full participation of Third Country HEIs in consortia implementing joint programmes at masters or doctoral level;
•    inclusion of the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window scheme as Action 2 of the new programme.

Full details of the new programme and calls for proposals are available on the Erasmus Mundus website.

Brussels update: EU Council discussion on new strategic framework for education and training

The Education, Youth and Culture Committee of the Council of the EU (which brings together Europe’s education ministers) last week held an exchange of views on developing a new strategic framework for cooperation in education and training to cover the period until 2020.

This exchange was based on a Presidency discussion paper and recent Commission communication on this topic.

It included a discussion on progress and updating existing benchmarks but also establishing new priorities for the future. Ministers agreed that more detailed preparation on the content and scope of the benchmarks would be required in order to prepare the ground for the adoption of the strategy at the Education Council meeting in May.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the challenges posed by the global financial crisis and the consequent economic downturn, the Education Council also contributed to the preparation of the conclusions of the Spring European Council (monitoring and guiding the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy).

In the meeting last week, the Council adopted a series of key messages which highlight in particular the need for higher and more efficient investment in human capital and the particular role of education in the knowledge triangle (education – research – innovation) as a means of preparing the economic recovery. They stress the importance of anticipating skills needs and of upgrading skills for ensuring prosperity and social cohesion in the transition to a knowledge-based, low-carbon economy.

Download the Council press release.
Download the Commission press release.