In 2012, EUA launches a large project in the Eastern Neighbouring Area, the ATHENA project, which aims to contribute to the development, reform and modernisation of higher education systems in Moldova, Ukraine and Armenia.
The ATHENA project seeks to improve the framework conditions for higher education institutions in these countries with more autonomy and better accountability mechanisms; to bring about a change in perceptions, management cultures and practices in the higher education sector in the region; and to foster the acquisition of new skills by university management staff and leadership;
More information about the project is available here.
In 2007, EUA undertook the first part of a Europe-wide Autonomy Study, which concluded at the end of 2009. The final report provides a broad, up-to-date overview of national and institutional trends regarding autonomy and governance. This study contributed to creating the necessary knowledge basis for further benchmarking of university autonomy and governance issues, which EUA has tackled in its Autonomy Scorecard project.
The Autonomy Scorecard aims to establish a European benchmark of university autonomy. The two-year project, supported by the EC Lifelong Learning Programme, has resulted in the launch of four thematic scorecards and of an online tool benchmarking university autonomy in Europe.
Find out more about EUA's ongoing project work related to autonomy.
Institutional diversity is becoming an increasingly central policy issue as higher education institutions have moved to the centre stage of political and public attention, with the expectation that they fulfill a wide range of needs of the rising knowledge societies and their demands. Reforms in university governance constitute both a response to these new trends and an important factor for diversification/convergence, in conditions, however, that remain unclear.
The objectives of the study (Institutional Diversity in European Higher Education) were:
• To gain an understanding of how institutional diversity is fostered or undermined and to analyse interrelation with funding streams, accreditation, human resources, staff recruitment, student selection, etc.
• To raise awareness of wanted and unwanted mainstreaming effects
• To identify good practice.
The findings of the study are available in the final report.
The first step towards financial sustainability is for universities to master their cost structures and identify the real costs of their activities for both internal and external purposes. Universities also need to raise new income and diversify their financial structure, while securing continued financial support from public authorities, which have a responsibility in the universities’ long-term financial sustainability.
Only institutions that know the full costs of all their activities can judge if they are operating on a financially sustainable basis. Financial sustainability is now essential in the light of the increasing importance of universities’ contribution to economic growth.
EUA’s “Towards Full Costing in European Universities” project examined European universities’ progress towards this first goal and the relationship between this progress and individual institutions’ autonomy and accountability. The objectives of this study were to provide information and empirical data for the debate on financial sustainability from an institutional perspective, analyse the status quo of the development of full costing and the relationship between autonomy and accountability and financial sustainability and provide examples of good practice in full costing.
The final report includes key findings, recommendations and a roadmap to full costing implementation for universities wishing to start the process.
The EUIMA project with its full costing part built on the findings of the 2008 report “Towards full Costing in European Universities” and set up a series of events aimed at sharing of good practices on the development and implementation of full costing across Europe.
The events were designed to raise awareness about full costing among all relevant stakeholders, including various funding bodies and national and regional authorities with a role in ensuring the sustainability of university funding; thus promoting a coordinated development of full costing at all institutional levels. Through holding country workshops, the project aimed to increase the development of full costing in selected countries and regions, while the study visits focused on learning from the institutions already advanced in its implementation.
EUIMA Full Costing is a part of the larger EUIMA project. Find out more about EUA's work related to financial sustainability.
The EUDIS project explored how universities with different missions and profiles are diversifying their income streams, and seeking to identify the essential conditions for this and the obstacles and pitfalls involved. It intended to help those who have recently gained more autonomy and are now looking to increase and diversify their income structures to achieve their vision and goals and aid them in finding a way to do this in a sustainable fashion. The project looked into new and innovative practices and considers the diversity of European universities in its results.
As part of the project, a series of events were organised, including selected institutional site visits, as well as an Open Seminar in October 2009 and an Experts Conference from 13 to 14 September 2010.
The EUDIS report and more information on the project is available here.
Sustainable public funding: DEFINE
The DEFINE project explores the topic of funding efficiency in higher education. It notably aims to identify changes and main trends in the selectivity of funding by governments regarding institutions and objectives. It focuses on three main system-level measures and their impact at institutional level: performance-based funding, institutional mergers and excellence schemes. DEFINE (Designing strategies for efficient funding of higher education in Europe) seeks to provide recommendations for the improved design and implementation of higher education funding policy and thereby to enhanced funding efficiency in the sector.
The project starts in October 2012 and is set to conclude during Spring 2015. Milestones include thematic focus groups and a conference due to take place in 2014.
More information on the DEFINE project is available here.
An overview of all EUA projects.
• Beiträge zur Hochschulforschung – Towards financially sustainable universities by diversifying income sources
• Financially Sustainable Universities II - European universities diversifying income streams
• Diversity Report
• University Autonomy in Europe I: Exploratory Study
• Financially Sustainable Universities: Towards Full Costing in European Universities
• Managing the University Community: Exploring Good Practice
• Research Strategy Development and Management at European Universities
• 10 years on: Lessons Learned from the Institutional Evaluation Programme
• The Funding of University-based Research and Innovation in Europe: An Exploratory Study
• EUA publications