EUA strongly believes that increasing institutional autonomy is a key element to enable universities to best respond to the new demands placed on universities. However, perceptions and terminology of institutional autonomy vary greatly in Europe. To compare systems reliably, more systematic mapping of universities’ autonomy and accountability through a set of common indicators is necessary. In recent years, EUA has made important contributions to this aim.
University Autonomy in Europe II: EUA’s Autonomy Scorecard
The study focuses on four broad dimensions of autonomy – organisational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy – across 26 European countries. In addition to a detailed analysis of the current state of institutional autonomy in Europe, the report includes four separate scorecards which rank and rate countries in each of the four areas outlined. In each of these dimensions, the scorecards award a percentage score to each national (or federal) system and produce a table, which classifies them into four groups with high, medium-high, medium-low or low levels of autonomy. The list of autonomy indicators that are assessed for each of the different autonomy areas is available here.
The report and its scorecards therefore do not aim to create a new university ranking, but rather evaluate the legislative frameworks in national higher education systems in order to stimulate a debate on institutional autonomy at national and European level.
The work builds on the first EUA autonomy report published in 2009 (“University Autonomy in Europe I”) that provided a wide range of data on institutional autonomy. The “Autonomy Scorecard” project, which treads new ground in developing a methodology to collect, compare and weight such data, has been carried out in close collaboration with the university sector. The national rectors’ conferences, EUA’s collective members, have collaborated on the project.
The study was supported by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme and carried out in conjunction with EUA’s project partners, which include the German Rectors’ Conference, Universities Denmark, the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
The final report was launched on 15 November 2011 and can be downloaded in English here and French here.
To see the four scorecards and respective analyses at a glance, please click here.
To view a presentation on the main results of the study, click here.
For more detailed information, check out the online University Autonomy Tool here.
In 2007, EUA began a Europe-wide Autonomy Survey to provide a broad overview of national and institutional trends regarding autonomy and governance.
The Survey was conducted through a questionnaire which was addressed to the National Rectors’ Conferences and was completed through a series of subsequent interviews. It aimed to establish the necessary knowledge base for further benchmarking of university autonomy and governance issues in the future. This work was then further developed in the Autonomy Scorecard project.
The findings of this project are compiled in the final report that was published in November 2009. A summary presentation is also available here.
EUA’s press releases on the topic are available below:
• EUA launches interactive online tool to provide comprehensive data on university autonomy in Europe 9 February 2012. A French and a German version are also available.
• EUA launches “Autonomy Scorecard”: new report compares and benchmarks levels of university
autonomy in 26 European countries 15 November 2011
• Europe’s universities lack ‘genuine autonomy’ from state control – EUA Report (19 November 2009). Please click here to read the French version.
• Moving towards a Europe-wide ranking of university autonomy? University sector to publish European 'autonomy scorecard’ 29 October 2009
Experts and researchers working in the field of autonomy in higher education are invited to contact us at email@example.com:
• Mr Thomas Estermann, EUA Head of Unit Governance, Autonomy and Funding