How to use the Convention Reader Reader Convention of European

How to use the Convention Reader
This Reader has been prepared by EUA for the participants of the 4th Convention of European
higher education institutions. It contains a collection of documents aimed at providing useful
information on the five themes identified by EUA as key issues for the Convention.
The first part of the Reader includes the thematic papers that will be used as the basis for
discussions in the working groups. These papers build on the expertise developed by EUA
through its policy work.
The second part of the Reader consists of a series of other texts intended as useful background
information and analyses for the group discussions. We have included both information on EUA
activities and policy documents and selected articles written for the Bologna Handbook which we
hope will help participants gain a broader perspective of the issues under discussion in relation to
each of the thematic areas.
A supplementary bibliography with links to additional reference documents, the Trends V
report, the Reader itself, speeches and presentations made at the Convention are available on
the EUA Convention website:
EUA Secretariat
March 2007
Table of Contents
Part I:
EUA thematic working group papers
Theme 1 – Implementing Bologna and creating the EHEA
Theme 2 – Policies for enhancing research and innovation
Theme 3 – The responsibility of Europe’s universities in a global environment
Theme 4 – Enhancing quality and creativity
Theme 5 – Funding European universities: diversification, transparency and good governance
Part II:
Background documents and policy papers
Theme 1
EUA’s contribution to the Bologna Process 2005 – 2007
Convergence and diversity, by Sir Roderick Floud
Summary of key research and innovation issues
EUA policies on key research and innovation issues
Theme 2
Bologna Seminar on “Doctoral programmes for the European
knowledge society” (Salzburg, 3-5 February 2005) Conclusions and
Bologna Seminar on Doctoral Programmes (Nice, 7-9 December 2006)
Final conclusions - Preparing recommendations for the London
Communiqué “Matching ambition with responsibilities and resources”
EUA 2006 Autumn Conference - Universities as catalysts in promoting
regional innovation (Brno, Czech Republic, 19-21 October 2006) General
EUA statement on FP7 Rules of Participation proposals for support rates
and cost models
EUA statement on the public consultation on the idea of establishing a
European Institute of Technology (EIT)
EUA policy position on the European Commission’s “Communication to
the European Council on the European Institute of Technology (EIT)”
Theme 3
An international agenda for EUA
Background document: towards an external strategy for the Bologna Process – a
The external face of the Bologna Process: the European Higher Education Area
in a global context, by Peter Scott
Developing quality in the knowledge society: activities of the European
University Association
EUA policy position on quality
European frameworks for quality, by Andrée Sursock
Theme 4
Theme 5
EUA 2006 Spring conference – Funding strong universities: Diversification,
student support and good governance (Hamburg, Germany, 30 March-1 April
2006) Conclusions
University governance, leadership and management in a rapidly changing
environment, by Luc E. Weber
Part I:
EUA thematic working group papers
Theme 1 – Implementing Bologna and creating the EHEA
Theme 2 – Policies for enhancing research and innovation
Theme 3 – The responsibility of Europe’s universities in a global environment
Theme 4 – Enhancing quality and creativity
Theme 5 – Funding European universities: diversification, transparency and good governance
Theme 1 - Implementing Bologna and creating the EHEA
1. In 1999 the signing of the Bologna Declaration launched the most widespread and significant
ongoing reform process in European higher education. At the time, few would have predicted
that the aspiration to create a European Higher Education Area would become such a motor
for change in national systems and higher education institutions. Yet the Trends V findings
confirm that across the forty six countries of the Bologna area there is rarely a discussion
about whether or not these reforms will be introduced, but rather a major focus on how the
reforms are being implemented, and the impact that they are having.
2. It is increasingly clear that diverse demands on higher education institutions cannot be
considered in separate and exclusive categories, as not only are teaching and research
interdependent, but socially cohesive knowledge societies require excellence from higher
education institutions in all aspects of their diverse missions – from developing democratic
society, widening and increasing participation, fostering creativity and innovation, engaging in
regional development, and competing on the global stage in research. At European level, this
means that the Bologna, Lisbon and Copenhagen agendas are inter-connected, and need to
be consciously considered as a whole.
3. The Trends reports have consistently raised questions about the nature of higher education
reforms and the internal and external pressures that are driving them. Three key areas have
emerged as major topics for the success and sustainability of the future European Higher
Education Area, and these are addressed in the working groups. The principal expectation is
to make use of the wealth of institutional experience to reach consensus on future priorities,
as well as to clarify the framework conditions which are necessary for them to be realised. By
identifying and prioritising these challenges, the groups will enable EUA to take a clear
message to the Ministers in London on behalf of the higher education community.
4. Ministers will, after the London meeting, begin to consider the future of the Bologna process
and will look to universities to express their views. One issue of increasing prominence is the
role of universities in relation to lifelong learning. In some countries, part-time higher education
and university engagement in continuing professional education and training is well
established; in other countries, universities are primarily concerned with young full-time
students engaged in initial study for the three Bologna cycles. Universities will need to
consider whether and how to engage with employers and other stakeholders in lifelong
learning and training or whether to leave this activity to other institutions.
Group 1: Meeting the challenges of employability and involving stakeholders
5. While Trends V presents very clear evidence that the past few years have been characterised
by major reform of degree structures and curricula, and that the concept of employability has
been an important consideration in programme innovation, the findings also suggest that there
is still much to be done to develop dialogue and fruitful relationships with employers and other
stakeholders. In many countries, public sector employment structures have not been adapted
to new qualifications, information in society about new degree structures is lacking, and
employers are reluctant to trust the qualifications that have been developed ostensibly in their
interest. There is also evidence that many universities still consider the main point of exit from
higher education to the labour market to be the second cycle rather than the first, and that this
may often be a position with considerable cultural roots. In addition, in many countries
universities do not consider lifelong learning or part-time education to be part of their mission.
They do not therefore connect with employers through the provision of continuing professional
education or re-training for older employees.
Should higher education institutions be further encouraged to ensure that their first cycle
qualifications are relevant for the labour market? If so, how?
What action is needed to stimulate the labour market to accept Bologna qualifications?
How does the diversification of institutional roles and missions impact on this discussion?
What role should universities play in lifelong learning and continuing professional education
and training?
Group 2: Redesigning curricula: moving between cycles and mastering the Bologna tools (ECTS, DS, LOs)
6. Through the Glasgow Declaration in 2005, universities committed to increasing their efforts to
develop student centred learning, to introduce learning outcomes in curricular design, and to
implement ECTS. Trends V shows that there has been substantial progress made on these
issues. Yet in some respects the positive impact expected from using these Bologna
curriculum tools is not (yet) taking place. There seem to be few signs, for example, that
Bologna implementation is currently having a substantial positive effect on student or staff
mobility. Equally, although there are important counter-examples to be cited, there is generally
little indication that increasing participation in higher education in many countries is being
accompanied by increasing flexibility in learning paths, in increasing provision for lifelong
learning or in catering to part-time students and adult learners. Finally the development of
European and national qualification frameworks has clearly not yet had any major influence on
institutions, possibly because of a failure to consult widely with institutions.
Why are the “tools” of the Bologna process not doing more to meet the goals that they are
designed for?
Is there a need to question whether these tools are fit for purpose, or is the problem related
not to the instruments themselves, but to how they are being used?
Are there other measures which should be taken to improve the impact of Bologna reforms?
Group 3: Improving access and affordability in higher education in Europe
7. The Glasgow Declaration voiced a strong commitment from universities to give a higher
priority to issues of student access and support, particularly with regard to widening
opportunities for under-represented groups. While the Trends V report shows that institutions
continue to mirror societal concern to address these issues, the findings also indicate that
many institutions feel either unable or uninclined to do more at a time when public funding is
retreating. The debates are also taking place in many national systems with little consideration
for the cultural and socio-economic diversity across the European Higher Education Area.
Discussion of the introduction of tuition fees for higher education is often insufficiently linked to
consideration of the mechanisms for supporting students and ensuring that poorer students
are not deterred from undertaking university education.
Are incentives needed to help institutions fulfil their societal responsibility towards students?
How should priorities in student support be decided? Should resources be equally distributed
or targeted towards the neediest?
Do institutions have a particular responsibility to take action to widen access for underrepresented groups in higher education, and if so what actions should be taken (e.g. outreach
to specific groups, improving links to the community, developing specific support systems etc.)
Theme 2 – Policies for enhancing research and innovation
1. Recent years have witnessed the research and innovation capacity of Europe’s universities,
and its future potential, moving to “centre stage” in the European policy debate on how to
enhance the competitiveness of Europe. The policy dialogue has placed great emphasis on
the needs of modern knowledge-based economies/societies for more highly-skilled
professionals and the achievement of greater innovative capacity through drawing more
effectively upon the intellectual capital and research excellence of Europe’s universities.
2. Acknowledging this challenge the EUA, in its Glasgow Declaration “Strong Universities for
Europe” (April 2005), stated that “Universities must exercise their own responsibilities for
enhancing research and innovation through the optimal use of resources and the development
of institutional research strategies. Their diverse profiles ensure that they are increasingly
engaged in the research and innovation process, working with different partners at the
regional, national, European and global level”.
3. Since then EUA has sought to bring evidence based input to the policy debate by:
Devoting two of its biannual conferences to research and innovation themes, namely
“Research in European Universities: Strategies and Funding” (Uppsala, October 2005) and
“Europe’s Universities as Catalysts in Regional Innovation” (Brno, October 2006).
fully engaging in the debate on the development of the EU 7th Research Framework
Programme through three Working Groups on: (i) the setting-up of the European Research
Council, (ii) future development of the Marie Curie and other Researcher Mobility Actions, and
(iii) the FP7 Rules of Participation, with a focus on application and evaluation procedures and
research cost support models.
Participating as an active stakeholder in the debate on the European Institute of Technology
4. EUA has furthermore sought to link its reporting responsibilities to the Bologna Ministers for
the forthcoming London Summit on the reform of doctoral programmes with its overall
research and innovation activities: through emphasising that doctoral training represents the
third Bologna cycle, the formative stage of a research career and an instrument for widening
employability outcomes for highly skilled professionals in the academic and non-academic
5. A further central focus of the recent research and innovation policy debate has been on the
need to strengthen collaborative research between universities and industry/business
enterprises. EUA’s contribution, together with partner European associations representing
industry, research and technology organisations and university-based knowledge transfer
offices, has been to develop, and promote and discuss a set of “guidelines” based on good
practices in university/enterprise research collaboration entitled “Responsible Partnering”.
6. Improving for universities the conditions of externally-funded research, particularly concerning
research contracts to be issued under the new FP7 eligible research model, has been a core
concern for EUA over the past two years. The most critical issue has been to press the case
with the European Institutions for the allocation of a significant “flat rate” payment for indirect
research costs in the case of the many universities that are not yet able to identify fully their
indirect eligible costs. This work contributes to the wider EUA policy goal of working with
universities in moving towards operating on full cost accounting across the range of university
mission activities.
The goal of the group discussions is to provide input and critical feedback from members on
these themes in order to guide and set priorities for EUA’s future work.
Group 1: Developing institutional strategies for research and innovation
How to develop a coherent university institutional strategy for research and innovation
activities through EU FP7 project (including ERC grants) and network funding, national
research funding programmes and private foundation support? What measures and incentive
mechanisms are required to channel the research competitiveness of faculties/departments in
raising external research funds towards enhancing the overall strategic research strategy of
the university?
Given that the trend towards differentiated university strategic missions for research and
innovation activities in areas of respective strength will intensify. Will increasingly competitive
EU and national research funding schemes create tensions between the need for
concentration of resources and strengthening of research intensive universities, and the need
for consolidating research-based teaching across Europe’s universities as a prerequisite for
promoting growth and employment across Europe?
In what ways will doctoral programme reform improve the prospects for research careers in
Europe in academia as well as in other public research bodies and the private sectors? Based
upon the results of the Nice Seminar - some of the key
questions relate to the present varied funding arrangements and status of doctoral candidates
and how these work for and against the development and attractiveness of research careers,
and secondly to the role of organisational structures in the form of doctoral/research graduate
schools in enhancing the quality of doctoral programmes and encouraging more young people
to take up research careers.
Group 2: Responsible partnering - university/enterprise collaboration
How to universities ensure that they benefit from more collaborative research with business
and enterprise partners:
By being able to diversify funds for research and doctoral training,
By attracting more high level professionals with inter-sectoral skills and experience,
By developing a wider range of career opportunities for young researchers
By ensuring greater proximity with business as a driver for innovation (through science and
business parks)
How do universities meet the challenges they face in order to achieve these benefits, in
particular by changing the mind-set inside universities to ensure that:
University/enterprise collaborative research is treated as part of university excellence and
rewarded accordingly
Investment is made in strategies that enhance professionalism, e.g. knowledge transfer and
IPR expertise, research management training, fostering dialogue and exchange with potential
business enterprise partners
There is sufficient provision of educational programmes promoting entrepreneurship, e.g. for
young researchers as key to the change process
The necessary approach to working with enterprise partners and regional authorities/agencies
is fostered, i.e. “triple helix” partnerships, through maximising opportunities from national
research and innovation initiatives as well as EU Regional Structural and Social Funds.
Universities work with employers to provide continuing professional education and updating,
as a form of knowledge transfer
Group 3: Moving towards the full costing of externally-funded university-based research
(based upon EUA work in relation to elaborating support rates for the FP7 eligible research costs
The recent decision of the EU FP7 to adopt a single eligible research cost model will serve as
a major driver and incentive to universities to improve their accounting systems to operate on
full cost accounting models. How can universities respond effectively to this challenge in the
2007-13 timeframe?
What further initiatives could be taken by national and European bodies, including EUA, to
assist universities in meeting this challenge?
What are the long-term implications for the European university-based research landscape of
the move towards full cost support given the given the marked trend towards externallyfunded research constituting the core funding component of the university research mission.
Theme 3 - The responsibility of Europe’s universities in a global environment
1. In the global process of higher education internationalization European countries and
institutions start out from different levels of expertise and experience and with different
objectives. Most institutions cater in the first instance to local, national and European needs
rather than responding to international demands. For most European universities the main
priorities include promoting international research cooperation and support to capacity building
and these goals also underpin their strategies in targeting foreign students and scholars.
However, data gathered for the Trends V report shows that many universities intend to reach
out to new partner regions, and expect to be able to attract considerably more non-European
students than in the past. Although Europe stresses the importance of maintaining higher
education as a public good, an economic rationale is gaining momentum in the sector, and
for-profit ventures at home or abroad, though still contested, are becoming more frequent and
increasingly accepted.
2. Opinions differ on growing entrepreneurship in higher education and how to respond to
increasing competition at national, European and international level. Such developments are
welcomed by some as drivers for innovation and reform while others are concerned that
liberalization and commercialization may transform universities in enterprises which would
trade knowledge and quality for the sake of profits, global expansion or sheer economic
survival; others advocate a more nuanced perception believing that these challenges are
more complex than the crude dichotomy between ‘market’ and state (Scott, EUA Bologna
Handbook). In addition there is the specific European concern that these developments could
curtail or even roll back the successful “Europeanization” process of higher education
achieved over the last decade.
3. In the Glasgow Declaration EUA stated that “European integration must be accompanied by
strengthened international cooperation based upon a community of interests”. The Bergen
Communiqué (2005) reminds us that the Bologna process reforms aim not only at enhancing
the transparency, effectiveness and convergence of higher education at institutional, national
and European level, but also at increasing the international competitiveness of the European
system of higher education and calls for the development of a Strategy for the External
Dimension of the Bologna Process, “to ensure that the European higher education system
acquires a world-wide degree of attraction”.
4. In the meantime the impact of the European reform agenda is becoming increasingly visible to
partners worldwide and Europe is being viewed increasingly as a blueprint for educational
reform, a model for regional convergence, a strategic ally and cooperation partner, and - along
with other regions and countries – as a competitor on an international higher education market.
5. The European debate on internationalisation also needs to take into account international
developments: for example the discussions on the GATS that have depicted scenarios of how
the sector could develop when exposed to rigid liberalisation, or the fact that the number of
universities in the developing world is growing rapidly. There is evidence of increased southsouth cooperation, but also competition, in higher education with emerging economies, in
particular in Asia, expressing their determination to become knowledge-based economies and
societies, and investing more heavily in their education sectors than is the case in Europe.
Today only a few universities from Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong appear regularly
alongside institutions from North America, Europe and Australia in the growing number of
different international rankings being published. This is likely to change in the next few years.
6. In response to these different developments 2006 EUA launched its own Internationalisation
Agenda which sets out the association’s priorities for developing exchange and cooperation
with international partners, and for supporting its members in their own internationalisation
efforts. EUA is also involved in the Bologna Process working group preparing a draft External
Dimension Strategy for the Process in the coming years. The purpose of the discussions in
Lisbon is twofold: to collect feedback from members on how EUA could best support them in
their own internationalisation process in the future; and to take a clear message from the
higher education community to Ministers meeting in London on the sector’s priorities for the
further development of an international strategy for the Bologna Process.
Group 1: Enhancing internationalisation at institutional level: strategies and policies
7. This group will consider the internationalisation challenges facing universities and how they
can respond to these demands in fulfilling their different missions of teaching, research and
service to society, while taking account of existing national and European policies. The aim is
to formulate proposals and recommendations: for universities on enhancing
internationalization and international cooperation; for the EUA as to how to best serve its
members in this area; and regarding the role of governments and any support measures
What do European universities consider to be the main strategic goals and concrete benefits
of internationalisation?
What consequences does increased internationalisation have for the elaboration of
institutional missions, for the development of strategic partnerships and cooperation agendas?
How can institutions enhance their international engagement and yet ensure a balance in
relation to local and national priorities? Is international cooperation to outweigh cooperation at
national and European level?
What is the impact of increased internationalisation on institutional governance and
How can institutions prevent internationalization developing only as a reaction to external
pressures, incentives and a search for market opportunities and increased income, at a time
of stagnating funding for higher education?
Group 2: European higher education in a global context: balancing competition, cooperation and solidarity
8. Already the European Union promotes international development and joint European action
through international research funding and a number of specific ‘external’ policies and
programmes that facilitate development cooperation, mobility, and information exchange with
international partners in specific regions. It is now a priority for the Bologna process to develop
an international strategy for the European Higher Education Area and this will be the subject
of discussion in London. The objective of this group is to discuss what European institutions
would expect from such an “External Dimension” of the Bologna Process and how it should
relate to their own institutional missions and priorities.
Considering institutional needs and the overall character and the main action lines of the
Bologna Process, what should be key goals and actions under the “External Dimension”, for
example to facilitate mobility and ensure recognition, to strengthen cooperation based on
partnership, to enhance the attractiveness of Europe’s universities etc.? How to ensure a
balance between cooperation and competition?
How to ensure that the growing importance of international engagement of individual countries
and institutions do not detract from the coherence of the European Higher Education Area as
it develops?
How should universities and EUA be involved in supporting and promoting the Bologna
Process “External Dimension” strategy once in place.
Theme 4 - Enhancing quality and creativity
1. The Bologna Process and the Lisbon Objectives have placed higher education institutions
(HEIs) centre stage at the regional, national and European level. Governance reforms are now
in place in many European countries and this movement is likely to continue. Current trends
indicate that the management of institutions is moving away from ministries to a leadership
that is centred in institutions. Similarly, accountability demands are shifting from an emphasis
on external QA processes to the current emphasis on internal quality culture. These two sets
of changes should result in institutions that are autonomous, accountable and creative,
provided a certain number of conditions are met.
2. The working groups will discuss ways in which institutions can respond to the demands being
placed upon them to contribute to social and economic development and to be accountable to
society. The discussion will seek to answer the key questions of how appropriate governance
structures, leadership roles and quality assurance can promote a strong higher education
sector that would contribute to the construction of Europe.
Group 1: Promoting a quality culture and enhancing creativity in higher education institutions
3. The Quality Culture Project, which was initiated by EUA in 2002, has had the positive impact
of increasing the capacity of universities to meet the accountability needs and the heightened
demands that higher education delivers more, with greater levels of quality and fewer
resources. Many institutions have appointed quality officers, created quality units, and
developed and implemented internal quality processes such as programme evaluations,
students’ evaluations, etc.
4. The QA community has taken note of these processes, which have now been enshrined in the
European Standards and Guidelines adopted by ministers in Bergen (May 2005). Many QA
agencies are now discussing how to adapt their evaluation or accreditation procedures in
order to adjust to the institutions taking over the organisation of the internal review of their
activities and programme.
5. Now that the initial steps toward a quality culture have been taken, the major challenge is
ensure that the internal processes do not become, in time, too bureaucratic. This is important
in order to ensure that the academic community continues to endorse these processes and
takes responsibilities for them. To this end, and in order to ensure that academic values
remain central to internal quality, EUA developed a follow-up project focused on creativity in
higher education. The aim of this project is to highlight the need to ensure that internal and
external quality processes take into account the goal of developing creative institutions.
6. The working group is invited to discuss the pre-conditions for ensuring that internal quality
processes supports the development of creativity in Higher Education Institutions.
What are the pre-conditions for developing creative institutions in terms of the expression of a
shared culture, structures (e.g., faculties/departments)?
What would be the optimal internal distribution of responsibilities, including leadership roles
that would support the creativity and quality agenda?
How to ensure transparency and common standards without yielding to a purely formal and
bureaucratic quality approach and how to empower the academic community to develop its
own quality goals, initiatives and measures?
How to ensure that internal programme or faculty evaluations promote interdisciplinarity and
creativity in research and teaching? Should the evaluation of decision-making structures and
processes be included in the internal evaluations in order to further creativity?
Group 2: External accountability
7. The shift in the governance of Higher Education Institutions away from ministries to a
leadership centred in the institution and the stress on the economic and social contribution of
Higher Education Institutions to society mean that there is a need to ensure links to society
and external accountability. The working group is invited to reflect on two types of external
How to involve external stakeholders in the decision-making structure and process in order to
ensure that governing boards are effective in grasping the institutional mission and culture and
understanding the scope of their role; how to engage employers in curricular reforms and
promote the “Bologna degrees” and to work with the private sector to meet local social and
economic needs, etc.
How can external QA procedures meet the combined needs of developing the HEI and
responding to accountability demands? The focus of discussion will be on two levels: the
national and the European:
On the national level,
The stress on internal quality and the increased commitment of Higher Education
Institutions to play their full role in this area necessarily mean a shift in external
accountability procedures. If programmes evaluations are organised internally, should they
also be evaluated externally?
With the increased differentiation of the higher education sector, should external
accountability be based on specific standards or take into account specific institutional
What should be the role of national rectors’ conferences in negotiating with national
authorities and QA agencies the scope of internal and external evaluation?
What should be the respective roles of universities and professional associations or
governmental bodies in determining training and continuing professional development in
professional fields such as medicine, accountancy, engineering and others?
On the European level, the ministers adopted in Bergen the “European standards and
guidelines for quality assurance in higher education” (ESGs) and charged ENQA, ESIB, EUA
and EURASHE with the task of exploring the notion of the European register for QA agencies.
Discussions have been underway and will result in a report that will be sent to the ministerial
meeting in London (2007). The key aspects of this proposal will include that the register will
list only agencies that comply substantially with the ESGs.
How do we ensure that these decisions are fair and robust and, particularly, what should
be the role of students and Higher Education Institutions in this process?
Theme 5 - Funding European universities: diversification, transparency and good governance
1. Developing funding strategies and sustainable revenues for universities lies at the heart of the
different European higher education reform agendas and is crucial to meeting the shared
political goal of strengthening Europe’s higher education institutions. This requires institutions
not only to increase and diversify funding streams but also to improve their governance and
2. In the 2005 Glasgow Declaration EUA addressed the question of funding universities for the
first time, pointing out that Europe’s universities “are not sufficiently funded and cannot be
expected to compete with other systems without comparable levels of funding. At present, EU
countries spend on universities about half of the proportion of their GDP compared to the
United States. While Europe’s Lisbon goals are ambitious, public funding for research and
higher education is stagnating at best. ” The US spends twice as much as the average
European country because government expenditure is matched by private funding through
tuition fees, gifts from alumni and contract and other income from private industry.. For this
reason, the emphasis is also placed upon the importance of encouraging universities to step
up efforts to diversify their funding streams and to explore combined public/private funding
3. The Declaration goes on to state that “this will be achieved by self-confident institutions able
to determine their own development and to contribute to social, cultural and economic wellbeing at regional, national, European and global level,” and that “universities are committed to
improving their governing structures and leadership competence so as to increase their
efficiency and innovative capacity and to achieve their multiple missions.” This is an area
where EUA already offers a range of activities to members that are geared at increasing their
capacity to change and adapt to their evolving environment. These activities include the
Institutional Evaluation Programme and workshops and seminars. The growing uptake of
these activities demonstrates the commitment of higher education institutions to strengthen
and improve their leadership and management.
4. Following the Glasgow Convention EUA committed itself to launching an evidenced-based
discussion on the funding of universities by working with its members to develop full economic
cost models in the interests of transparency and accountability. In the context of a broader
debate on strengthening the institutional governance and professional management EUA also
undertook to explore the particular challenges facing universities in managing diversified
funding streams, and in ensuring transparency and sustainability.
5. The EUA Spring Conference 2006 focused on “Funding Strong Universities: diversification,
student support and good governance” exploring a broad range of different ways in which
institutions can diversify their income streams, from considering the impact of tuition fees,
through increasing revenue from externally funded research projects or continuing education,
to developing expertise in launching targeted fundraising campaigns. In parallel the
association launched a pilot study of institutional funding patterns that aims at facilitating cross
border comparisons. This work, based on 8 pilot institutions, has highlighted: the extremely
diverse funding patterns from country to country, the diversity in the levels of funding received
from different funding sources from institution to institutions, and the great difficulties, in many
cases, in defining the university as a financial entity. It has also raised questions about the
extent of autonomy universities have in spending funds allocated. Over the coming year the
institutions participating in the study will move to look at the feasibility of introducing a full
economic costing approach to funding European higher education and research.
6. The goals of the discussion in Lisbon are: to explore further the different possibilities of
revenue generation open to universities and – on the basis of the initial findings of the pilot
study – to consider the extent to which universities are able to develop long term financial
strategies (group 1); and to examine the challenges for good governance, and specifically for
institutional leaders, of bringing about the change processes inside institutions that are
required for developing and managing increasingly diversified funding systems (group 2) .
Group 1: Developing diversified funding strategies and income streams and ensuring transparency
General Questions:
What are the sources of university income? (public/private, national/international) and how
autonomous is the university in spending the allocated funding?
What are the elements that define the university as an economic & financial entity? (legal
status, degree of autonomy, ownership of property, balance sheet, profit and loss account etc.)
What is the role of full economic costing? (increased revenue to the institution, directly
incurred costs flow to the project, other costs to the institution, strategic use of increased
resources, pricing issues)
At European level:
Can agreement be reached on a common framework reflecting institutional funding streams,
thus allowing comparisons between different institutional situations across Europe be reached?
Should Europe-wide indicators in relation to institutional funding be developed?
What is the feasibility of introducing a full economic costing approach to HE across Europe
(based upon the TRAC model & experience in the UK)?
What are the long-term implications for the European university-based research landscape of
the move towards full cost support given the given the marked trend towards externallyfunded research constituting the core funding component of the university research mission.
Group 2: The challenges for institutional governance and leadership of managing
increasingly diversified funding streams
The working group in Lisbon will discuss how institutional change can be set in motion with a
particular focus on the challenges posed by introduction and management of diversified funding
General Questions:
What are some of the ways to set in motion an institutional change process? What is the role
of the institutional leadership? How to persuade the academic heartland of the need for
change? How to address resistance to change and the incapacity of some to accept the
ambiguities that are part of a change process? How to identify and work with “change
What is the role and place of a strategic vision in the change process and how to develop it
and implement it?
How to implement a change process? Specifically, should the change process start with
changing decision-making processes and structures or should it focus on changing attitudes
and culture and, specifically, in encouraging the academic heartland to let go of the past?
What are some of the external preconditions that favour or hinder a change process? What is
the optimal relationship between the State and higher education institutions? How can working
in regional, national or international higher education networks help the change process?
Specific Questions:
How can transparency of budget allocations and reporting systems be enhanced?
What role does the development of steering capacity play, by aligning academic and financial
responsibilities at all levels?
What are the benefits of gaining a precise understanding of the true costs and cost drivers in
teaching, research management and administration?
How can funding be made sustainable?
What is the specific role of institutional leaders?
Part II:
Background documents and policy papers
Theme 1
EUA’s contribution to the Bologna Process 2005 – 2007
Convergence and diversity, by Sir Roderick Floud
Summary of key research and innovation issues
EUA policies on key research and innovation issues
Theme 2
Bologna Seminar on “Doctoral programmes for the European
knowledge society” (Salzburg, 3-5 February 2005) Conclusions and
Bologna Seminar on Doctoral Programmes (Nice, 7-9 December 2006)
Final conclusions - Preparing recommendations for the London
Communiqué “Matching ambition with responsibilities and resources”
EUA 2006 Autumn Conference - Universities as catalysts in promoting
regional innovation (Brno, Czech Republic, 19-21 October 2006) General
EUA statement on FP7 Rules of Participation proposals for support rates
and cost models
EUA statement on the public consultation on the idea of establishing a
European Institute of Technology (EIT)
EUA policy position on the European Commission’s “Communication to
the European Council on the European Institute of Technology (EIT)”
Part II:
Theme 3
An international agenda for EUA
Background document: towards an external strategy for the Bologna Process – a
The external face of the Bologna Process: the European Higher Education Area
in a global context, by Peter Scott
Developing quality in the knowledge society: activities of the European
University Association
EUA policy position on quality
European frameworks for quality, by Andrée Sursock
Theme 4
Theme 5
EUA 2006 Spring conference – Funding strong universities: Diversification,
student support and good governance (Hamburg, Germany, 30 March-1 April
2006) Conclusions
University governance, leadership and management in a rapidly changing
environment, by Luc E. Weber
Theme 1
EUA’s contribution to the Bologna Process 2005-2007
1. The Glasgow Declaration, adopted in April 2005, sets the framework and priorities for
universities’ contribution to the Bologna Process 2005 – 2007, emphasising that as we
move towards 2010, the Bologna reforms necessarily refocus more and more on
implementation in higher education institutions, and underlining universities’ willingness to
accept their responsibility in driving forward the implementation process. The Lisbon
Convention gives universities the opportunity to discuss developments since the Glasgow
2. The Trends V Report that will be presented in plenary session on the opening day of the
Convention analyses the present state of implementation of the Bologna Process and
reports on the main challenges faced by institutions. A summary of the main results will be
made available on the EUA website before the Convention begins as a basis for
discussion. Trend V is conceived of as a necessary complement to the governmental
stocktaking exercise, and thus constitutes one of EUA’s main contributions to the Process.
For the first time it has been possible to underpin the analysis through the use of
comparable data as over 900 institutions provided answers to the same questions asked in
2002. The data analysis has been supplemented by information gathered through site
visits and the incorporation of views expressed in numerous focus-group discussions.
3. EUA’s Bologna Handbook, published together with Raabe Academic Publishers,
represents a further major contribution of the association to the Bologna Process. The
Handbook seeks to offer academics and administrators at all levels a practically-oriented
and flexible tool for understanding, introducing and implementing all aspects of the
Bologna Process. The first edition of this reference publication, that includes four annual
updates, appeared in mid 2006.
4. In support of the implementation of the process in institutions EUA, in cooperation with
Eurashe, ESIB, the Tuning Project and the EAIE, coordinates the work of national Bologna
Promoters across Europe. This work is carried out on behalf of the European Commission
as part of the ‘Information Project on Higher Education reform’ and involves the
organisation of training seminars and the preparation of relevant materials and case
studies. While the EC funded project only includes Socrates countries EUA has taken the
initiative to support the introduction of, and involve in this project, Bologna Promoters from
all Bologna countries.
5. As a further demonstration of EUA’s support to the more recent Bologna countries and
specifically as a continuation of ongoing work with universities in South Eastern Europe, a
conference on higher education and research in the Western Balkans was organised in
Vienna from 1-3 March 2006, the results of this meeting were later presented to European
Ministers of Higher Education. In late 2006, a Bologna seminar was also organised In
Tibilisi for the benefit of Georgian universities.
6. EUA also contributes to the work on specific Bologna action lines. Substantial energy has
been put into participating actively in the different Bologna working groups on: the social
dimension, data on mobility of staff and students, the qualifications framework follow-up,
the external dimension and stocktaking.
7. In the field of Quality Assurance, EUA continued its cooperation with the E4 partners in
elaborating the conditions for the establishment of a European Register of Quality
Agencies as well as taking the lead in launching the first of a series of E4 annual Quality
Fora. The first European Quality Forum took place in Munich, in November 2006. EUA has
also continued its project work with members on this key topic, looking in particular at
enhancing creativity in universities and continuing its work on joint degrees through the
publication in 2006 of European guidelines for ensuring the internal and external quality of
joint degrees. These questions will be discussed under Theme 4 of the Convention.
8. In relation to doctoral programmes EUA has, as requested by Ministers in the Bergen
Communiqué, prepared a follow-up report on doctoral programmes, taking forward the
basic principles elaborated by the association in 2005. This work has been carried out with
the support of the Austrian and French authorities and also involved ESIB and EURODOC.
Activities have included the organisation of a series of seminars and of a major conference
in Nice in December 2006 as well as the carrying out a major survey on the funding of
doctoral programmes and candidates across all Bologna countries that will be made
available as a separate publication. This activity is closely linked to other EUA actions in
this area, in particular in relation to career development and employability prospects for
young scientists both inside and outside academia. These issues will be debated
principally as part of the discussions under Theme 2 of the Convention.
9. The principal goal of the discussions at the Lisbon Convention will be to drawn together
these different elements in order to agree on university priorities for the development of the
Bologna process in the coming years. The outcomes of the various working group
discussions will feed into the Lisbon Declaration, to be adopted formally by the EUA
Council in April 2007, and presented to Bologna Process Ministers of Education meeting in
London in May.
Brussels, 23 February 2007
Theme 1
Understanding Bologna in context
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The changing roles of higher education in society
Creating a European Higher Education Area
Convergence and Diversity
Sir Roderick Floud
The article discusses the historical diversification of European higher education, and the rationale
for introducing a certain amount of convergence between national systems, in order to encourage
mutual understanding and trust. It argues that European higher education institutions will increasingly, as a result of the Bologna process, see themselves as part of a larger whole, while neither
ceasing to compete nor to define their missions ever more precisely. While converging to create a
European Higher Education Area, universities are likely to continue in their efforts to diversify.
Convergence, harmonisation or further diversity; the Bologna process
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Higher education is a confusing world. Even those who have long
worked within it still find it difficult to explain how it works, how it is
funded, how its institutions are governed and managed, how its students can make the best of the opportunities that a university education gives.1 The university system of a single country, the United
Kingdom, is thought to offer over 50,000 bachelor degrees and over
20,000 master degrees; no one knows how many degree courses are
offered in the 45 countries of Europe which now subscribe to the Bologna process. Nor are there more than a handful of people who could
reliably describe the characteristics of the higher education systems of
a majority of those countries.
Almost half of all young
people experience
university education
Yet higher education is also an important world. Student numbers have
expanded very greatly in recent years and, in many countries, close to
half of all young people will soon experience a university education.
Many of the universities in which they will study are themselves the
largest employer in their town or city and employers as a whole know
that, in the future, they need most of their workforces to have the
skills and competences which graduates acquire. Those graduates are
unlikely to cease their studies on securing a bachelor degree; instead,
they will turn to their own or another university to help them,
throughout their lives, to secure additional education, training and
professional competence, perhaps through a master degree, perhaps
through a PhD or, at the least, through short courses of professional
up-dating. Meanwhile other forms of knowledge transfer will make
industry and commerce increasingly reliant on research and innovation carried out in universities and thus by academics and researchers.
Finally, universities are important foundations of civil and democratic
Universities and the
State must work in
For all these reasons, higher education is a proper concern of government. Academics and political commentators sometimes call for universities to be freed from the control of the State. In reality – even in
the private universities of the United States which are sometimes
called in aid of such rhetoric – almost all universities rely on governments for funds for research and for student support; the number of
truly “private” universities is tiny. Moreover, even if there were more,
the State would retain an interest in them because their “output” of
educated and qualified students, and reliable knowledge, is vital to the
functioning of every society in the world. Universities must therefore
learn to live – hopefully in the form of partnership rather than con-
In this chapter, the word “university” is used to describe every higher education institution engaged in teaching and research.
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frontation – with States and governments and to seek a relationship
which is efficient and of mutual benefit.2
As it develops, the Bologna process represents the working out of the
consequences of these new relationships between the universities,
civil society and governments. The relationships are new because of
one central change – sometimes described by the ugly word “massification” – from a university system for the elite to a system for the
many. When university systems were small, catering mainly for the
upper and middle classes of society, and when there was little movement of students from one university to another – either during a
course or to take a second degree – universities could rely on there
being a shared body of knowledge. However eccentric and confusing
the systems and practices of a particular university might be, it mattered little because everyone who had studied there could understand
them and everyone else took their excellence on trust. A degree from
Athens, Bologna, Cracow, Heidelberg, Oxford or Paris spoke for itself.
When university
systems were small,
their excellence was
taken on trust
But the old forms of trust, appropriate to an elite system, are insufficient when confronted with millions of students, hundreds of thousands of courses, thousands of universities and with the demands of
millions of employers. At the very least, therefore, the Bologna process seeks to achieve sufficient common practice in degree structures,
sufficient good practice in quality assurance, to ensure that a degree or
diploma, granted in one European country, has meaning in another
country and can be trusted as a certificate of the worth of the student
who has gained it.
A “mass” system
requires common
practices and structures
The Bologna process, therefore, seeks to organise the higher education
systems of Europe so that they can be understood and trusted. This
task is not at all easy, mainly because of the complexity of the different national systems and their different histories. But another, important reason is that an important objective of the process is to maintain,
indeed to celebrate, diversity.
Issues of the growth of state regulation rather than control and of the decline
in trust in professionals such as university teachers and researchers are considered in Floud 2005.
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Despite its diversity,
Europe has always
been interlinked
There is little point in arguing about which area of the world is the
most diverse, but there can be no doubt that European languages, nations and regions have a complex and rich heritage, of which the citizens of European countries are proud. Every nation has its own heroes, sometimes mythical but more often drawn from politics, war or
literature. But what is notable about any list of the great men and
women of European countries is the extent to which they have been
explicitly and implicitly linked, and each moulded, by their exposure
to the art, literature, history and language of other European nations,
from the influence of classical Greece on imperial Rome and down
through history. The Renaissance of the classical tradition, the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the Romantic movement, were all European phenomena, but given form and strength by their interpretation
and reinterpretation in different languages and cultures and in the light
of different national histories.
Diversity has been a
source of strengths
and divisions
Europe therefore has a long history of the maintenance of cultural
diversity within an overall intellectual framework. That diversity has
normally been a source of strength, permitting and indeed encouraging
the exploration of the human spirit together with innovation in ideas,
policies and technologies. On other occasions, of course, it has been a
source of division, of bitter debate and even of violent conflict. Examples abound: the persecution of the Cathars in medieval Provence; the
work of the Inquisition; the persecution of Catholics in Protestant
England; the religious wars of the seventeenth century; the antisemitism which runs like a cancer through European society, from
medieval times to the Holocaust; the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. As
all these examples show, diversity allied to intolerance is inherently
dangerous; but understanding and tolerance of diversity can, on the
other hand, breed some of the most glorious works of literature and
European universities
have a common
Diversity within the world of higher education has milder consequences, though academic disputes can be vitriolic. But higher education in Europe has developed by many diverse routes and has resulted
in a system which now contains many different types of institutions.
The typical form of the medieval European university was collegiate,
still typified by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, combining
residential accommodation for staff and students with learning by
lectures and through library study at the feet of a master. This model
was well attuned to a restricted syllabus and to the service initially of
the clergy and then of a small range of other learned professions. It
persisted, in that guise, until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
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At that time, however, a number of intellectual and political influences
led to the emergence of a more diverse group of institutions. Particularly in Great Britain, institutions began to adapt themselves to the
world of the industrial revolution and to the concept of “useful knowledge”; the foundation of University College London on an intellectual
basis which was explicitly non-religious was an extreme example, but
other Scottish and English institutions began to develop teaching in
subjects such as science, outside the traditional syllabi. By the end of
the nineteenth century, such institutions were being deliberately designed to meet the needs of local industry.
… but have evolved in
different ways
A similar dissatisfaction with the traditional university model was
expressed in many other European countries and led, as in Britain, to
the foundation of various types of vocational and technical institutions. It was this challenge to the old universities which led to the
highly influential work of Wilhelm von Humboldt, typified by the
foundation of the University of Berlin in 1810. As Lay (2004: 47-48)
puts it: “… the function of the higher learning was radically redefined.
Under these reforms, the university was reinvented as the central pillar
in nothing less than an intellectual effort for national rejuvenation. The
universities would become the repositories of the national spirit and a
vehicle for national pride.” An important aspect of the Humboldtian
university was the emphasis on the link between higher education and
research, in which student and teacher would engage in partnership in
a search for knowledge. To facilitate this, academic freedom, for both
staff and students, became a tenet of the university system.
The Humboldtian
A further institutional development, of considerable significance, was
the French institution of the grandes ecoles. These schools for the elite
differed radically from the Humboldtian or the Anglo-Saxon universities; they were above all teaching institutions, in which research
played little or no part, and their objective was to develop a cadre to
staff the ruling class of France, based on the concept of a meritocracy.
The development of such teaching institutions required the establishment of an alternative system of research, outside both the grandes
ecoles and the traditional universities. In the twentieth century, many
countries in east and central Europe – rejecting the Humboldtian
model – based research outside teaching institutions, typically in research institutes under the control of Academies of Science. Meanwhile in many countries the technological training needs of new industrial societies were met by the foundation of Polytechnics or Fachhochschulen, dedicated to serving local and regional industries. In
some countries research and teaching in scientific and technological
subjects became the preserve of technical universities, leaving the
older disciplines to the traditional universities.
The grande école
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Different institutional
During the nineteenth century, these different institutional models
developed in diverse ways, both within Europe and in the wider world
influenced – and sometimes ruled – by European nations. Universities
came to differ in the lengths of their courses – from the English
bachelor degree of three years through the Scottish master degree of
four years to the master or diploma degrees of six years or more in
some continental European countries. Even more extreme differences
arose in the duration and nature of doctor degrees, sometimes seen as
exclusively designed to train future academics, sometimes intended to
lead to professional careers outside academe. Some systems were
selective, with a restricted number of students admitted on the basis of
a competitive entrance test; others were open to all who had successfully completed high-school education, with no control by the university on the overall numbers or on their distribution across the courses
that were offered. Systems of examination were equally varied, from
three hour written examinations to ten minute oral examinations. In
some systems, the vast majority of students who entered were expected to graduate; in others, the majority of students was excluded
after intermediate examinations or they themselves withdrew after
shorter or often longer periods.
Evolving models
None of the models of universities were set in stone. In England, for
example, universities which had been established – often as “university colleges” of the University of London – to serve the needs of a
major city, developed over time into “civic universities” with a much
wider mission for research and teaching. Successive waves of reform
and growth saw the foundation in the 1960s of “plateglass universities” on green-field sites away from major population centres, seeking
to imitate in new ways the collegiate residential experience of Oxford
and Cambridge. In the late 1980s the Polytechnics, which had hitherto
been the responsibility of local government, were funded by a national
body and took on many of the characteristics of autonomous universities, a fact recognised when they changed their names to become the
“new universities” of 1993. Finally, in 2005, a further set of new universities were created, distinguished from their predecessors only by
the fact that they did not offer doctor degrees.3
Diversity is a result and
a cause of innovation,
enterprise and
As with the cultural development of Europe as a whole, the diversity
of university systems and structures has been both a result and a cause
of innovation, enterprise and intellectual and cultural achievement.
Even though the language of mission statements is relatively recent,
universities have for years pursued different objectives, if only because of their different locations and the different capacities and interests of their staff and students. This was despite the fact that, in many
It is important to note that, although these institutions are sometimes called
“teaching universities”, many of their staff engage in research despite not
awarding doctorates.
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countries, universities were controlled – to a greater or lesser degree –
by national or regional governments, who sought to impose a degree
of uniformity or conformity to a common pattern and to maintain distinctions, for example between universities and polytechnics, which
were always subverted in practice.
Perhaps inevitably, difference led to hierarchy, with some universities
being seen as superior to others. This was perhaps because those universities were able to offer better terms and conditions to their staff, so
that in the ferociously competitive world of academe they attracted the
most productive and prestigious teachers and researchers; success then
begets success, as people strive to join those universities and measure
their own success against that objective.
Differences have
led to hierarchies
There is nothing wrong with such hierarchy and the competition
which it engenders; it occurs in all walks of life and stimulates
achievement and innovation. It is unfortunate, however, that in the
university world – both in Europe and worldwide – prestige has come
to be associated almost exclusively with success in research and academic publication, much less with good teaching or knowledge transfer. At the extreme, which can already be seen in some of the great
research universities of the United States and the United Kingdom,
this leads to a neglect of bachelor-level teaching by some leading
scholars. Research hierarchy is also taken to extremes, with success
measured in many disciplines by publication in a short list of leading
academic journals.
There is, to sum up, enormous diversity in and among European universities, in terms of structures, courses, syllabi, staff and student interests, and relationships to the locality, region, nation or world. Noone knows how many different courses are offered in Europe’s universities, but the number and diversity is certainly bewildering. Even
specialists in a particular subject find it difficult to answer the question: which university offers the best course in that subject? “League
tables” in newspapers seek to answer another question: what is the
best university? Such rankings are highly subjective and based on a
particular model of a university. Nevertheless, they do reflect a search
for information and for a means of structuring a diverse and complex
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Convergence, harmonisation or further
diversity; the Bologna process
Small cohorts of mostly
male students
Despite the dynamism and diversity of university structures, the systems developed in Europe before the last quarter of the twentieth
century shared one common and crucial characteristic. They were the
preserve of a small proportion of the population, typically less than
20 % of a cohort of young people or rather, of young men. What has
distinguished the most recent period – still not much more than thirty
years – from the centuries of earlier development is the growth in
student numbers and in the proportions of young people attending
university and, closely allied to that, the growth in the number of
women among the student body. Now, throughout Europe, it is typical
for around 40 % of a cohort of young people to attend university and
the majority of them are women. Although progress has been slower
in integrating some ethnic minorities and people from unskilled and
disadvantaged backgrounds into the university system, it is as a whole
now undoubtedly a mass rather than an elite system
Large cohorts with a
majority of women
It is this change which, above all, has made it necessary to seek for
common features within, or at least a map of, the amazingly diverse
and complex European university system. When universities were the
preserve of elites – as they were until very recently – and most of their
students were drawn from similar socio-economic backgrounds, there
was within those elites a substantial amount of shared – if sometimes
unspoken – knowledge.4 Students and their families knew – or at least
thought they knew – which were the “best” universities, the universities which would offer a gateway to the most prestigious careers. Now
that there are hundreds of universities in many countries, catering to
millions of students, this shared knowledge is no longer available,
particularly when – as increasingly happens – students wish to study
in countries other than their own. Meanwhile, national bureaucracies,
faced with the increasing cost of higher education, naturally also demand to know what they are getting for their money and are not satisfied, as they might have been in the past, with the answer that academics know what they are doing and can be trusted to do it well.
There could have been – and indeed there could still be – a demand
for radical simplification. At the extreme, this could take the form of
requiring a common European syllabus for each academic subject,
taught and assessed in the same way in every country and therefore
with common outcomes available to every student and every employer. There could be requirements – in the interests of equity between academic subjects – that every bachelor degree should be the
A marvellous fictional depiction of the transmission of such knowledge can
be found in a play by Alan Bennett, “The History Boys”, soon to be a film.
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product of a specified number of hours of tuition. It could be required
that successful completion of a bachelor degree in one university or
one country would give an automatic right of entry to a master course
in another university or another country. Universities might be required to specify exactly their focus and mission and to maintain that
focus without deviation over time.
The Bologna process is none of these. It seeks, perhaps as an alternative to demands for such radical simplification, to encourage all the
countries of Europe to move towards a set of minimum common
methods of organising university study, which will together facilitate
the public understanding of the university system and of the students
who have benefited from it. The different national systems – as they
existed in 1999 at the start of the process – were so diverse that Bologna has undoubtedly encouraged a degree of convergence, but its
minimum requirements are actually few in number.
Bologna avoids radical
What does adherence to the Bologna process actually require? At a
minimum, all signatories have agreed to adopt the “three cycle” model
of bachelor, master and doctor degrees.5 They have agreed to describe
those degrees in documents known as “diploma supplements” and by
means of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which together give information about the course that has been studied. They
have agreed to develop frameworks of qualifications which show the
relationship of one qualification to another. They have agreed to develop and implement a set of common standards for the quality assurance agencies which, in each country and in relation to the national
characteristics of each system, give assurance of the quality of education to students, employers and governments. These changes and requirements have to be in place by 20106 and Trends IV: European
Universities implementing Bologna (EUA 2005) suggested that good
progress is being made towards that objective.
Bologna requires
adherence to a set of
common methods
This is very far from the imposition of a common system, although it
clearly encourages or requires some convergence towards a common
model, some harmonisation. But it obviously does not amount to homogenisation – there remains enormous scope for countries, or individual universities to maintain or adapt their systems to fit these
minimum requirements. To take the most obvious example, bachelor
degrees vary from three to four years in length, master degrees vary
from one to two years and there is no agreement as yet on the length
or organisation of doctor degrees.
A common model
does not mean
The initial agreement was to a “two-cycle” bachelor and master degree;
doctor degrees were formally added at the Berlin ministerial conference in
Diploma supplements are required by 2005, but this requirement has not
been fulfilled in a number of countries.
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Some Bologna actions
remain loosely defined
The changing roles of higher education in society
Discussions of the Bologna process have recently widened, with the
introduction of a greater emphasis on the “external dimension” and on
the “social dimension” of the European Higher Education Area. Neither term has been satisfactorily defined. But the “external dimension”
appears to imply the translation of the main features of the EHEA –
three-cycles, ECTS and quality assurance – into higher education
systems in other parts of the world. This would, in principle, facilitate
greater cooperation with those systems and easier mobility for students between them. The “social dimension” is variously defined; it is
sometimes taken to mean that countries should agree to “portability”
of grants and loans, so that students can use their national system of
financial support while they study in another country. More broadly,
the term seems to mean that governments and universities should
make sure that the Bologna reforms do not inhibit efforts to widen
access to higher education from disadvantaged groups. Neither the
“external” nor the “social” dimension of Bologna seems likely to lead
to a convergence of national systems.
There are, however, two current trends in European higher education
which may, in the long run, affect the diversity or homogeneity of the
system; neither are strictly the product of the Bologna reforms, but
they are sometimes blamed on Bologna and they certainly deserve
course curricula within
the Bologna process
The first trend is concerned with the nature of the curricula of courses.
In many European countries, the Bologna process required that the
existing single-cycle course, leading to a master or diploma degree,
should be replaced by a bachelor and master qualification within the
two-cycle model. The process by which this change should take place
was not specified in the Bologna agreements, nor normally in the legislative processes which followed in many countries. Practice naturally varied; in some cases, an existing five year course was simply
divided up into a bachelor course of three years, a master of two years,
with little or no change to the curriculum; this was sometimes based
on the assumption that almost every serious student would wish to
progress from bachelor to master and therefore the division between
them did not need to be rethought. Even worse, there were a few examples where attempts were made to force the entire content of a fiveyear programme into a three-year bachelor course.
Moving to a studentcentred approach
In many cases, however, the requirement to design the new bachelor
and master programmes has been seized as an opportunity to reconsider the nature and objectives of the curriculum. In addition, although
the requirement for shorter bachelor courses initially focussed attention on the time to be taken to secure such a degree, attention soon
turned to the learning outcomes to be expected from a student, the
skills, competences and knowledge that he or she should have obtained by undertaking the course. This was a radical departure for
some university systems, where courses had been described by the
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number of hours spent in lectures or classes, rather than by what was
learnt. It has sometimes been described as a movement from a teachercentred to a student-centred approach.
Such a change did not imply anything about the content of the curriculum.
Curriculum content was, however, the subject of a trans-European
project, officially separate from Bologna, though holding many implications for it, called Tuning Educational Structures in Europe (generally known as the Tuning project).7 Experts in a range of academic
disciplines were brought together to explore whether the syllabus in
those disciplines could be described through a set of learning outcomes which would be common across Europe. Naturally the exact
content of the syllabus, in a subject such as history, would continue to
reflect national experiences, but the skills and competences might – it
was argued – have much greater commonality across the continent.
Much to the surprise of many academics, this proved to be the case
and the Tuning project has been a valuable input into curriculum redesign in a number of countries. It holds out the prospect of the gradual development of common European curricula, through the decision
of academics and their professional groupings, rather than by any
central fiat.
Exploring common
curricular components
Much more contentious, because of the wide-ranging implications for
the whole university and the whole system, has been the discussion of
convergence or increased diversity in the mission and activities of
universities. This discussion, which has occurred or is occurring in
every European country, is difficult to describe or characterise because
it has so many different strands.
As was argued in the first section of this chapter, the European higher
education system has evolved in innumerable ways, with the result
that the system – if it can even be called that – is very diverse. This
situation, and the increased attention to it which the Bologna process
has brought, provokes – at the extreme – one of two reactions. The
first reaction is to argue that the diversity of types and missions reflects a sad and undesirable departure from what might be called the
Platonic ideal of a university. This ideal, which borrows elements both
from the collegiate universities of medieval times and from the Humboldtian restatement of the early nineteenth century, incorporates ideas
of a partnership between student and teacher, academic freedom for
both and the union of teaching and research. It is based also on a notion of university autonomy in which the university commands its own
resources and can deploy them as it wishes. Proponents of this view
Diversity of mission
and activities?
For full information on Tuning, please visit
BH 1 00 06 07
A 1.2-1
Understanding Bologna in context
Creating a European Higher Education Area
The changing roles of higher education in society
accept that there will be institutions – such as polytechnics – which
are engaged in higher education but which cannot be described in
these ideal terms; they are valuable and excellent in their way but they
are not universities.
Common purposes but
different profiles?
At the other extreme is the view that all higher education institutions
are engaged in a common purpose, encompassing teaching, research
and knowledge transfer, but that each specialises according to its own
history, inheritance and current situation. The distinctiveness of institutions can be reflected in their names – polytechnic, college, technical university, classical university – but otherwise such collective
names have little utility and every institution should be classified as a
university or as a higher education institution, whichever generic
name is chosen for the whole system. Institutions can also be grouped,
as in the Carnegie Classification which is used in the United States,
but those groupings are for information; they (in theory) carry no
normative significance nor do they embody a hierarchy.
These issues may seem to be arcane, a matter only for those few academics who are concerned with the administration of higher education
rather than with a traditional academic discipline. But in fact they
have serious political implications, which have grown stronger as the
systems have become larger, and those political implications are reflected in funding decisions and in the quality of education which can
be provided.
Diversification leading
to hierarchy
In recent years, politicians across Europe have increasingly advocated
a greater diversification of the system on the grounds that each university cannot do everything, that the public purse is not limitless and that
it is inevitable and indeed desirable that funds should be concentrated
where they will bring the greatest return. In practice, this has meant
the concentration of funds for research on fewer and fewer institutions. The most extreme results have been seen in the United Kingdom, where funding decisions based on successive Research Assessment Exercises have led to the situation that 75 % of research funding
(from the Higher Education Funding Council for England) is given to
25 (out of 120) universities, while some other universities receive
little or nothing. It is argued that teaching-led universities, as they are
sometimes called, should concentrate their efforts on teaching and
knowledge transfer, but the funds for such purposes are normally more
constrained and lower than those for research. To add insult to injury,
concentration somehow still allows the research-led universities to
secure larger funds, sometimes for teaching but also for knowledge
transfer. Diversification does not, therefore, lead to total differentiation but to hierarchy. Other countries are showing signs of following,
for example in Germany where it is intended to create a number of
“world-class” research universities following a competition among
existing universities.
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 1
Understanding Bologna in context
A 1.2-1
The changing roles of higher education in society
Creating a European Higher Education Area
Meanwhile, in a number of countries the polytechnics or fachhochschulen are arguing, to the dismay of the classical universities,
that now that both types of institution are providing bachelor and
master degrees, funding should be at least equalised and, going further, the polytechnics should be eligible for research funding.
There is no sign, in other words, that a situation of stability – so desired by many academics - will soon exist in European higher education. Convergence will proceed, well short of harmonisation or homogenisation, but it will be accompanied by increasing diversity
within a larger and larger university system.
It is clear that the Bologna process, for all the attention that has been
lavished on it since 1999, does not by any means encompass the full
range of issues and changes at the moment affecting European higher
education. Indeed, many changes which are loosely attributed – often
by aggrieved university teachers – to Bologna have only tangential or
even looser relationships to it. In particular, the diversity of European
higher education institutions and the systems in which they operate
has been affected only marginally by Bologna. Far more important, in
many ways, have been the growth in student numbers, the failure in
most countries to fund those numbers at earlier levels and the transition from an elite to a mass system. Bologna can be seen more as a
response to these changes than a cause of them.
Bologna as a response
At the same time, Bologna was inspired by some noble aims, to improve the public understanding and attractiveness of European higher
education, to enhance mobility of students among the European nations and to fit Europe’s students to take their place effectively as citizens and employees in the world of the twenty-first century. To all
except the most convinced Euro-sceptics, those are desirable ends. To
those with a sense of history, they recall the origins of the university
system in medieval Europe, the age of the “wandering scholars”, one
of the greatest of whom, Erasmus, has given his name to the student
mobility programme of the European Union.
Prediction is a dangerous art. There have been far more wrong than
right predictions. But it seems likely that European higher education
institutions – called universities or not – will increasingly, and as a
result of the Bologna process, see themselves as part of a larger whole.
They will not cease to compete, nor to define their missions ever more
precisely, so that diversity will continue and will even be increasingly
systematised. But at the same time they will converge to create a
European Higher Education Area – based on academic freedom and
BH 1 00 06 07
Increased convergence
with increased diversity
A 1.2-1
Understanding Bologna in context
Creating a European Higher Education Area
The changing roles of higher education in society
autonomy, on student-centred learning and on the link between teaching and research, which will continue the development of institutions
which have been changing for 800 years.
Floud, Roderick 2005 “Government and higher education: the approach to
regulation” in Weber and Bergan (eds.) 2005, pp. 125-162
Lay, Stephen 2004 The Interpretation of the Magna Charta Universitatum and
its Principles (Bologna, Italy: Bononia University Press)
Reichert, Sybille and Tauch, Christian 2005 Trends IV: European Universities
Implementing Bologna (Brussels: EUA)
Weber, Luc and Bergan, Sjur (eds) 2005 The public responsibility for higher
education and research (Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe)
[1] European University Association (
[2] Bologna Process website (
Professor Sir Roderick Floud is President Emeritus of London Metropolitan University and a VicePresident of the European University Association. He was President of Universities UK from 20012003. He is an economic historian and a Fellow of the British Academy. He was knighted in 2005 for
services to higher education.
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 2
Summary of key research and innovation issues
As background reading material in preparation for Lisbon Plenary and Working Group
Sessions on the Research and Innovation Theme, an overview of key documentation from
both internal EUA and external sources is provided below reflecting the range of activities
undertaken by EUA in 2005 and 2006. Key summary documents are attached as Annexes to
this chapter of the Reader together with footnotes providing web-links to the cited relevant
Doctoral programme reform
The EUA Report “Doctoral Programmes for the European Knowledge Society”1 provides
an overview of good practices on structure and organisation of doctoral programmes,
supervision, monitoring and assessment, mobility, and joint doctoral programmes. The project
report includes the Salzburg Conference (February 2005) “Ten Basic Principles” (Annex I)
which have provided the guiding framework for the development of EUA activities on “Third
Cycle” of the Bologna Process. These activities culminated in the December 2006 Nice
Conference on European Doctoral Programmes (Annex II) whose recommendations are
integrated within the EUA report being prepared for the London Ministerial Conference in May
2007: Draft Report submitted to BFUG for Comments (6 March 2007)2. The EUA report
places emphasis upon the central importance of doctoral programme reform and its
appropriate financing as a core instrument in widening the employability of highly skilled
professionals in the academic and non-academic sectors.
In relation to European policy developments that have contributed to the debate on doctoral
programme reform, attention is drawn particularly to two documents: “The Charter for
Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their Recruitment as a driving force for
enhancing career prospects”3 and the report of the European Presidency Conference “A
Researcher’s Labour Market: Europe – a pole for attraction”4. This latter EU conference
was held in Vienna (Austria) on 1-2 June 2006 with EUA as a partner organisation.
Following-up on these activities, EUA is conducting in 2007 a new project entitled “From
Innovative Doctoral Training to Enhanced Career Opportunities” (DOC-CAREERS)5. It
has been conceived as a ground-breaking project to explore the relations between doctoral
training programmes and the career development and employability prospects for doctoral
candidates in non-academic sectors. The project examines the need to incorporate demands
from a highly diversified labour market directly into the planning of doctoral programme
structures and focuses on both inter-sectorial and a cross-border mobility.
“Doctoral Programmes for the European Knowledge Society”, EUA publications 2005.
Doctoral Programmes in the Bologna Process Process (2006-2007).
"The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers",
European Commission, EUR 21620, 2005.
“A researcher’s labour market: Europe – a pole for attraction” Conference Report, 2006.
DOC-CAREERS project (2006-2007).
Developing Institutional Strategies
Initially presented at the EUA Uppsala Conference on “Research in European Universities:
Strategies and Funding” (October 2005), the EUA published subsequently in 2006 its report
“Research Strategy Development and Management at European Universities”6. The
report stressed the importance of a supportive national and regional context and the
institutional self-awareness of existing organisational culture as key factors to devise
successful strategic plans for research and innovation management.
The strategic role of universities in fostering regional innovation has been a new area of work
for EUA since 2006. In taking up this theme the EUA objective has been to bring the voice and
experience of the universities into the debate on the future development of regional policy,
particularly given the new emphasis being placed on investment in science, technology and
innovation. Two documents have been prepared which reflect EUA’s work in 2006 that are
valuable to the Lisbon debate on developing institutional strategies – firstly the General
Report arising from EUA 2006 Autumn Conference, in Brno, Czech Republic, on
“Universities as Catalysts in Regional Innovation” (Annex III) and secondly the EUA study
“The Rise of Knowledge Regions: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for
Universities”7. This latter publication has the aim of enhancing the understanding of the
current role of universities and the future potential of universities in regional knowledge
development. The report also includes a review on the most recent literature in the field. A
particularly important element of this study has been a series of interviews with professionals
involved in university-industry-government cooperation schemes to foster regional innovation.
An important external publication in this area is the major academic study undertaken by
OECD "Supporting the contribution of higher education institutions to regional
development"8 in 9 European Regions (a presentation on which was also given at the EUA
Brno Conference).
The EU Conference Report on “Regions for Economic Change”9 held on 12-13 June
2006, to which EUA contributed, also provides a valuable reference document on the current
debate on reform of EU regional policy towards meeting the revised “Lisbon Objectives” on
growth and jobs.
University/Enterprise Collaboration
A further central focus in the recent research and innovation policy debate has been on the
need to strengthen collaborative research between universities and industry/business
enterprises. EUA was a partner contributor to the “Responsible Partnering”10 guidelines and
to the organization of the two validation workshops (November 2005 and May 2006) that were
held with industry partners. The Responsible Partnering Guidelines were re-launched in 2006
together with other key stakeholders in the university-industry collaboration area: EIRMA,
EARTO and ProTon and presented at the European Business Summit held in Brussels in
March 2006. The Responsible Partnering initiative has received strong support from the major
“Research Strategy Development and Management at European Universities”, EUA publications 2006.
“The Rise of Knowledge Regions: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for Universities”, EUA
publications 2006.
"Supporting the contribution of higher education institutions to regional development", OECD/IMHE Study,
“Regions for Economic Change” Conference Proceedings, 2006.
“Responsible Partnering: Joining Forces in a World of Open Innovation”, EUA/EIRMA/EARTO/ProTon,
Theme 2
European policy report "Creating an Innovative Europe"11 elaborated by the Aho Group
EUA work in following-up “Responsible Partnering” is focusing on promoting good practices
and shared experience of university/enterprise collaboration in doctoral research/training
(DOC-CAREERS) and regional cooperation in research and innovation between universities,
industry/enterprise and government agencies (i.e; “triple helix” partnerships as demonstrated
at the EUA Brno Conference).
Towards the Full-Costing of Externally-funded University Research
During 2005/2006, the EUA concentrated its efforts on pressing the case with the European
Institutions for the allocation of a significant “flat rate” payment for indirect research costs in
FP7 contracts to those many universities that were not yet able to identify fully their indirect
research costs under the proposed FP7 eligible research costs model. The “EUA Statement
on FP7 Rules of Participation proposals for Support Rates and Cost Models” (Annex IV)
endorsed by the EUA Council in March 2006 proposed an indirect research costs “flat rate” of
60% of total direct costs. EUA, through several workshops and presentations to policy-makers
and European parliamentarians, continued to press this viewpoint throughout the deliberations
on the “Rules of Participation” together with other interested parties. The final position agreed
on the FP7 Rules of participation allowed for a flat rate for indirect costs of 60% for the first 3
years of FP7 (2007-2009) with no less than 40% for the remaining years (2010-2013). Lisbon
discussions will include practical examples of universities’ preparations for working on the
basis of the FP7 eligible costs model as a step towards full-costing of externally-funded
research. Linkage will be established with Lisbon Theme 5 on Governance and Financing
which takes a broader perspective towards full-cost accounting across the university mission
as a whole.
European Research Council (ERC)
The European University Association has supported strongly the proposal to establish a
European Research Council (ERC) as a major innovative research funding instrument within
the EU Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) which has been widely welcomed by
Europe’s universities. Since the 2005 Glasgow Convention, EUA has been involved
extensively in the consultations over the creation of the ERC, particularly with respect to the
establishment and work of the ERC Scientific Council. EUA was invited by the ERC
Identification Committee to provide input on the profiles and criteria to govern the selection of
the membership of the ERC Scientific Council and, together with other European
organizations, to propose nominations of potential members of the Scientific Council.
Since the establishment of the ERC Scientific Council the EUA, through its Research Working
Group, has engaged in a regular dialogue with the President of the ERC Scientific Council,
Professor Fotis Kafatos. EUA has commented on the various “Strategy Notes” issued by the
ERC Scientific Council as it has developed its operating procedures on the eligibility of grant
applicants, application and evaluation processes, peer review panels and funding instruments.
As a result of this valuable dialogue, Professor Kafatos has accepted the EUA’s invitation to
address the Lisbon Convention on his vision of the future work of the ERC in FP7 and beyond.
The Lisbon Convention Plenary Session will provide an early opportunity for EUA members to
question Professor Kafatos about the impact of ERC funding on Europe’s universities over the
"Creating an Innovative Europe" Aho Group Report, 2006.
next decades. As background reading for the debate, the ERC Work Programme12 provides
information on the new “ERC Starting Grants for Independent Young Investigators” and
importantly addresses the role of host institutions in ERC grant applications.
European Institute of Technology (EIT)
In early 2005 the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, put forward
the proposal to establish a European Institute of Technology (EIT). The European Commission
launched subsequently a wide public consultation with potential stakeholders from across
higher education and research institutions, governments and industry/enterprises in autumn
2005. EUA participated in this public consultation through an extensive process of seeking the
views of its membership, debating the proposal in Council meetings and eventually issuing
“position papers” on its views. Three position papers were published by EUA over the
period November 2005 to July 2006 as the European Commission’s proposal for an EIT
has evolved (Annex V).
EUA position papers have reflected the situation that the EIT proposal has met with a wide
range of diverse opinions amongst the EUA membership with no clear dominant view. EUA
position papers have sought clarification of key points of the EIT proposal where there were
ambiguities and uncertainties so that consensus-building might be achieved. These key points
have related essentially to the need for (i) universities as institutions to be seen as the
recognized partners within the proposed EIT Knowledge Communities, not university
departments/faculties which risked the fragmentation of universities, (ii) the EIT should not be
a single institution but a range of networked collaborations across Europe, (iii) “fresh money”
would be required beyond that allocated in Category 1A and FP7 funding, (iv) and finally, most
importantly, degrees awarded within the proposed EIT Knowledge Communities should be
those of the university partner/s, and not of the EIT itself.
EUA has participated in the four “European Stakeholder” meetings that have been convened
by the European Commission as the proposal has been adapted and refined in response to
comments and feedback received – the most recent being held on 15th January 2007. In
relation to the EUA’s above four core point, the first two have been met but the latter two
points remain to be resolved. The present state-of-play is that the European Commission has
presented a “Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council
establishing the European Institute of Technology”13 which is currently being considered
by the European Parliament and the European Council (Member States).
Further viewpoints and input from the EUA have been requested from the European
Commission which will be discussed at the EUA Council meeting in Lisbon prior to the
Convention. EU President Barosso’s closing address to the Lisbon Convention, if the timetable
allows, may also offer EUA members the opportunity to debate this issue with him.
European Research Council Work Programme, 2006.
Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European Institute
of Technology, COM(2006) 604 final, 18.10.2006.
Theme 2
Bologna Seminar on “Doctoral programmes for the European knowledge society”
(Salzburg, 3-5 February 2005) Conclusions and recommendations
1. Ministers meeting in Berlin in September 2003 added an Action Line to the Bologna
process entitled “European Higher Education Area and European Research Area – two
pillars of the knowledge based society” that underlines the key role of doctoral programmes
and research training in this context.
“Conscious of the need to promote closer links between the EHEA and the ERA in a
Europe of Knowledge, and of the importance of research as an integral part of higher
education across Europe, Ministers consider it necessary to go beyond the present focus
on two main cycles of higher education to include the doctoral level as the third cycle in the
Bologna Process. They emphasise the importance of research and research training and
the promotion of interdisciplinarity in maintaining and improving the quality of higher
education and in enhancing the competitiveness of European higher education more
generally. Ministers call for increased mobility at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels and
encourage the institutions concerned to increase their cooperation in doctoral studies and
the training of young researchers.”
2. Research training and research career development - and the need to increase the number
of highly qualified graduates and well trained researchers – are also becoming increasingly
important in the debate on strengthening Europe’s research capacity and in the discussions
on FP7.
3. In order to raise awareness of the issues and provide a solid basis for the discussions the
EUA launched in 2004 a Socrates funded Doctoral Programmes Project to analyse key
issues related to structure and organisation, financing, quality and innovative practice in
doctoral programmes. 49 Universities from 25 countries are involved in this project that
demonstrates the commitment of the universities and their desire to contribute directly to
the wider policy debate on this important issue.
4. Aware of the importance of this topic for both governments and universities and bearing in
mind that research training forms a core mission of universities across Europe, the Austrian
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the German Federal Ministry of
Education and Research and the European University Association have taken the initiative
to organise a ‘Bologna Seminar’ in Salzburg on doctoral programmes in order to reach a
set of conclusions, identify key challenges and make recommendations for action to be
undertaken (in the period 2005-2007).
5. The enormous interest in and presence at the Seminar of the academic community further
demonstrates the ownership felt by universities across the continent for the organisation of
doctoral programmes and research training.
6. Furthermore, participants welcomed the initiative of the European Commission to draft a
‘European Charter for Researchers’/Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers’.
7. From the discussions in Salzburg a consensus emerged on a set of ten basic principles
as follows:
i. The core component of doctoral training is the advancement of knowledge
through original research. At the same time it is recognised that doctoral training must
increasingly meet the needs of an employment market that is wider than academia.
ii. Embedding in institutional strategies and policies: universities as institutions need to
assume responsibility for ensuring that the doctoral programmes and research training
they offer are designed to meet new challenges and include appropriate professional
career development opportunities.
iii. The importance of diversity: the rich diversity of doctoral programmes in Europe including joint doctorates - is a strength which has to be underpinned by quality and
sound practice.
iv. Doctoral candidates as early stage researchers: should be recognized as
professionals – with commensurate rights - who make a key contribution to the creation
of new knowledge.
v. The crucial role of supervision and assessment: in respect of individual doctoral
candidates, arrangements for supervision and assessment should be based on a
transparent contractual framework of shared responsibilities between doctoral
candidates, supervisors and the institution (and where appropriate including other
vi. Achieving critical mass: Doctoral programmes should seek to achieve critical mass
and should draw on different types of innovative practice being introduced in universities
across Europe, bearing in mind that different solutions may be appropriate to different
contexts and in particular across larger and smaller European countries. These range
from graduate schools in major universities to international, national and regional
collaboration between universities.
vii. Duration: doctoral programmes should operate within an appropriate time duration
(three to four years full-time as a rule).
viii. The promotion of innovative structures: to meet the challenge of interdisciplinary
training and the development of transferable skills
ix. Increasing mobility: Doctoral programmes should seek to offer geographical as well as
interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility and international collaboration within an
integrated framework of cooperation between universities and other partners.
x. Ensuring appropriate funding: the development of quality doctoral programmes and
the successful completion by doctoral candidates requires appropriate and sustainable
Participants recommend to the BFUG:
• That the ten principles outlined above provide the basis for the further work of the BFUG
and thus feed into the drafting of the Bergen Communiqué
• That the Ministers in Bergen then call on EUA through its members to prepare a report
under the responsibility of the BFUG on the further development of these principles to be
presented to Ministers in 2007.
February 2005
Theme 2
Bologna Seminar on Doctoral Programmes (Nice, 7-9 December 2006) –
Final conclusions - Preparing recommendations for the London Communiqué
“Matching ambition with responsibilities and resources”
I Introduction
1. Starting Point-The Bergen Communiqué: Ministers meeting in Bergen in May 2005
recognised that in order to improve the synergies between the higher education sector and
other research sectors and between the EHEA and the European Research Area “doctoral
level qualifications need to be fully aligned with the EHEA overarching framework for
qualifications using the outcomes-based approach. The core component of doctoral training is
the advancement of knowledge through original research. Considering the need for structured
doctoral programmes and the need for transparent supervision and assessment, we note that
the normal workload of the third cycle in most countries would correspond to 3-4 years full
time. We urge universities to ensure that their doctoral programmes promote interdisciplinary
training and the development of transferable skills, thus meeting the needs of the wider
employment market. We need to achieve an overall increase in the numbers of doctoral
candidates taking up research careers within the EHEA. We consider participants in third
cycle programmes both as students and as early stage researchers.
2. Mandate: The European University Association, together with other interested partners, is
asked to prepare a report under the responsibility of the Follow-up Group on the further
development of the basic principles for doctoral programmes, to be presented to Ministers in
Steering Committee: EUA, Austria, France, ESIB, EURODOC
Terms of Reference endorsed by the BFUG
Design of a specific “inner circle” of events, & also taking account of an “outer circle” of
other events & analyses
Consolidation of the work at the Nice Bologna Seminar followed by the preparation of a
draft report for the BFUG in early 2007
II Taking action to follow up the basic principles adopted in Salzburg
The Bergen Communiqué took account of the 10 basic principles adopted in Salzburg. The
further development of these ten basic principles requires action and commitment from all the
partners in the (Bologna) Process: governments, institutions, and their staff in partnership with
doctoral candidates and other early stage researchers.
II.1. Setting the scene
In formulating the conclusions and recommendations that follow participants underlined the
importance of the uniqueness of the doctoral cycle that provides training by and for research
and is focused on the advancement of knowledge through original research. Participants
furthermore reiterated the crucial role of the doctoral cycle in contributing to meeting Europe’s
research goals and in linking the European Higher Education and Research Areas.
1.1.While doctoral programmes are unique they should not be considered in isolation but in
relation to the implementation of the three Bologna cycles as a whole: a research
component, and the development of transferable skills, need to be adequately included
and developed throughout the cycles.
1.2.A range of innovative doctorate programmes are emerging to respond to the changing
demands of a fast-evolving labour market. Employability of doctoral researchers both
within and outside academic institutions, as well as individual and societal needs for
lifelong education and training, have acted as a catalyst to the development of new
programmes, including professional doctorates, more industrial collaboration and
increased European and international cooperation.
1.3.Doctoral programmes are a key component of European higher education in a global
context; questions of internationalisation and mobility, and the establishment of joint
degrees at doctoral level, are central to institutional strategic development.
1.4.Greater attention is needed to the social dimension of the third cycle. Equity is a major
concern. Equality of access to, and ability to succeed in, the third cycle must be a
consideration, whether inequality derives from gender, ethnicity, financial situation or other
1.5.Doctoral programmes are also crucial for fostering innovation and creativity in society, and
it is vital to invest both in high quality disciplinary research and in inter-disciplinary and
intersectoral programmes.
1.6.The need for greater and targeted investment in the third cycle is clear, and should be
addressed as a matter of urgency. It should not be forgotten, however, that this also
implies investment in the first two cycles. It is important, in particular, to ensure that
second cycle (master) degrees are not only driven by market demand given the integral
link between the second and the third cycle.
II. 2. The role of higher education institutions
Higher education institutions fully accept their responsibility to develop and deliver high quality
doctoral programmes. This requires autonomous institutions able to develop strategies and
policies in line with their own missions and goals and create the necessary framework
conditions at institutional level that enable critical mass.
2.1 Providing structure and organisation
Accepting responsibility for the provision of high quality doctoral programmes involves
introducing the appropriate structures within institutions. Organisational structures chosen
must demonstrate added value for the institution, in particular in seeking to:
counteract the isolation of the early stage researcher, from other disciplines, or from the
larger peer group, or the larger scientific community.
establish transparency of expectations, quality and assessment standards (supervision
create synergies regarding transferable skills development (at institutional or at interinstitutional level)
Different solutions may be appropriate to different contexts and the choice of structure is a
matter for each institution, based upon the specific institutional aims which these structures
are supposed to meet.
Recent developments and an analysis of practice across Europe points to the emergence of
two main models of high quality, internationally oriented and networked
doctoral/research/graduate schools as organisational structures:
structures including master & doctoral candidates & providing crosscutting administrative,
training and development support, or,
Theme 2
structures including doctoral candidates only, around a research theme or a crossdisciplinary area & possibly including several institutions.
2.2 Developing attractive research career perspectives for early stage researchers
It is similarly the role of higher education institutions to take responsibility for:
Promoting attractive research careers and career perspectives for doctoral researchers in
collaboration with partners outside academia, thus promoting the development of clear
career paths inside and outside academia and between academia and other sectors of
Creating attractive conditions for research, in accordance with the provisions of the
European Researchers’ Charter & the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of
Concentrating funding to create more effective PhD training
Post-doctoral researchers
European higher education institutions need to pay attention not only to the career
development of doctoral researchers but also to the strategic need to make research careers
attractive for post-doctoral researchers and to facilitate their career development. Clear
academic career structures and a variety of career perspectives in academia as well as in
industry, commerce and the public sector are needed, both for individuals and for Europe to
compete on the global stage, taking account of the recommendations made under 4.1.
2.3 Ensuring access and admission
In a fast-changing environment, it is essential to maintain flexibility in admissions to doctoral
programmes, and full institutional autonomy: diversity of institutional missions and context,
and the growing importance of lifelong learning, mean that there are good reasons for
different entry requirements in institutions and programmes provided fairness, transparency
and objectivity is ensured;
The Bologna commitment that the second cycle gives access (= right to be considered for
admission) to the third cycle should be maintained, but access to the third cycle should not be
restricted to this route.
2.4 Enhancing the internationalisation of doctoral programmes
Mobility is an integral part of doctoral education at many universities. Higher education
institutions should support enhanced mobility at doctoral level within the framework of interinstitutional collaboration as an element of their broader international strategy. Institutions, but
especially public authorities, need to address legal, administrative and social obstacles, for
example concerning visas, work permits and social security issues.
Both international and transsectoral and interdisciplinary mobility should be recognised as
bringing added value for the career development of doctoral researchers and other early
stage researchers.
Joint doctorate degrees, European doctorates and co-tutelle arrangements should be further
developed and considered as an important instrument of international inter-institutional
II. 3. Improving the quality of doctoral programmes
3.1 Diversifying doctoral programmes
A number of diverse routes to the doctorate have been developed in Europe in recent years.
These recent developments include doctorates tailored towards specific professions (socalled “professional” doctorates), joint doctorates and the European doctorate, and a variety
of university-industry collaboration based doctorates.
All awards described as Doctorates should (no matter what their type or form) be based on a
core of processes and outcomes. Original research has to remain the main component of all
doctorates. There should be no doctorate without original research.
Core processes and outcomes should include the completion of an individual thesis (based
upon an original contribution to knowledge or original application of knowledge) that passes
evaluation by an expert university committee with external representation.
Professional Doctorates
So-called “professional” doctorates are doctorates that focus on embedding research in a
reflective manner into another professional practice. They must meet the same core
standards as ‘traditional’ doctorates in order to ensure the same high level of quality. It may
be appropriate to consider using different titles to distinguish between this type of professional
doctorates and PhDs.
In order to ensure a broad discussion on this topic it will be important to ensure the
dissemination of information on the rapidly growing number of professional doctorates –
particularly in the UK but also in other countries - across the entire European higher education
3.2 Supervision, monitoring & assessment
The importance of supervision, monitoring and assessment, as outlined in the Salzburg
principles, must continue to be stressed, and universities encouraged and supported in the
development and dissemination of good practices in the management of research degrees.
Arrangements need to be based upon a transparent contractual framework of shared
responsibilities between candidates, supervisors and the institution, and, where appropriate
other partners, as indicated in the Salzburg recommendations. Attention should be paid in
particular to ensuring: multiple supervision, the continuous professional skills development of
academic staff and performance reviews of supervisors.
Multiple supervision should be encouraged, also at international level, through tutoring and
co-tutoring by academic supervisors in different European countries.
Assessment of the thesis should be done by an expert university committee with external
representation. The impact of the supervisor on the outcome of the process should be limited.
This does not preclude participation of the supervisor in the examining body, especially when
this is a large body or when the thesis defence is public.
3.3 Transferable skills development
Transferable skills development, which should already be an integral part of first and second
cycle study programmes, is also important in the third cycle, and should be developed in the
context of overarching institutional support structures at doctoral level. The main goal should
be to recognise and raise awareness among doctoral candidates of the skills they acquire
through research, thus improving their employment prospects both in academia and on the
broader labour market. Ensuring that adequate funding is devoted to transferable skills
Theme 2
development is crucial. It is likewise important to ensure that reference to transferable skills
development is included in institutional quality assessment procedures.
II. 4. Public responsibility
4.1 Status and conditions of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers
Universities and public authorities in Europe share a collective responsibility to address the
status and conditions of doctoral and post doctoral researchers. Doctoral candidates are early
stage researchers who are vital to Europe’s development and, as stated in the Salzburg
principles, should have all commensurate rights.
Appropriate status and working conditions should also be recognised as essential for post
doctoral researchers for whom clear academic structures and a variety of career perspectives
are also needed. Post-doctoral researchers should be recognised as professionals with a key
role in developing the European knowledge society, as underlined in the European
Researchers’ Charter and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. This implies
The duration of the post doctoral phase without a clear career perspective should be
limited to five years.
They should be eligible to apply for national and international grant schemes to fund their
Initiatives like the Independent Researcher grant scheme of the ERC should be
If the number of researchers is to rise and be covered by appropriate salaries,
governments should invest more in research and social infrastructure for researchers in
order to make the European Research Area more attractive.
4.2 Funding1
Ensuring appropriate and sustainable funding of doctoral programmes and doctoral
candidates as well as higher education institutions and their infrastructure is the 10 and final
Salzburg principle, and quite simply needs to be implemented, given the crucial role of
doctoral education and training as the key formative stage of a research career in both
academia and non-academic sectors of employment and that because the attractiveness of a
future career in research is determined largely at the doctoral stage. Hence the importance of
ensuring status and financial support of the doctoral candidate, and of offering adequate
On the basis of the provisional analysis of the questionnaires received from BFUG
members it is recommended that:
Funding for doctoral candidates should be stable, covering the full period of the doctoral
programme, and provide sufficient means to live and work in decent conditions.
Funding should be sufficiently attractive to encourage suitably-qualified candidates from
lower income groups, as well as sufficiently flexible to support the needs of part time
students over a longer period of study.
1 This section is based upon the provisional analysis of the questionnaires received from BFUG members.
The final results will be incorporated into EUA’s report to the BFUG and will feed into the specific
recommendations for action that will be made.
There is an urgent need for greater consultation and coordination at the national level
between government ministries, research councils and other funding agencies (including
European Institutions) on doctoral programme financing and career development.
Nice, 9 December 2006
Final recommendations, 6 January 2007, taking account of the feedback received from
Theme 2
EUA 2006 Autumn Conference – Universities as catalysts in promoting regional
innovation (Brno, Czech Republic, 19-21 October 2006) General Report
The role of universities in regional innovation is a new topic focus for EUA. In tackling this
field, EUA seeks to build upon a key statement on “Excellence in Research and Innovation”
within the Glasgow Declaration, 3rd EUA Convention of European Higher Education
Institutions (April 2005): “Universities must exercise their own responsibilities for enhancing
research and innovation through the optimal use of resources and the development of
institutional research strategies. Their diverse profiles ensure that they are increasingly
engaged in the research and innovation process, working with different partners at the
regional, national, European and global level”. After debating strategies and funding of
research in European Universities (EUA Autumn 2005 Conference, Uppsala), and on how to
improve institutional governance and funding to secure their own future (EUA Spring 2006
Conference, Hamburg), the convening of the Brno Conference on Universities and Regional
Innovation was seen as the next important strategic event before the 4th Convention in Lisbon
(2007) where EUA members would consider how universities’ missions were developing in
the international context, linking regional, national and global activities.
The general objective of the Brno Conference was to provide a “showcase” of university good
practices in working at the regional level. In addition, EUA viewed the Brno Conference as an
important initiative in bringing the voice and experience of the universities into the debate on
the future development of regional policy, particularly given the new emphasis being placed
on science and technology investment. The conference was hosted by the six universities
based in Brno because this was an excellent example of a European region where strategic
cooperation between universities, regional authorities and business enterprises in research
and innovation was being developed productively.
Taking account of the above context, the objectives of the Brno Conference were:
Enable exchange of good practice drawn from different regional examples including
exchange of experience between different public and private partners;
Identify instruments and actions universities themselves can adopt and implement to
enhance their contribution to regional development;
Develop strategies for ensuring both local/regional focus and global outreach as
components of institutional mission;
Clarify the role of European policies and actions in promoting universities as key partners
in regional development. Identify synergies between the 7th Framework Programme (FP7)
activities and actions co-financed by the European Structural Funds and the
Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).
The conference was attended by 286 delegates. Presentations were given by 39
professionals deeply involved in regional innovation activities from 20 different countries.
Amongst them, 22 were from the academic world, 7 were practitioners from regional
authorities and industry, 7 were knowledge transfer body professionals and 3 represented the
European Commission Directorate-Generals: DG Research, DG Regional Policy and DG
Enterprise and Industry. A total of 19 case studies were presented for analysis showing good
practices in partnership across university-industry-government.
The Conference addressed the roles of universities as key drivers of innovation in their
regions, and considered the main factors in developing innovation in knowledge-based
regions and the further potential support offered by European Union policies. As a particular
feature of the Brno Conference, a new EUA study, “The Rise of Knowledge Regions”,
conducted by Reichert Consulting, was presented in a Round Table Session with
representatives from academia, ESIB, industry and DG Research. This report is now being
edited for publication shortly.
In the Opening Ceremony, EU Commissioner for Research Janez Potocnick emphasized the
benefits of partnership between university and businesses and the key role of universities in
producing knowledge and a skilled workforce. He encouraged universities to take a coherent
institutional approach in their research activities and maximize opportunities for linking up FP7
project and network funding with the new policy framework for the European Structural Funds,
which contribute to the Lisbon objectives.
Discussions in Plenary and Work Group sessions showed clearly the increasing importance of
the local and regional dimension of university activities. Sessions illustrated well that the
regional dimension encompasses all aspects of the university mission in education and
training, research and innovation, and in civil society. The inherent connection between the
national, European and global framework of the work of universities was also demonstrated.
Work Groups identified the following key factors in their themes:
Specific instruments and actions for regional innovation:
Clarity of institutional mission based on regional audit of strengths and weaknesses
Create adequate internal structures and management systems, particularly developing
career opportunities
Work with other actors at regional level
Promote the ‘science and society’ dimension
Promote the international dimension
Seek to complement neighbouring Higher Education Institutions
Regional clustering of networks of universities:
Building mutual trust and confidence is a crucial precondition for partnership.
Clusters should be built based on concrete objectives and clear responsibilities of every
University regional clusters and networks are an important “bottom-up” instrument for
fostering regional innovation.
The creation of a critical mass, of manageable size, with a single voice in the region
allows achieving objectives which would be impossible to reach individually.
Regional policy initiatives involving universities as stakeholders:
Interconnection with all the actors (government, university-research centres, industry and
Theme 2
Political support to undertake major actions for innovation in a region (attracting world
class work force, attracting investment, etc.).
Projects need to address also societal needs.
Use of EU Structural Funds where applicable.
Professional skill development for knowledge-based regions:
Bologna reforms used to further promote first cycle degrees relevant to the labour market.
For entrepreneurship to be fostered effective, it should be an integral part of the university
institutional strategies.
• Careers guidance services for students should be more developed and contribute to raise
awareness of opportunities for business start-up, encourage entrepreneurial behaviour of
In summary, the Conference highlighted both current good practices and new opportunities
for universities to maximize synergies between regional, national and European policy
initiatives. It identified also the new EU policy linkage between the 7th FP, the European
Structural Funds and actions relating to Innovation and Enterprise. The challenge was now
with universities to take up these opportunities in strengthening their regional capacity in
research and innovation. EUA will be working with its university membership to achieve these
Theme 2
EUA Statement on FP7 Rules of Participation proposals for support rates and cost
The European University Association (EUA) approaches this issue from the starting position
of its Glasgow Declaration resulting from the Third Convention of Higher Education
Institutions (April 2005) which identified the conditions for sustaining Europe’s Universities as
“Strong Universities for a Strong Europe”. On funding needs for strong institutions, it states
“Universities are working to diversify their funding streams. They are committed to exploring
combined public/private funding models and to launching a structural and evidence-based
discussion within EUA and its stakeholders. They will develop full economic cost models and
call on Governments to allocate funds accordingly”.
Universities recognise, therefore, their responsibility to address fully the definition and content
of “full economic research costs” in relation to the differing circumstances at the national and
regional level governing the financial support for university infrastructure and running costs,
and to develop their accounting systems accordingly. For its part, the European Commission
should also recognize that it has a key role to play in building-up university research
infrastructure (both through direct and indirect research costs funding) to enable them to
participate fully in achieving the European Research Area. EUA has welcomed, therefore, the
European Commission’s commitment to the principle of the reimbursement of both direct and
indirect eligible research costs in its proposal for the FP7 Rules of Participation.
EU Research Framework Programmes remain a central and important source of external
research funding for universities that has had a major positive impact in fostering collaborative
research across universities, research institutions, business enterprises, non-government
organizations, user groups and other societal stakeholders. EUA has welcomed the
opportunity, therefore, to be involved in the “Sounding Board” established by the European
Commission Research Directorate which has been concerned to bring forward proposals for
the “Simplification” of application, evaluation and contract procedures and the rules of
participation. EUA has supported the many improvements that have been proposed to these
procedures that seek to reduce administrative burdens on universities and SMEs.
On the issue of project costs re-imbursement, however, EUA has indicated through the
submissions of its views to the “Sounding Board” that the proposed elimination of the cost
reporting models used under FP6 would cause concern for many universities who had
adjusted their accounting practices to those models and were used to them. In particular,
those many universities that presently opt for the “additional costs model” hold serious
reservations that the level of research cost re-imbursement to be offered under the proposals
for FP7 Rules of Participation will not match that achieved under FP6.
EUA believes that there is a strong case for a “transition phase” in which universities
have sufficient time to develop further their accounting systems to be able to operate
fully within the proposed FP7 eligible research costs model. The most critical issue will
be the level of the flat rate for indirect research costs re-imbursement in the case of
those universities that are not yet able to identify fully such costs. Without such a
transition period, there is a real danger that university participation will decline in FP7.
The “transition phase” should take the following preferred form:
the fixing of the flat rate payment (on research and development activities for public
bodies and higher education institutions) for indirect research costs at 60% of total
direct costs.
Such a transition phase should be offered as an incentive to universities to develop
their accounting systems to be able to operate on full eligible cost principles by the
end of FP7.
EUA is willing to present working models based on FP project experience from several EU
countries to demonstrate that the above proposal would ensure an equitable and fair
transition phase for universities while at the same time providing them with incentives to
identify their full costs. EUA welcomes further dialogue on this issue and, in doing so, is
concerned particularly to foster the enhanced participation in FP7 of EU New Member States
universities who have not had extensive experience of FP cost re-imbursement models and
whose local conditions in terms of employment regulations and indirect research costs
support differ from Western European EU States.
EUA, 30 March 2006
Theme 2
EUA statement on the public consultation on the idea of establishing a European
Institute of Technology (EIT)
The present statement reflects views expressed through an open consultation with the
EUA membership (34 National Rectors’ Conferences, and over 700 individual
universities in 46 countries) and discussions at the EUA Council meeting held at the
University of Uppsala, Sweden on 20th October 2005. It takes account also of
statements issued by individual National Rectors’ Conferences and hence provides a
composite viewpoint on behalf of the EUA membership. For this reason, it has been
issued as a statement rather than through the completion of the EIT public
consultation questionnaire.
The European University Association (EUA) welcomes the public consultation on the
European Commission’s new proposal for an EIT and the EUA wishes to place its views in the
context of the overall debate on future European RTD policy and expenditure, in particular the
Seventh Research Framework Programme, FP7, (2007- 2013), on which EUA has been
actively involved as a “stakeholder” on behalf of the university sector.
The EUA has publicly stated its strong support for the European Commission’s proposed FP7
and budget, and this viewpoint was further endorsed at the recent Uppsala Conference on
“Research in Europe’s Universities: Strategies and Funding” in a dialogue with prominent
contributors from the European Commission, European Parliament, national research funding
agencies and private foundations. The EUA wishes to state clearly its view, therefore, that
any future development of the case for the establishment of an EIT must be built upon the
following two core conditions:
1. The establishment of a European Research Council, with an annual budget of about €1.5
billion as proposed in the European Commission’s FP7 plans, must be the first priority,
particularly given the substantial investment of time, energy and expertise being put into
its development from many quarters, and the broad consensus achieved on its goals and
objectives in creating the ERA as a globally competitive research and innovation
2. The potential future creation of an EIT must be built, therefore, with “fresh money”,
preferably with matching contributions from public and private funding sources.
On the assumption that the above two conditions were met, the introduction of an EIT into the
European RTD landscape could have a positive growth effect rather than that of negative
substitution. Furthermore, maximum added-value could be achieved through establishing an
EIT as a competitive “programme-driven” initiative operating through collaborating institutions
to whom an EIT “excellence/quality label” would be awarded on the basis of clearly defined
and independently developed criteria. An EIT initiative should allow, therefore, for the
involvement of a large number of universities on a competitive basis. Excellence can be best
reached through such competition, followed by outcome-based evaluations of these EIT
programme investments. The adoption of the US model of establishing an EIT as a single
institution would not be appropriate in the European context where many world class RTD
institutions already exist across EU member states.
Such EIT “programme-driven” collaborations should integrate teaching, research and
knowledge transfer functions. The term “knowledge transfer” rather than “technology transfer”
(the latter term is used in the EIT public consultation questionnaire) is emphasised here
because an innovative EIT should encompass the diversity of research expertise that is
needed to strengthen European competitiveness across the full range of business/economic
activities in a knowledge society. The specific mission of EIT collaborating institutions
(universities, research institutions and businesses) should be to offer new dynamic
environments for young researchers at doctoral and postdoctoral level to work within major
project teams to both open new career opportunities and provide needed expert skills in
competitive labour markets.
There are still many important details relating to the EIT that will need to be clearly articulated
before progressing further. In its future elaboration of the case for a European Institute of
Technology, the European Commission will need to explain the relationship and added-value
of an EIT not only with the new European Research Council, but also with other relevant
instruments of FP7, most particularly European Technology Platforms/Initiatives, and to
demonstrate how the new “simplification” procedures within the FP7 rules of participation
would be applied. It would also be both important and valuable to define clearly how the EIT
initiative would relate to the future activities of the Joint Research Centres (JRCs) and the
scope for synergy between them. In addition, the issue of the potential linkage between an
EIT initiative and the new Innovation and Competitiveness Programme remains to be
Finally, the EUA would wish to reiterate a common observation that the idea of launching a
European Institute of Technology is not proving to be a European issue on which any true
consensus can be found in the present climate of considerable uncertainty over European
Union level commitments to RTD investment. The European Commission needs to be aware
of the risk of raising high expectations through introducing new ideas which may be promising
and attractive to EU Member States and then have such ideas flounder through inadequate
funding. In particular, New Member States, with their reservoirs of young talented
researchers, see the potential of an EIT initiative to act as a catalyst to strengthen their RTD
Brussels, 15 November 2005
Theme 2
EUA policy position on the European Commission’s “Communication to the European
Council on the European Institute of Technology (EIT)”
The European University Association:
Underlines the importance of the rationale presented for the establishment of the EIT,
namely the need to help create a better environment in Europe for maximizing the benefits
from public and private investment in research and development.
Supports the overall objective set of creating a new space for creativity in research and
training in Europe that is uninhibited by restrictive national regulations and administrative
barriers and hence able to achieve greater potential in terms of fostering public private
partnerships, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Believes that the proposed legal construction for the “knowledge communities”, as
presently defined, is the wrong mechanism for reaching the goals behind the creation
of the EIT: knowledge communities of university departments, faculties and laboratories rather than universities as institutions – together with companies and research institutions,
and established as separate legal entities will not achieve the synergetic effects intended but
rather contribute to the institutional and intellectual fragmentation of Europe’s universities at a
time when strong, autonomous and accountable institutions are crucial if universities are to
play their role as the “locus where education, research and innovation meet”.
Considers that universities’ legitimate interests as Europe’s core institutions in the
“Knowledge Triangle” must be brought into the centre of the further development of
the concept, and that it is the responsibility of universities to engage firmly in the further
debate on the EIT that in a relatively short period has become a major EU policy priority.
EUA undertakes:
to reiterate the preconditions already set out in its earlier submission to the EIT
public consultation:
establishment of the European Research Council with an annual budget of €1.5 billion
securing fresh money outside of Category 1A, preferably with matching contributions
from public and private funding sources
to investigate solutions that:
strengthen existing institutions and avoid fragmentation of Europe’s universities
including in relation to the granting of degree awarding powers
demonstrate added value in relation to proposed FP7 instruments and hence clarify
where the “substantial core public funding” is coming from in relation to “other
competitive Community funding sources”
ensure that relevant national experiences of business enterprise collaboration are
taken into account
explore alternative, innovative and European approaches to achieving the overall
objectives identified in the EIT proposal if the legal and financial problems involved
with the current EU Communication cannot be resolved
to engage actively in the further EU discussions of the EIT Communication on
behalf of its university membership.
Recommends in parallel that the EC Communication on the Universities - under
discussion since the Hampton Court summit and addressing the key issues important for
maximising the potential of universities and reinforcing their position - is presented to the
European Council in the near future and urges maximum synergy between this process
and further work on the EIT, as a further means of reinforcing the position of Europe’s
universities rather than increasing the risk of fragmentation.
Adopted by the EUA Council (Hamburg, 30 March 2006)
Theme 3
An International Agenda for EUA
I. Introduction
EUA´s role in promoting the external dimension of the Bologna Process, and whether and to
what extent the association should enhance its international activities, have been addressed
briefly in the Action Plan 2006/7 and set out in more detail in a paper prepared by Pierre de
Maret and discussed by the Board in January 2006. The importance of the international
dimension of EUA’s work is also addressed in the vision and strategy document adopted by the
General Assembly in Hamburg (March 2006). The present paper draws on these documents
and discussions in proposing a strategy and concrete activities for the period 2007 to 2009 in the
context of the development of the European Higher Education Area. The document does not
seek to develop a strategy and/or actions in relation to international research cooperation.
II. Rationale
EUA needs an internationalisation strategy:
In view of the internationalisation process affecting universities all around the globe, and
thus also European universities;
to be able to contribute to the success and recognition of European higher education
to enhance its own international competence in order to maintain its ability to continue
providing expertise and support to members;
to follow up on the objectives set out in the vision and strategy document and on
commitments made in the Action Plan 2006/7 to present European HE developments and
achievements to international partners;
to ensure that the perspective of universities is sufficiently taken into account in the
development of the ‘External Dimension’ of the Bologna Process that will be discussed by
Ministers in London in 2007.
EUA will seek to engage in a dialogue on higher education policy development with partner
organizations in countries whose universities are not members of the association. Following the
pattern of its intra European activities, EUA’s international engagement aims at establishing an
interactive relation between higher education policy initiatives and concrete cooperation
activities which should contribute to better understanding and more productive, long-term
exchange and cooperation for the benefit of all parties and stakeholders involved.
III. Principles and priority activities
As part of its responsibilities towards members and in line with its own mission and ethical
values1 EUA will:
1. Promote dialogue, exchange and cooperation with partners based on the principle of equal
partnership, and considered as an opportunity for mutual learning for the benefit of all.
2. Offer partner organizations, i.e. university associations and university networks, in other
parts of the world the opportunity to engage in a dialogue on the changing role of the
university in society. Where relevant, EUA will join forces with European and international
Cf Glasgow Declaration:“Inter-institutional cooperation has been the hallmark of Europe’s
universities and is increasingly important in a globalised and competitive environment.
Universities acknowledge that European integration must be accompanied by strengthened
international cooperation based on a community of interests.
organizations to facilitate debate on the international dimension of higher education between
major stakeholder and donor institutions.
3. Will gradually internationalize some of its ongoing activities, e.g. EUA conferences, seminars
and workshops, and the Institutional Evaluation Programme, and beside targeted invitations
and increased international promotion of EUA events will make a particular effort to secure
funding for participants from less well developed countries.
4. Will also pursue, on a case by case basis, clearly defined joint initiatives and projects with
selected international partners. Activities will focus on higher education policy issues and
institutional development, where EUA has acquired a European, and also an international
reputation. Joint projects will tackle issues such as quality improvement, degree structures
and governance and autonomy that are of interest for universities both inside and outside
Europe. Where appropriate, EUA may also contribute to the capacity building of partner
organizations, drawing on existing efforts to support the development of rectors’ associations
in some European countries.
5. Will build upon the success of the Transatlantic Dialogue and other initiatives with NorthAmerican partners suggests as a model to be explored with partners elsewhere in the world,
notably in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean Region, while being aware that
different countries and regions may require different approaches. Regional Dialogue Groups
will be created to prepare the ground for more significant activities. These may be organised
during EUA conferences or at interregional events which would offer existing partners the
opportunity to meet and further develop their cooperation, thus triggering new and better
targeted initiatives.
6. Seek to make the most of existing collective knowledge and experience of its collective
national Rectors’ Conference members in this process as a means of generating the
indispensable basis for a policy dialogue with partners, and of developing strong arguments
for more political and financial support in the debate with governments and the EU
Commission. Joint discussions and information exchange on this topic could also contribute
to strengthening, collectively, the international outreach and activities of national Rectors
IV. Specific Actions for the period 2006-2009
The following activities are suggested for the period 2007-2009:
1. Further development of existing exchange and cooperation with North American partners, in
particular the continuation of the Transatlantic Dialogue on the basis of a careful assessment
of the outcomes of recent meetings and their interest for both parties.
2. Facilitation of “Regional Dialogue Meetings” with partners in other regions (Africa, Asia, Latin
America) as a service to our own members and to enhance international participation in EUA
annual conferences. A proposal along these lines has recently been submitted for funding to
the Erasmus Mundus programme. Should the project be accepted, the 2007 Lisbon
Convention would serve as an opportunity for announcing this initiative, and for first planning
and networking meetings. If the funding application is not successful EUA will nevertheless
continue with the external promotion of Bologna Process and seek to ensure an increased
participation of extra-European partners in EUA Conferences..
3. EUA has committed itself to following up the recently adopted EUA/CUIB Asturias
Declaration in a prompt and concerted manner with its partners. A Dialogue Group or
Cooperation Platform for Latin-America should be established this year and an activity
agenda defined taking account of the rationale and principles set out in the Declaration.
Theme 3
4. EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme has in the past already successfully assessed
institutions in other continents. These activities were not only beneficial to the institutions
involved but also enhanced the international expertise of the team members and
strengthened the Programme’s, and EUA’s international recognition. These activities should
be continued and cautiously expanded. The Steering Committee already has one
international member and the programme already uses, upon request, international experts
on the expert panels.
5. Internationalization activities necessarily have an information component and generate
specific information needs. The EUA Newsletter will step up its reporting on international
developments and issues of importance for specific regions. EUA’s key international
partners will be included in the association’s data base and mailing lists, and the EUA
website, currently under revision, will include an enlarged area for international activities and
V. Resourcing increased internationalisation
EUA’s international engagement seeks to enhance its intra-European activities, and should in no
way compromise their quality or volume. Nor is the intention to create a separate ‘international
department’ within EUA, but rather to ensure that in future the international dimension is taken
into account in the association’s different areas of activity, both at policy level and in developing
to members. However, any major increase in international engagement will require additional
human and financial resources.
The European Commission invests considerably in higher education cooperation with different
parts of the world and is thus an important donor. The present compartmentalization of EC
funding in different DGs, geographical eligibility regions, programmes and programme actions is
a major obstacle to launching cooperation initiatives with external partners. The EUA will
therefore approach the respective Commissioners in this regard. Ideally, a fund for international
higher education could be envisaged with a steering committee consisting of Government
agencies and stakeholder organizations. An additional source for funding could be private
foundations. It will be a priority for EUA to enter into a dialogue with major players in this area.
Adopted by Council on 30 June 2006
Theme 3
Background document: towards an external strategy for the Bologna Process – a summary
1. The Sorbonne Joint Declaration on Harmonisation of the Architecture of the European
Higher Education System (1998), signed by the Ministers of France, Germany, Italy and the
United Kingdom, suggests a common frame of reference, aimed at improving external
recognition and facilitating student mobility as well as employability, and suggests that “most
countries, not only within Europe, have become fully conscious of the need to foster such
evolution”. … International recognition of the first cycle degree as an appropriate level of
qualification is important for the success of this endeavour, in which we wish to make our
higher education schemes clear to all. … The international recognition and attractive
potential of our systems are directly related to their external and internal readabilities. … A
system, in which two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate, should be recognized for
international comparison and equivalence, seems to emerge.”
2. In the Bologna Declaration on the European space for higher education (1999), Ministers
from 23 European countries confirmed that “We must in particular look at the objective of
increasing the international competitiveness of the European system of higher education.
The vitality and efficiency of any civilisation can be measured by the appeal that its culture
has for other countries. We need to ensure that the European higher education system
acquires a world-wide degree of attraction equal to our extraordinary cultural and scientific
3. The Bologna Action lines (easily readable and comparable degrees, two cycles, system of
credits, mobility, promotion of European cooperation in QA, promotion of European
Dimensions in higher education) are mentioned as being of primary relevance in order to
establish the European area of higher education and to promote the European system of
higher education world-wide.
4. Both Declarations clearly demonstrate that the Bologna Process since its very beginning,
besides promoting reform of national higher education systems, and convergence at
European level, was also considered as being important in an international context and
meant to have an ‘external dimension’.
5. The Bergen Communiqué (2005) confirmed and further elaborated this approach by
including a section entitled “The attractiveness of the EHEA and cooperation with other parts
of the world”: “The EHEA must be open and should be attractive to other parts of the world.
Our contribution to achieving education for all should be based on the principle of
sustainable development and be in accordance with the ongoing international work on
developing guidelines for quality provision of cross-border higher education. We reiterate that
in international academic cooperation, academic values should prevail. We see the EHEA as
a partner of higher education systems in other regions of the world, stimulating balanced
student and staff exchange and cooperation between higher education institutions. We
underline the importance of intercultural understanding and respect. We look forward to
enhancing the understanding of the Bologna Process in other continents by sharing our
experiences of reform processes with neighbouring regions. We stress the need for dialogue
on issues of mutual interest. We see the need to identify partner regions and intensify the
exchange of ideas and experiences with those regions. We ask the Follow-up Group to
elaborate and agree on a strategy for the external dimension.
6. In 2006 the Bologna Follow-up Group established a Working Group that has been asked to
elaborate a Strategy for the External Dimension of the Bologna Process. EUA is a member
of this working group. A background report has been prepared by Professor Pavel Zgaga
( and
the conclusions of the group will feed into the preparation of the London Ministerial Meeting
in May 2007.
7. The working group has found, and this is analysed in Professor Zgaga’s report, that in the
past five years Bologna has already gained a significant degree of international attention and
response. This is understood as an indicator that the relevance of European reforms is not
limited to Europe and the Europeans. In addition, Bologna and the emerging EHEA are seen
to contribute to facilitating cooperation between European institutions and partners
worldwide, to attracting international students and scholars and to stimulating a worldwide
interest in the European reform model. In some places this has resulted in debates on the
adoption of Bologna or Bologna-like reforms as part of domestic higher education reform
processes or in considering further regional convergence processes in other parts of the
world. The Bologna Process has also stimulated considerable discussion between European
and international partners about the mutual recognition of qualifications.
8. For all these reasons the time is right for Europe to take advantage of this momentum and to
respond to this global interest by formulating a strategy which takes both competitiveness
and cooperation into account. Moreover, it is clear that the internal and external dimensions
of Bologna are closely interlinked, in other words building an external or international
strategy can only succeed if the internal reform process in Europe continues to move
forward. It is the implementation of the various structural reforms that are part of the Bologna
Process, and the creation of a European Higher Education Area with certain common
features shared by national systems of higher education across the continent, that is the key
to enhancing Europe’s attractiveness as a partner worldwide.
9. The Bologna working group has based its work on a set of guiding principles and core values
that already underpin the statements made in the Bergen Communiqué. These emphasise
the importance of Europe’s heritage, academic values and achievements as its higher
education systems seek to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century, also in a global
context. The working group concludes that to build a coherent international strategy for the
European Higher Education Area action is needed at European, national and institutional
level in relation to following five core policy areas:
Improving information on the EHEA to ensure that all relevant stakeholders outside Europe
know enough about the key elements of the Process. This should also include ways of
monitoring the international perception and assessment of higher education reform in
ii) Promoting European Higher Education to enhance its world-wide attractiveness and
competitiveness, with a particular emphasis on reducing barriers to study and research in
Europe and improving the legal and social framework conditions for international scholars
and students wishing to come to Europe;
iii) Strengthening cooperation based on partnership, covering highly developed, emerging and
developing countries alike, and bearing in mind that cooperation with institutions of higher
education in developing countries has been and must remain an especially important task for
the EHEA in order to build capacity in higher education;
iv) Intensifying policy dialogue on key elements of reform at all levels in order to exchange new
ideas and share good practice;
v) Furthering the recognition of qualifications; action should be taken to promote the recognition
of European qualifications in other parts of the world and vice versa, notably by promoting
understanding of European developments, and the use and compatibility of key European
tools in other parts of the world, and by strengthening cooperation between the ENIC and
NARIC Networks and similar networks in other regions.
Brussels, February 2007
Theme 3
Understanding Bologna in context
The external dimension
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Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
The External face of the Bologna
Process: The European Higher
Education Area in a global context
Peter Scott
This article argues that the global relevance of the Bologna process continues to grow as the
process develops. The article is divided into three main sections: an overview of global challenges
which the external projection of European higher education is designed to address; the responses of
higher education at European, national and institutional levels; and the Europe-based programmes,
i.e. national, inter-governmental and EU, which comprise Europe’s particular response – whether
formally included in the Bologna process or not.
Global challenges
Responses to globalisation
The European response
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The external dimension
a three-layered process
The Bologna process has been from the start an inside-outside process
– or, more accurately, a three-layered process. The three layers correspond to the major drivers of the process. The first layer is national,
because a substantial motive for Governments engaging in the Bologna process has been to promote national reform agendas. These
agendas have varied. In some of the original members of the European
Union in western and southern Europe the major goal has been to
make their higher education systems more flexible and responsive.
The autonomy (but, at the same time, the accountability) of universities have been increased in order to allow them to operate in more
entrepreneurial and cost-effective ways.
The national layer
The Bologna process has offered a convenient means of legitimation
by appearing to place these national reforms in a wider context. In the
case of more recent EU members from central and eastern Europe the
goal has been not only to reform their higher education systems,
which had become exceptionally rigid during the Communist era, but
also to re-connect them to the European mainstream. Again the Bologna process offered a convenient vehicle for promoting both goals.
The European layer
The second layer is European. Although Bologna has remained an
inter-governmental process, the European Commission and other
European institutions (such as the European University Association)
have become increasingly important players. One reason for this is
practical. The Commission has become a key enabler and implementer
of the Bologna process because it has been able to fund elements of
the various Bologna action lines, which overlap and build on preexisting Commission-sponsored programmes such as Erasmus,
Socrates and Tempus. But the main reason is that the Bologna process
has always been part of the wider European project – in several ways.
Bologna facilitates a
European labour market
1. By making different European higher education systems (and, in
particular, course structures and qualifications) more compatible,
the working of the free labour market within the EU has been facilitated. This is particularly so in the case of the market for highly
skilled professional workers, even if overall labour mobility within
the EU has remained limited. This free labour market was one of
the founding principles of the original European Economic Community;
Bologna strengthens the
links to science and
2. In a post-industrial ‘knowledge society’, the universities, like all
knowledge-intensive organisations, now play a key role in the generation of wealth. As a result, the links between higher education
reform, science, technology and innovation policies and economic
performance have become more crucial to the success of the European project. This helps to explain why at the 2003 Berlin intergovernmental meeting, third-cycle (or doctoral) studies were added
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Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
to the Bologna action lines and the synergies between the European
Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area
(ERA) were emphasised;
3. The Bologna process has an important contribution to make to the
better functioning of a European polity (and the development of
more cohesive European public opinion, in which university
graduates are especially significant as key opinion-formers), and of
a flourishing civil society rooted in the historical and cultural values of Europe.
Bologna promotes
European civil society
The third layer is global (Muche 2005). Two organisational characteristics of the Bologna process emphasise its global significance. First,
as has already been said, it is an inter-governmental process. Although
suspicions about the effectiveness of the Commission in the late 1990s
played some role in its initial exclusion, the direct engagement of
States also implied that the Bologna process was not conceived of
solely within the context of the development of the European Union –
or of other European institutions. Secondly, the signatory States are,
and never have, been coterminous with the member states of the
European Union. Its precursor, the Sorbonne Declaration, was signed
by only four – France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. At
each successive Bologna ministerial meeting the number of signatories has increased – but even at Bologna several non-EU members
were already signatories. Recently several Latin American governments have expressed the wish to engage with the Bologna process.
The European Higher Education Area, which was established following the Bologna Declaration, already shows signs of transcending
even the most expansive definitions of the geographical boundaries of
The global layer
However, there are two more substantive senses in which Bologna is
designed to have a global rather than simply European or national
1. The first is that it has led to the creation of a European Higher
Education Area which was conceived of from the start not simply
as an ‘internal zone’ within which various forms of cooperation
and harmonisation could take place, but also as an ‘external bloc’
which would enhance the attractiveness of European universities
and compete with other emerging blocs and the higher education
super-power, the United States. A number of Bologna action lines
were chosen for that reason. For example, a two-cycle course
structure (bachelors and masters stages) was chosen as the European standard, not because it was the most common (in practice,
before Bologna the two-cycle pattern was confined to the United
Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and some but not all Scandinavian countries), but because it was the nearest approximation to an
international standard – heavily influenced by the United States.
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Bologna action lines
chosen to enhance
external attractiveness
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The external dimension
This has led to some confusion because the UK two-cycle structure, the most prominent indigenous European example, is actually
very different from the US structure. Or, to take another example,
the development of a stronger ‘quality culture’ is also partly designed to improve the marketability of European higher education
outside Europe. The creation of the Erasmus Mundus programme
is directly linked to establishing a stronger global presence;
Increasing links between
Bologna process and
Lisbon agenda
2. The second is the developing links between the Bologna process
and the Lisbon Declaration agreed by Heads of Government which
states that Europe will aim to become the most advanced knowledge-based economic region in the world by 2010. Apart from increased investment in research and development, a number of
Europe-wide initiatives have been taken to help achieve this goal.
However, this increase is not easily achieved because, although
public investment in Research and Development in Europe
matches or even exceeds that in the United States, there continues
to be a substantial deficit in terms of private investment. These initiatives include the creation of a parallel European Research Area,
the establishment of a European Research Council and proposals to
establish a European Institute of Technology. Although none of
these initiatives is formally part of the Bologna process, they comprise a suite of national, inter-governmental and European Union
programmes that are designed to project European higher education onto the global plane – in terms of international education, scientific exchanges and research.
The focus of this article is on this third layer of the Bologna process –
the global. It is divided into three sections: (i) a global challenge
which the external projection of European higher education is designed to address; (ii) the responses of higher education (at various
levels – regional blocs such as the EHEA, national systems and individual institutions); and (iii) the Europe-based programmes, i.e. national, inter-governmental and EU, which comprise Europe’s particular response – whether formally included in the Bologna process or
The “knowledge
society” and
Global challenges
Two key ideas are prominent in nearly every account of contemporary
society. The first is that it is a ‘knowledge society’, in other words a
society in which knowledge itself has become a (perhaps the) primary
economic resource while retaining its more traditional forms as scientific and cultural capital. However the nature of this knowledge is not
always specified – expert skills and advanced technologies (science)
or simply the technical manipulation of data-sets (bar-codes)? The
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second key idea is globalisation, in other words the malleability of
time and space as a result of the revolution in information and communication technologies, the dominance of global brands and images,
world-wide divisions-of-labour and trans-continental flows of people
(whether as tourists, migrants – or students). But, once again, globalisation is an under-specified phenomenon. Is its economic impact
more significant than its cultural potential? Are its physical aspects
more significant than its virtual manifestations?
A third idea is derived from the first two. The combination of a
‘knowledge society’ and globalisation has undermined the (relatively)
stable geo-political structures of the 20th century – East (Communist)
and West (Capitalist), North (rich) and South (poor) – and replaced
them with more complex and less stable patterns in the 21st century –
shifting regional blocs (North America, South and East Asia and – of
course – Europe); the juxtaposition of ‘hot spots’ (economically dynamic and culturally sophisticated) and ‘cold spots’ (backward and
excluded) within countries and regions; and the spread of multicultural multi-ethnic societies (South comes to North). It is in this
context that the global projection of European higher education is
taking place.
Complex and shifting
geo-political structures
There are three dimensions of globalisation that are particularly relevant to the efforts of regional blocs, such as the EHEA (and the ERA),
to compete more successfully:
1. The first is student mobility. Estimates of the scale of student mobility are difficult to make because of problems of definition [see
below]. But the most reliable figures suggest that more than two
million students are mobile in the sense that they undertake all, or
part, of their studies outside their countries of origin. Estimates of
future mobility are even more difficult to make. Recently these estimates have been reduced from the very high totals and spectacular growth rates produced by IDP Australia in the late 1990s. But
there seems little doubt that the total number of mobile students
will continue to grow, although there are likely to be important
changes in the pattern of student mobility. However, it is worth
noting that domestic student growth rates still exceed those for international students in most countries. There are three main forms
of mobility:
Student mobility
a Intra-European mobility, typically for limited periods, mainly
through the Erasmus and Socrates programmes [and similar
forms of mobility within other regional blocs – and also subregional forms of mobility such as the Nord Plus programme in
the Nordic countries] (Kelo, Teichler and Wächter 2006);
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The external dimension
b Short-term mobility, often between developed countries, such as
the ‘Junior Year Abroad’ programmes run by many American
colleges and universities;
New “importing” and
“exporting” countries
c The recruitment of international students, traditionally from developing countries by universities in developed countries. Several of these forms of student mobility are rapidly evolving. For
example, the South-North ‘post-imperial’ patterns of international student recruitment are being challenged by new patterns
as ‘exporting’ countries aspire to become ‘importing’ countries,
a predictable response to the dynamics of the ‘knowledge society’ and more flexible forms of mobility, often with ‘virtual’
elements are becoming more common. Another important normative shift is from regarding student mobility in the context an
‘international community of scholars’, often with a strong development agenda, to the idea of a ‘global market in international education’ (as of other knowledge products).
Academic migration
2. The second is academic migration which can be seen as an extended form of student mobility (in particular among PhD students
and postdoctoral researchers). This is a well established historical
phenomenon. In the first half of the 20th century there was largescale academic emigration from Europe, notably Germany, to the
United States (although during the same period the European colonial powers, in particular France and Britain benefited from largescale academic immigration). In the past two decades south and
east Asia have become the major sources of academic migrants,
although China aspires to become a significant academic importer.
Until 2001 the most popular destination was the United States
where key parts of the university research system (and hightechnology industry) remain dependent on the import of highly
skilled scientific workers. Europe also has benefited substantially.
However, important shifts are under way. The competition for academic talent is increasing as the number of potential ‘importers’
continues to grow. The strengthening of a global knowledge-driven
economy inevitably produces a sharpening of competition for scientists. But the reshaping of time-space and the erosion of geopolitical structures as a result of globalisation have also encouraged
a counter-trend – towards the wider spatial distribution of research
and innovation (which is analogous to the development of worldwide divisions of labour). There is no longer the same need to collect researchers together in Cambridge (whether in England or
Networks, alliances
and partnerships
3. The third is the emergence of networks, alliances and partnerships.
These may be highly fluid but nevertheless have great creative potential. They take many forms. One is global coalitions of élite
universities which transcend their affiliations to regional blocs
(and, therefore, may undermine efforts to develop a more cohesive
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EHEA). These coalitions can be seen as a (weak?) response to the
emergence of multi-national knowledge-based companies, whether
in mass media or pharmaceuticals. Another form is institutional
partnerships – in teaching (perhaps by developing course structures
that allow students to progress from their countries of origin to host
countries, so-called two-plus-two programmes, or by one institution out-sourcing or franchising its programmes to another); or in
research (where such partnerships can facilitate and give organisational support to widely distributed research teams). But these
various forms tend to have two things in common. The first is a
tendency to de-institutionalisation because these networks tend to
be fluid and contingent; the second is a dependence on virtual
communication – or, more accurately, a tendency to combine the
virtual and the actual (or physical) in novel ways. Both reflect
characteristics of the ‘knowledge society’ and of globalisation.
These are the global challenges facing European higher education.
They are more complex than the crude dichotomy between ‘market’
and ‘state’ which is sometimes deployed (and is used to promote a
series of higher education policies, ranging from charging all students
tuition fees, through the aggressive recruitment of international students, to the commercialisation of research). It is important to emphasise that the new environment created by the ‘knowledge society’ and
globalisation is not inherently less congenial to the projection of
European higher education, or the promotion of the EHEA as part of
the Bologna process, than it is to the projection of other systems –
including the American.
Responses to globalisation
There have been two major responses to the challenges, and perceived
threats, posed by globalisation. The first has been characterised by
resistance to these threats; and the second by a desire to embrace, even
to exploit, the opportunities. The most visible threat appears to come
from the proposed extension of GATS – the WTO-led General
Agreement on Trade in Services – to cover higher education (Knight
2002). Four leading international associations of universities, including the European University Association, have expressed their shared
concerns about the impact of GATS (Association of Universities and
Colleges of Canada et al 2001). However, the extension of GATS to
include ‘services’ in higher education would not be a straightforward
process with easily predictable effects. Four separate modes of higher
education are potentially covered by GATS:
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Resistance to threats
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The four modes
potentially covered
The external dimension
1. Cross-border supply. The most obvious example is distance education, although course validation and quality assurance by foreign
institutions are also covered. But this presupposes a simple model
of a university in one country supplying distance education in another. If the supplier has local providers – or is itself a multinational entity – the position is more complicated.
2. Consumption abroad. This appears to cover the most familiar form
of internationalisation – international students who are studying
abroad. But, once again, the development of strategic partnerships
between in-country and out-of-country institutions to provide joint
courses leads to complex arrangements that cannot be easily be reduced to GATS-derived categories.
3. Commercial presence. This covers the establishment of branch
campuses by foreign universities – and may also include the franchising of courses to in-country institutions (although these might
be described as cross-border supply). However, in practice, most
branch campuses are joint ventures between foreign institutions
and in-country organisations.
4. The ‘presence of natural persons’. This covers the most traditional
form of internationalisation – the presence of teachers or researchers working abroad. It is the reverse of (2.). However, this category
includes a wide range of activities – from ‘academic tourism’
through programmatic exchanges to long-term (or permanent)
emigration/immigration. Each of these activities has very different
implications within the framework of GATS.
Raised issues
These four modes raise very different issues. In some modes (or, more
accurately, in some activities potentially included in these modes)
there may be few objections to adopting a free-market approach; in
others there are likely to be serious objections. For example, few Governments are likely to be willing to extend the same financial subsidies to what are, in essence, foreign institutions and/or commercial
organisations as they do to their own universities. There is also a particular concern in developing countries which want to protect their
institutions and their skill bases, against unregulated asset-stripping
and talent-stripping. One possible effect of the wholesale adoption of a
GATS regime could be that public institutions in developing countries
are crowded out of profitable markets, for example business schools,
and be left with the more expensive subjects such as engineering or
Concerns about
including higher
education in GATS
A number of concerns have been expressed about the inclusion of
higher education within the GATS framework. The first is an ideological objection – that, in principle, higher education is not, or should
be treated simply as a tradable commodity. It is argued that universities are not only highly significant institutions in terms of expressing
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national cultures and traditions, they are also key sources of investment in social and community development as well as being engines
of individual and democratic entitlement. The second concern is
closely related to the first – that the language, concepts and values of
economic liberalisation, such as is used by the WTO and GATS, are
antithetical to those of higher education. A third concern – an example
of the problems with language – is the ambiguity of GATS. For example, can higher education be included among the ‘services provided in
the exercise of governmental authority’ that are provided on a noncommercial basis and are not in competition with services from other
providers? This may have become more difficult to defend because
many universities are now hybrid institutions embracing both traditional and more entrepreneurial elements. Finally, there are concerns
that the dynamics of trade liberalisation encourage Governments to
offer trade-offs – and access to higher education ‘markets’ could become one of these trade-offs (especially because negotiations are being handled by non-Education Ministries, higher education leaders are
not being properly consulted in many countries and the longer-term
unintended consequences of liberalisation in higher education are
poorly understood).
In contrast, the second response to globalisation has been to seize the
opportunities created – and, in particular, to promote two distinct but
linked agendas.
Seizing the
1. The first has been to strengthen domestic efforts to reform higher
education. This has a number of aspects, some negative and positive. Among the former are the challenges posed by the retreat
from high-taxation welfare-state politics. The impact of globalisation has also sometimes been used to justify quasi-market reforms
within national higher education systems – such as the introduction
of tuition fees (and other ‘user payments’) and the promotion of a
more pronounced management culture and stronger executive
authority within universities. Among the latter, more positive aspects, has been the reduction of state and other forms of bureaucratic regulation – on the grounds that, in the academic domain as
well as the economic sphere, such regulation is no longer desirable,
or even possible, under conditions of globalisation.
Strengthening domestic
reform efforts
2. The second agenda has been to promote universities as powerful
assets in the struggle for competitive advantage within a global
knowledge society. As a result universities are urged to engage in a
range of new activities such as technology transfer and continuing
professional development. They are also regarded as key institutions through which local communities and regional (and even national) economies access global knowledge. More controversially
perhaps, the impact of globalisation has been used to justify the
differentiation of institutional missions – in particular, the need to
concentrate high-quality research within a limited range of univer-
Universities as
competitive advantages
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The external dimension
sities (on the pattern of American research universities). At the
same time, mass access to higher education, once justified in terms
of civic and democratic participation, is now being redefined in
terms of evolving skills agendas.
The European response
Four main forms of
The European response to these challenges, and the global projection
of European higher education, have taken four main forms: the indirect impact of the Bologna process on the flexibility and adaptability
of European universities; those elements within the process that are
directly relevant to the wider internationalisation of European systems; the extension of the Bologna process beyond the frontiers of
Europe; and the role played by Bologna in a wider suite of policy initiatives designed to enhance the global competitiveness of Europe.
Indirect effects of
Bologna on a university’s
international profile
The importance of the first, the indirect effects of the Bologna process
on the international profile of European universities, can be demonstrated by the suspicions that one of its tacit goals was to nudge European higher education closer to the ‘market’. Although these suspicions have abated as the various Bologna action-lines have been implemented, they still exist – as the Trends IV report revealed (Reichert
and Tauch 2005). There remain fears that the adoption of Bologna is a
prelude to the introduction of tuition fees, greater competition between
institutions and other ‘market’ policies. These fears are probably not
justified in the sense that Bologna is clearly not a deliberate conspiracy (although some Governments have used Bologna to accelerate and
legitimate national reforms). But it has had a significant impact in
three different ways.
Three significant forms
of impact
1. First, Bologna has been a succes d’éstime because there can be no
doubt it has raised the global profile of European higher education.
Not only has it been carefully monitored by Europe’s main ‘competitors’ (the United States, Australia and Canada), it has also made
European universities (especially non-UK universities) much more
visible in key markets such as China;
2. Secondly, Bologna has given European higher education valuable
experience of implementing reforms – and a scale that, for example, American and Australian systems have not experienced. That
experience alone has almost certainly increased the adaptability
and resilience of European universities which has important implications for their global competitiveness. In addition, of course,
many of the Bologna reforms have the direct effect of increasing
that global competitiveness [see below];
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3. Thirdly, the Bologna process has acted as a catalyst for new thinking in European higher education – not only (or even especially) on
the various Bologna action-lines but also on much wider issues not
formally part of that process. Although perhaps a coincidence,
Bologna has come at a time when all higher education systems are
facing profound change as a result not simply of the erosion/maturation of welfare states and rise of free-market globalisation (and other well recognised – and partially discounted? – phenomena) but also of more fundamental structural and cultural
changes such as demography, individualisation and desocialisation. Mass higher education was a distinctively American
response to 20th century agendas, which acquired wider significance and applicability; Europe – thanks to Bologna – may have
been given the opportunity to evolve responses to these 21st century
agendas, which may have the same global reach.
The second form taken by Europe’s response to global challenges, and
global projection of European higher education, is the direct relevance
of the Bologna action-lines. These perhaps can be best summarised as
a table [see below]. This table lists the major European objectives with
the action-lines – and also gives an indication of their wider global
significance (Bologna Declaration 1999, Prague Communiqué 2001,
Berlin Communiqué 2003, Bergen Communiqué 2005). This indicates
that many of the action-lines are at least as significant for the wider
projection of European universities as they are for the internal harmonisation of European higher education systems. Some of the actionlines – for example, the promotion of the EHEA – are primarily externally focused. But even apparently inwardly-focused action-lines,
such as the promotion of cooperation in quality assurance through the
European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
(ENQA), have important implications for European universities’ ability to compete more effectively in a global environment.
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Table A 4.1-1-1
The external dimension
Bologna action-lines
European goals
Global significance
Easily readable and comparable
diplomas / degrees
(+ diploma supplements)
Facilitates exchange
European qualifications compatible with global ‘standard’
Two-cycle degree structure
(i.e. Bachelors / Masters)
Promotes intra-European mobility
Improves working of labour market for highly-skilled
European courses conform to
global ‘standard’
Encourages curriculum reforms
European credit system
(based in ECTS)
Promotes mobility
Student mobility
(e.g. Socrates, Erasmus,
Increases mobility within Europe
Encourages curriculum reform &
more flexible delivery
Cooperation in quality assurance Increases public confidence
(via ENQA)
Promotes exchanges/partnerships
Improves quality
Establishing a European Higher
Education Area (EHEA)
ECTS similar to other credit
systems – so promotes partnerships between European and
other HEIs
Strengthens ‘internal market’ in
student mobility – so stimulates
wider mobility/international education
Increases global confidence in
European standards
Enables more international comparisons to be made
Encourages solidarity among
European HEIs
Develops European HE ‘brand’
Enlarges scope of Bologna process from traditional HE institutions
Extends scope/definition of
Europe HE to make it more
compatible with other postsecondary/tertiary systems
Lifelong Learning
Engages other educational
Involves business and other
community/cultural organisations
Involvement of HE institutions
and students
Widens support base for Bologna process from member states
and European Commission – to
include HE & student organisations
Strengthens European HE institutions/organisations – enabling
them to establish better dialogue
with wider world
Engages key stake-holders in
process, i.e. students
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Theme 3
Understanding Bologna in context
The external dimension
A 4.1-1
Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
European goals
Global significance
Promoting EHEA
(via Erasmus Mundus)
Strengthens/extends mobility
Complements/strengthens international student recruitment by
European HEIs
Promotes Bologna ‘brand'
Raises European HE’s profile
Doctoral studies included in
Bologna process
Extends scope of European
harmonisation into third-cycle
Synergy between EHEA and
European Research Area (ERA)
Links Bologna process and
Lisbon Declaration
Enhances quality/global competitiveness of European PhDs
and research
Renewed emphasis on links
between HE and research – and
on importance of research for
social/economic development
Social dimension
(widening access)
Underlines links between Bologna and Lisbon agendas
Strengthens competitiveness of
European HE
Highlights distinctiveness of
European HE, i.e. less marketdriven?
Emphasises need for EHEA to
be open – but academic values
should prevail
EHEA and the wider world
The third form taken by Europe’s response to global challenges is that
the Bologna process is no longer confined to Europe in a geographical
sense. It has already been argued that one of the unintended consequences of Bologna has been to raise the profile of European higher
education because of world-wide interest in the reform of European
systems. But there are three others ways in which the Bologna process
is no longer contained within the frontiers of Europe:
Extending Bologna
beyond Europe
1. The first is that there are now 45 signatories compared with the
original 29 signatories of the Bologna Declaration in 1999 and with
only four signatories of the Sorbonne Declaration the year before.
Part of the reason for the number of additional signatories is that
the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, the break-up of Yugoslavia and the division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic
and Slovakia has increased the potential number of participating
states within Europe. But part of the reason is also the extension of
the Bologna process to new members, the largest and most significant of which are the Russian Federation and Turkey. As a result
the EHEA now extends to the borders of Iran and Iraq and across
Eurasia to the Pacific;
An expanded EHEA
BH 1 00 06 07
A 4.1-1
Understanding Bologna in context
Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
The external dimension
alignment to Bologna
2. The second is that some countries outside Europe are planning to
align their higher education systems within the Bologna model. In
some cases – for example, some Francophone and Anglophone
countries in Africa – this is the result of their close links with
European countries engaged in the Bologna process, which have
encouraged them to conform. In other cases – for example, in Latin
America – the motive appears to have been to stimulate reform of
higher education (but also, perhaps, because Europe after Bologna
may represent an alternative model to the United States). This ‘penumbra’ influence of the Bologna process is likely to increase;
Erasmus Mundus –
globalising Bologna
3. The third is the development of the Erasmus Mundus programme,
which clearly demonstrates Europe’s desire to stimulate wider student mobility and to encourage international education – as a
whole rather than through the uncoordinated (and competitive?) efforts of individual European countries. The programme not only
provides scholarships to third-country students to take specially designed Masters’ courses (offered jointly by at least three universities in three different European countries); it also seeks to build
partnerships with third-country higher education institutions and to
enhance the attractiveness of European higher education. Although
numbers are small – 808 Erasmus Mundus students and 133 scholars – the significance of this programme is likely to grow (quantitatively as well as symbolically). The deliberate aim is to offer a
global programme – with a distinctively European flavour.
Bologna as part of
wider European
The fourth form taken by Europe’s response to the global challenges
facing higher education, and the global projection of European universities, is a shift from a standalone Bologna process that was inwardly
focused on national reform agendas and harmonisation at the European level, to the integration of Bologna action-lines with other
Europe-wide initiatives, notably in research and innovation, with
avowedly global ambitions. Although the ERA is not yet as well developed as the EHEA (and some associated projects, in particular the
proposal to establish a European Institute of Technology, remain controversial), the synergies between the two have been emphasised in
both the Berlin and Bergen communiqués. The ERA is promoting a
number of activities that overlap some of the Bologna action-lines.
For example, the ERA’s responsibilities for bench-marking and for
mobility and training cannot be developed in isolation from the wider
Bologna responsibilities for quality assurance and for doctoral programmes.
Bologna and the
European Research Area
This link between the EHEA and the ERA is important because the
original emphasis on harmonising course structures, qualifications and
quality assurance regimes encouraged some of the most researchintensive European universities to regard the Bologna process as a
secondary activity; the de facto incorporation of research in a wider
Bologna-Lisbon EHEA-ERA process has highlighted the potential
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 3
Understanding Bologna in context
The external dimension
A 4.1-1
Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
benefits of the European dimension in building global research
strengths. This could have two effects. The first is to act as a counterweight to global coalitions of world-class research universities, such
as Universitas 21. The second is that within these global coalitions
European universities may be encouraged to act more as a bloc.
The clearer articulation of Bologna with other European programmes
(and also some member-state initiatives) appears to having two results:
1. The existence of the EHEA has raised the profile of European universities in the international education market – and, therefore, has
provided an effective marketing tool (Huisman and van der Wende
2004, Huisman and van der Wende 2005). Although there has been
some reluctance in some of the larger member states (notably the
United Kingdom) to see other European countries as partners
rather than competitors, Europe’s overall performance has improved. It is gaining market-share while the United States (perhaps
only a temporary post 9/11 effect) and Australia (the effect of overselling – perhaps also a temporary phenomenon) have lost marketshare. There is some evidence that, as a result of the higher global
profile produced by Bologna, some aspects of what European
higher education has to offer are now being regarded as assets – a
more politically acceptable environment for some international
students, experience of studying in more than one country, even
studying in a multi-lingual environment;
Bologna raises the
international profile of
European universities
2. The distinctiveness of European higher education has also been
highlighted by the establishment of the EHEA. Some elements of
that distinctiveness are attractive to the global community – for example, the public character of most European systems and the emphasis on the social dimension. Others may be less immediately
attractive – for example, the clearer distinction between universities (and academic/scientific education) and other higher education
institutions (with a much stronger professional and vocational orientation). But the academic character of many European universities may be seen as an indicator of quality. Although its effect is
difficult to specify, the Bologna process has encouraged the reform
of European systems (and increased the flexibility of European
universities) while also highlighting these important and enduring
Bologna highlights
distinctive European
BH 1 00 06 07
A 4.1-1
Understanding Bologna in context
Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
The external dimension
From the start the Bologna process was not simply an intra-European
project. A major goal was to enhance the attraction, and so international competitiveness, of European higher education. The international dimension of the Bologna process has been progressively
strengthened in two ways. The first is that within the process itself, in
the journey from Bologna to Prague, from Prague to Berlin and from
Berlin to Bergen (and next from Bergen to London in 2007), new action-lines have been added that are more deliberately designed to enhance the profile, reputation and competitiveness of European universities. At the same time, greater emphasis has also been placed on the
synergies between the Bologna process and the Lisbon agenda. The
second is that the EHEA (and ERA) is now conceived of in relation
(collaborative or competitive) to other emerging higher education and
research blocs. The shape of higher education is no longer exclusively
patterned by the textures of different national systems and universities;
instead new affiliations are developing at regional, ‘area’ and global
levels. The Bologna process, in its broadest sense, is one of the most
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), American Council
on Education (ACE), European University Association (EUA) and Council for
Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (2001): Joint Declaration on Higher
Education and the General Agreement on Trade in Services. Geneva, September
Bologna Declaration (1999): The European Higher Education Area: Joint Declaration of the European Ministers of Education. Bologna: June 19, 1999
Bergen Communiqué (2005): The European Higher Education Area – Achieving
the Goals: Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible
for Higher Education. Bergen: May 19-20, 2005
Berlin Communiqué (2003): Realising the European Higher Education Area:
Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education.
Berlin: September 19, 2003
Huisman, Jeroen and Marijk van der Wende eds. (2004): On Cooperation and
Competition. National and European Policies for the Internationalisation of
Higher Education. Bonn: Lemmens
Huisman, Jeroen and Marijk van der Wende eds. (2005): On Cooperation and
Competition II. Institutional Responses to Internationalisation, Europeanisation
and Globalisation. Bonn: Lemmens
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 3
Understanding Bologna in context
The external dimension
A 4.1-1
Relating Bologna to other world regions: the external dimension
Kelo, Maria, Ulrich Teichler and Bernd Wächter eds. (2006): EURODATA –
Student mobility in European higher education. Bonn: Lemmens
Muche, Franziska ed. (2005): Opening up to the Wider World. The External
Dimension of the Bologna Process. Bonn: Lemmens
Knight, Jane (2002) Trade in Higher Education Services: The Implications of
GATS, London; The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education
[10] Prague Communiqué (2001): Towards the European Higher Education Area:
Communiqué of the Meeting of European Ministers in Charge of Higher Education. Prague: May 19, 2001
[11] Reichert, Sybille and Christian Tauch (2005): Trends IV: European Universities
Implementing Bologna. Brussels: European University Association
Professor Peter Scott is Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University in London and was former Pro-Vice
Chancellor and Professor of Education at the University of Leeds and Editor of 'The Times Higher
Education Supplement' (1976-92). He is the President of the Academic Cooperation Association, the
Brussels-based organisation that promotes international education, and a member of the board of
the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the agency which distributes funding to
universities and colleges in England. His most recent book (co-authored with Helga Nowotny and
Michael Gibbons) is 'Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty'
which has been translated into French and German.
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 4
Developing quality in the knowledge society:
activities of the European University Association
1. Introduction
QA processes developed during the industrial era in order to ensure the quality of
manufactured products. Although QA methodologies in higher education have been adapted
to the sector’s specific needs, they have nevertheless remained somewhat anchored in the
industrial age. When they examine educational or research products in a linear way, they fail
to capture the transactional nature of education and research. The current emphasis on
developing QA standards reflects this industrial approach.
With the emergence of the knowledge society, it may be opportune to question the
philosophical underpinnings of current QA methodologies. If knowledge creation and
dissemination are more fundamentally processes inscribed in relationships rather than
products, what kinds of QA procedures are needed to foster higher levels of knowledge?
2. The policy context
The combined requirements of creating a European knowledge society and promoting the
Bologna process constitute central challenges for Europe. In both cases, quality is seen as
essential to achieve these objectives.
A consensus has emerged among all key policy actors – including higher education institutions
– on the role that these institutions can and should play in these processes. This aspiration
implies vesting greater responsibilities in higher education institutions and should translate
into improved strategic leadership and management, in part through the development of an
institutional quality culture. It is in this way that higher education institutions will justify and
expand their autonomy and increase their credibility. Thus, the challenge for higher education
institutions is to take the lead in order to ensure that academic rather than bureaucratic
principles and values are respected and the processes correctly implemented.
3. Enhancing internal quality: EUA’s Quality Culture Project
It is clear that all higher education institutions, however good their teaching and research
activities, experience challenges that are shared across Europe. These challenges require
robust internal decision-making processes and a quality culture.
The EUA Quality Culture Project, funded by the Socrates Programme, is one of the responses
that the association devised to increase the capacity of universities to meet the accountability
needs and the heightened demands upon higher education to deliver more, with greater
levels of quality, despite diminishing resources.
The choice of title – “Quality Culture” – was deliberate. When speaking of quality, it is easy to
revert back to such managerial concepts as quality control, quality mechanisms, quality
management, etc. These concepts, however, are not neutral. They convey a technocratic and
top-down approach that will only backfire in academic settings. By definition, academics are
successful “knowledge professionals” who are committed to excellence and dislike being
Therefore, the term “culture” was chosen to convey a connotation of quality as a shared value
and a collective responsibility for all members of an institution, including students and
administrative staff.
Quality culture signals the need to ensure a grass-root adhesion, to develop a compact within
the academic community through effective community building, as well as a change in values,
attitude and behaviour within an institution.
It points to the importance of the rectoral team in creating appropriate conditions for the
academic community to deliver quality provision and to the attention that must be paid to
developing an agreed institutional profile, the identification to the institution of all of its
members, and clearly defined and agreed objectives and strategies to meet them.
4. Enhancing institutional strategic adaptability: the EUA Institutional Evaluation
The Institutional Evaluation Programme has been in operation for 12 years and has evaluated
about 150 institutions in 36 countries, mostly in Europe but also in Latin America and South
Africa. The evaluation examines the institution’s capacity to adapt to a changing environment,
its ability to develop and implement a strategic plan and the robustness of its internal quality
arrangements. The evaluations are characterised by a context-sensitive approach and avoid
recourse to universal criteria. The evaluations are conducted by European teams of senior
university leaders (rectors and vice rectors).
The major benefits that universities have derived from this programme are an increased
capacity for strategic thinking and internal quality culture – two essential attributes to deal
with the conflicting policy demands facing higher education, such as wider and broader
access, achieving excellence in research and teaching, serving the local and regional
community, implementing Bologna reforms and dealing with shrinking financial resources.
5. Creativity as an essential consideration for quality assurance: the EUA Creativity
The emphasis on creativity and innovation in higher education point to the importance of
adopting a “knowledge society” approach to academia, based on an understanding that
quality in higher education is essentially a reflection of the quality of relationships – between
students and teachers, among researchers, and between higher education institutions and
their external stakeholders – and that the role of HEIs leadership is to ensure that all the
preconditions are met within the institution to enhance these relationships.
In order to promote this notion, EUA launched in 2006 the Creativity Project, with funding
from the Socrates Programme. The aims of this project were to raise awareness of the need
to set the right conditions for enhancing creativity and to develop recommendations linked to
internal and external quality assurance processes.
Quality mechanisms set boundaries and indicate what is appreciated and valued in higher
education and what is not. They reflect value systems, which have to be monitored to ensure
that they mirror the institution’s ethical and strategic choices. While quality processes have
the potential to enhance creativity and innovation by assisting institutions in learning about
themselves and others in learning about the institution, they can also have highly detrimental
effects if they stress conformity over risk-taking, be oriented towards the past rather than the
future and develop into burdensome bureaucracies.
Project partners encouraged HEIs to explore the concept of a learning organisation – i.e.
organisations in which all members seek to reach common goals through collective and
individual learning and knowledge expansion – in their approaches to governance and
management. However, as important as structural elements are, they must be complemented
with ethical and cultural concerns in order to create an institutional milieu favourable to
creativity. The institutional leadership should embrace its overall responsibility and balance
top-down management with delegating specific decisions to staff and students as appropriate
to ensure wide ownership for change processes within the university community.
6. Promoting the development of a European dimension for quality assurance:
EUA’s involvement in the “E4”
European discussions about the development of a European dimension for quality assurance
started in September 2001 and are ongoing. The “E4 group”, which gathers representatives
from ENQA, ESIB, EUA and EURASHE, has developed the text on “European Standards and
Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area”, which was adopted
by ministers in Bergen.
These Standards and Guidelines should not be taken as a compliance list but as principles for
the internal and external quality processes.
The E4 is currently discussing the possibility of developing a register of QA agencies operating
in Europe. Inclusion in the register would be based on an external review of the agencies.
Theme 4
The register would enable institutions to select a QA agency, if this is possible within their
national legal framework. This possibility has been enshrined in a European Parliament and
Council Recommendation agreed in 2006.
7. The QA Forum: A shared understanding of quality
The fundamental role that institutions play in quality was acknowledged in the Berlin and
Bergen Communiqués. This acknowledgement should not be interpreted narrowly as leading
to a division of labour: with the QA community in charge of external accountability and HEIS
of internal quality. On the contrary, it should be based on a partnership between the HE and
QA communities – both at national and European level – based on a commitment to promote
vibrant academic community.
It is for this purpose that, at the initiative of EUA, the “E4” group co-organised the first
European QA Forum in November 2006, hosted by the Technical University in Munich, to
discuss internal quality processes in the light of the Bergen Communiqué. The next Forum will
be hosted by the University La Sapienza in Rome on 15 – 17 November 2007. It is anticipated
that this event will become an annual one and follow closely European policy developments.
Theme 4
EUA policy position on quality
1. Background
Since its creation, EUA has been very active in the field of quality, both in contributing to
policy development at European level and to the development of quality cultures in
universities through projects and other types of activities. The following outlines the position
that EUA adopted since its foundation in 2001.
2. Starting points
EUA’s work in the quality assurance area has been carried out while taking into consideration
a number of requirements.
First, because of its European scope, EUA has been intensely aware of the diversity of the
higher education sector – diversity of institutional missions and profiles, legal frameworks, etc.
This implies that it is difficult to come to a one dimensional definition of quality for the
purposes of quality assurance. Quality is contextual: its definition must take into account the
specific institution and the national context of which it is part.
Second, Europe has the legitimate ambition to strengthen its higher education institutions,
which are seen as central to the development of European society. If the goal is to ensure the
vitality and creativity of research and education, this aspiration has a wide range of
implications, particularly on institutional governance and quality assurance.
Third, EUA’s concrete experience in quality, through the Quality Culture Project and the
Institutional Evaluation Programme, has shown the inextricable link between institutional
autonomy and accountability: the greater the institutional autonomy, the more robust are the
internal quality processes and vice versa.
3. EUA’s position on quality
EUA’s position has been endorsed repeatedly by its members through the three bi- annual
conventions held so far (Salamanca in 2001, Graz in 2003 and Glasgow in 2005).
3.1 Internal quality processes must be characterised by the following principles:
Promote shared values and attitudes about quality rather than simply managerial
processes and ensure that the internal evaluation processes develop professional
attitudes and competence thus fostering creativity and innovation.
Be fit for their purposes. While there is no single way to set up these processes, the cycles
and scope of internal evaluations should be linked in a pragmatic and cost-effective way
and attention should be paid to the global picture that emerges through the internal
evaluation of the different activities.
The role of leadership consists in communicating the need for these processes, framing
them in consultation with the campus community – students, alumni, academic and
administrative staff – and using their results in the strategic cycle.
Ensure central data collection and analysis to measure institutional performance.
Quality units are now standard in many institutions. It is important to ensure their
appropriate leadership and staffing in order to avoid over-bureaucratisation.
The link between autonomy and internal quality is fundamental: the greater the
institutional autonomy, the more robust are the internal quality processes. In this context,
the national conferences of rectors must play an important role in negotiating with the
national authorities and QA agencies the scope of the internal and external evaluations
and of institutional autonomy.
3.2 The principles for external QA processes that should avoid undue bureaucratic processes
Seek a balance between autonomy and accountability by promoting institutional audits
based on an evaluation of internal quality processes
A fitness for purpose approach, culturally adapted to countries and institutions
An improvement orientation that stresses the self-evaluation phase and confidentiality of
parts of the process
4. European Discussions
EUA has been an active contributor to the European quality debate since the Prague meeting
in 2001, which marked the creation of the E4 Group (ENQA, ESIB, EUA and EURASHE). This
group sent to the Bergen ministerial meeting the text entitled “European Standards and
Guidelines for Quality Assurance”.
In the Bergen Communiqué, the Ministers asked ENQA together with EUA, EURASHE and
ESIB to prepare a report exploring the practicalities of the European Register of QA agencies.
The EUA proposals are as follows:
The Register should be an unbiased, objective and reliable information tool about the
quality of quality assurance agencies.
The Register should be exclusive, that is, restricted to applicants that comply substantially
with the criteria based on the European Standards and Guidelines.
The Register Committee would use the results of the ENQA or nationally organised
reviews of QA agencies, presuming they meet certain criteria (objective, unbiased, all
partners in the evaluation teams) and provide all the necessary information. If information
is missing, the Register Committee would reserve the right to ask for additional
The Register Committee should include all major stakeholders (institutions, students,
agencies, governments) because only a system of checks and balances would ensure
trust and transparency.
The operational cost and the secretariat supporting the Register will be light and minimal.
In conclusion, EUA supports the Register because it will be a reliable and useful information
tool for the higher education institutions, provided it is managed in partnership with the higher
education sector and other stakeholders.
Theme 4
Introducing Bologna objectives and tools
European frameworks for quality
B 4.3-1
Improving quality
European Frameworks for Quality
Andrée Sursock
This paper examines the articulation between the Bologna process and the Lisbon objectives. It
argues, based on the experience of the European University Association in the field of quality, that
in order to bring coherence to the objectives of the two policies, external quality assurance must
examine the capacity of higher education institutions to change and the robustness of their internal
quality arrangements.
Bologna and quality: a brief historical account
Articulating Bologna and Lisbon with the quality debate
European challenges: Is convergence the only way?
The convergence of quality assurance procedures
The convergence of standards for higher education
Limitations of evaluation in higher education
The challenge for higher education institutions
The challenge for QA agencies: grasping the quality of relationships
The challenges for all actors: developing trust and legitimacy
BH 1 00 06 07
B 4.3-1
Introducing Bologna objectives and tools
Improving quality
European frameworks for quality
Quality as a key factor
for success
Bologna and quality: a brief historical
Quality was slow to emerge as a key factor for the success of the Bologna process and received only cursory mention in the original Bologna Declaration. However, as ministers met every two years to take
stock of progress and define mid-term objectives (Prague in 2001,
Berlin in 2003 and Bergen in 2005), the issue of quality kept growing
in importance, until it rose to the fore of the ministerial agenda and
became the first policy objective of the Berlin Communiqué.
The Berlin Communiqué recognised the role of HEIs in promoting
quality (this constitutes the first official acknowledgement in the context of the Bologna process) and invited the QA and higher education
communities to develop an agreed set of standards, procedures and
guidelines on quality assurance and to explore the possibility of a
“peer-review” of QA agencies.
This work was carried out by a group that includes representatives
from ENQA, ESIB, EUA and EURASHE. The group agreed to send
to the ministers in Bergen a document that detailed two sets of standards and guidelines for quality assurance: one that applies to higher
education institutions and one to QA agencies. The text proposed further exploration of the possibility of setting up a European Register
for QA agencies.1
Broad policy context
The purpose of this paper is not to summarise or analyse this official
document but rather to set it in its broader policy context, to examine
specifically what impact the Lisbon objectives should have on the
quality debate that is taking place as part of the Bologna process, and
to draw some conclusions on how this document should be used.
Articulating Bologna and Lisbon with the
quality debate
The combined requirements of creating a European knowledge society
(Lisbon objectives) and promoting the Bologna convergence process
constitute central challenges for Europe. Both require that European
higher education meet conflicting needs and pressures. These include:
globalisation in a post-industrial world and the associated demands for
greater access to higher education; a heightened need for European co1
Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher
Education Area, Bergen, May 2005,
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 4
Introducing Bologna objectives and tools
European frameworks for quality
B 4.3-1
Improving quality
operation in a context of greater international competition; and an
increased tension among the different missions of universities – research, teaching and service to society.
The Lisbon agenda has linked up with the Bologna process in several
ways. It reinforces the need to examine doctoral education and young
researchers’ careers. It gives greater emphasis to students’ employability. It has led to the somewhat uncomfortable co-existence of two
agendas: increasing social cohesion (i.e., the social dimension of the
Bologna process, which includes looking at access, student support,
etc.); and increasing competition in order to meet the Lisbon objectives. The conflation of the two agendas holds the danger of looking
narrowly at education and research as tools to achieve economic
goals: this can constitute a missed opportunity for redefining them for
the 21st century.
Lisbon and Bologna:
links and tensions
To complete this broad-brush picture, while higher education is now
seen as central to achieve the Lisbon objectives, the sector is experiencing diminishing or stagnating state support even though the cost
of both education and research is rising and institutional autonomy
(including the autonomy to raise own funds) is still constrained in
many European countries.
The challenge at European level, whether concerning the quality debate or other key Bologna issues, is to create a European research and
education area that combines diversity across – and within – forty five
countries while adhering to unifying principles and values.
… at European level
The challenge for higher education institutions is to take on a lead role
for this convergence in order to ensure that academic (rather than bureaucratic) principles and values are respected and the process is correctly implemented.
… for institutions
The challenge for QA agencies is to locate their national procedures
within an understanding of the new higher education landscape and
the ambitious European policy objectives that have been set for it.
… for QA agencies
The challenge for all actors – institutions, students, agencies and governments – is to grasp the need to define efficiently and reasonably the
scope and role that they each need to play in order to meet the Bologna and Lisbon objectives.
BH 1 00 06 07
B 4.3-1
Introducing Bologna objectives and tools
Improving quality
European frameworks for quality
European challenges: is convergence the
only way?
3.1 The convergence of quality assurance
The Bologna process started out with the need to develop a common
European architecture for degree structures in order to improve transparency and understanding of higher education qualifications, institutions and systems across national borders. The Lisbon agenda aspired
to making Europe the most competitive knowledge economy in the
Different policy goals
Once discussions started, it appeared that – as far as quality policy is
concerned – the Bologna and Lisbon objectives could be seen as contradictory. Some discussions about how to realise the Lisbon agenda
have concluded that increased research concentration is needed and
that this, in turn, would lead to greater institutional diversity and that
innovation and creativity would be important preconditions for
achieving the objectives. In contrast, some of the discussions about
Bologna seem to indicate that greater convergence – beyond a common architecture of degrees and the use of certain tools such as the
diploma supplement and ECTS – is the way to achieve trust and transparency. Can both policy goals be reconciled through an appropriate
QA framework?
Diverse QA procedures
At the moment, Europe is characterised by a range of quality assurance
procedures, which can be categorised along a few key contrasting lines:
• Evaluation as “fitness for purpose” or accreditation against agreed
• Focus on institution or programmes
• Focus on outcomes, processes or inputs
As such, this range of diversity is not exceptional and should not be
seen as a major impediment for QA Agency A to accept the results of
QA Agency B. Nevertheless, European discussions have shown that
some actors believe that the only way to achieve mobility is to ensure
a similarity in approaches. Is this type of convergence feasible or desirable?
Is QA convergence
The assumption underlying the “convergence approach” is that trust in
and transparency of higher education can be gained only if the QA
agencies examine very carefully how they differ in terms of their
methodology and procedures and make these converge. These differ-
BH 1 00 06 07
Theme 4
Introducing Bologna objectives and tools
European frameworks for quality
B 4.3-1
Improving quality
ences, however, tend to be very minute among ENQA members: the
fact, for instance, that some might use representatives of the economic
sector on their panels and others do not.
The important point, however, is that all ENQA members are required
to abide by the same principles in order to ensure their independence
and objectivity and to provide evidence-based judgements.
Moreover, it is would be a hopeless task to invite all QA agencies to
converge their procedures completely because these are set up to respond to national objectives, which vary a great deal across the European continent.
3.2 The convergence of standards for higher
In parallel, a “convergence approach” is also advocated by some actors who wish to see a shared set of standards applied to higher education.
Applying a shared set
of standards
Given the multiple and contradictory pressures faced by higher education, however, it is important to articulate the Bologna Process with
the Lisbon objectives. In this perspective, it is difficult to see how a
broad use of “standards” that would be applied to higher education
institutions would allow Europe to reach the objectives of becoming
the most competitive knowledge society in the world.
This ambitious objective requires a diverse and innovative HE sector
across the continent as the current national debates show (e.g., France,
Germany, Ireland, UK). In risking stifling diversity and innovation in
the sector, standards would constitute a threat to reaching the Lisbon
Standards risk stifling
diversity and innovation
The European University Association (EUA) has evaluated close to
150 universities in 36 different countries as part of its Institutional
Evaluation Programme.2 This eleven-year experience that is unmatched anywhere in Europe and the world, combined with the outcomes of the EUA’s Quality Culture project3, which involved 134
institutions, points to the fact that it is impossible to reach agreement
on very specific quality standards when dealing with a diversity of
institutions across a whole continent.
For more information on the Institutional Evaluation programme, cf.
The Quality Culture Project reports are available on
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Searching for standards
and quality
European frameworks for quality
We could search for a set of standards which could assure the quality
of all but we must be cognisant of the limitations of this exercise.
Standards can stifle diversity and innovation and convey a false positivist assurance that we know what quality is and how to identify it.
While we do recognise quality – intuitively – each of us does so in a
different way, rooted as we are in our specific circumstances. Indeed,
since antiquity, philosophers have admitted that the search for truth is
difficult. This has been echoed by anthropologists who have discussed
at length the subjective limitation of their fieldwork methodology.
What we see is what we believe we see, says the philosopher; what we
see is determined by who we are, says the anthropologist.
Therefore, we must admit that the search for quality will require a
certain degree of humility and error, lest we stand accused of flirting
with the danger of “abolishing the distinction between wishful thinking and accuracy”.4 As the Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn
noted: “Truth is the kind of error without which a certain species of
life could not live”.5
Two main conditions
It is possible, however, to agree on a range of standards as long as two
main conditions are met:
• Define standards as principles or reference points, i.e., as guides
that require local interpretation and adaptation.
• See any set of standards (or principles) as an evolutionary framework that requires adaptation to a changing environment. In other
words, standards are guides for today – not necessarily for tomorrow.
Thus, the “European Standards and Guidelines” agreed in Bergen
should not be seen as a prescriptive framework but as a living document that requires interpretation and further development.
3.3 Limitations of evaluation in higher education
It is all the more important to keep in mind the limitations of standards
because higher education institutions are characterised by a diffused
and devolved power structure, complex and somewhat ambiguous
goals, and outcomes that are difficult to measure or quantify.
Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed, Simon Blackburn, Allen Lane, 2005.
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The exhaustive research conducted by Ernest T. Pascarella and Patrick
T. Terenzini on how higher education affects students concludes that a
vast range of factors influence learning 6:
Learning is influenced by
a vast range of factors
“The research consistently shows that learning is bound neither by
time nor by place, that it occurs continuously in a variety of locations,
often unpredictably, and that it is maximised when both the activities
and outcomes have meaning for the learner. Finally, learning is not a
solitary activity, but is more likely to be relational and social, taking
place when students engage in a task with others…”
This confirms the astute observation of Martin Trow, distinguished
professor of education at the University of California, who noted that
“The real and substantial effects of the experience of higher education
extend over the whole lifetime of graduates, and are inextricably entwined with other forces and experiences beyond the walls and the
reach of universities” (Trow 1996).
Martin Trow recommends that evaluations focus on the capacity for
higher education institutions to change: “How an institution responds
to change points to deep-seated qualities of the unit which must also
show up in its research and teaching” (Trow 1994).7
Evaluations should
focus on capacity
to change
These observations suggest that:
• Evaluation approaches that are based on standards, quantitative
methods, sets of criteria, or checklists will not improve quality
meaningfully and may not even control it significantly because
they will not capture the complexity of the educational enterprise.
• Autonomy is a precondition for a capacity to respond to change.
Thus, university autonomy requires that each institution decides on
its standards in the context of its mission and goals as the following
graph illustrates8:
Pascarella E.T and PT Terenzini, 2005, How College Affects Students –
Volume 2: A Third Decade of Research, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Trow Martin, 1994, “Academic reviews and the culture of excellence, 1994,
reprinted in Quality Management in Higher Education Institutions, Lemma
Publisher, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1999. Trow, Martin, 1996, “Trust, Markets
and Accountability in Higher Education: A Comprehensive Perspective”, in
SRHE, The 30 Anniversary seminars.
Frans van Vught, presentation at the EUA Seminar on the QA lines of the
Berlin Communiqué, University of Zurich, 26 February 2004.
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Fig. B 4.3-1-1
European frameworks for quality
University autonomy: mission and goals
Roles and
The challenge for higher education
The combined requirements of creating a European knowledge society
and promoting the Bologna process constitute central challenges for
Europe. In both cases, quality is seen as essential to achieve these
objectives. A consensus has emerged among all key policy actors –
including higher education institutions – on the role that these institutions can and should play in these processes. This aspiration implies
vesting greater responsibilities in higher education institutions and
should translate into improved strategic leadership and management,
in part through the development of an internal quality culture. It is in
this way that higher education institutions will justify and expand their
autonomy and increase their credibility. Thus, the challenge for higher
education institutions is to take the lead in order to ensure that academic rather than bureaucratic principles and values are respected and
the processes are correctly implemented.
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In this context, how can an institution develop and embed a quality
culture? What are the lessons learned in the EUA’s Quality Culture
Project? The project formed networks that included about 134 institutions from over 36 countries and drew the following conclusions9:
Lessons learned
In terms of culture, it is important to promote shared values and attitudes – rather than simply managerial processes. This implies building
a university community by strengthening the staff’s identification with
the institution and introducing staff development schemes in order to
ensure that internal quality processes are an opportunity to improve
rather than punish.
Shared values and
There is no single way of developing internal quality processes: the
specific internal and external environments of each institution must be
taken into account. Each institution should organise its internal review
to fit its own objectives and be coherent with its own academic and
organisational values. At the same time, each must balance these
against national external accountability requirements.
In terms of processes, there should be no bureaucratic, uniform or
mechanistic internal quality processes but processes adapted to specific activities. The cycles and scope of internal evaluations should be
linked, in a pragmatic and cost-effective way, to the strategic and the
external evaluation cycles of each institution. Attention should be paid
to the global picture that emerges through the internal evaluation of
the different components, and the internal processes must promote
creativity and innovation.
Processes adapted to
specific activities
In terms of actors, it is important to engage students and alumni, academic and administrative staff. The role of leadership consists in
communicating the need for these processes, framing them in consultation with the campus community, and using their results in the strategic cycle.
In terms of data, institutions must ensure central data collection and
analysis to measure institutional performance.
In terms of structure, quality units are now standard in many institutions. It is important to rotate their leadership and ensure their academic staffing to avoid over-bureaucratisation.
EUA, Quality Culture Project reports (2004, 2005, 2006) http://www.eua.
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Quality and autonomy
are linked
European frameworks for quality
In terms of inter-institutional co-operation, it is important to emphasise the fundamental link between autonomy and internal quality. The
EUA Trends IV report10 confirmed the findings of the Quality Culture
Project: the greater the institutional autonomy, the more robust are the
internal quality processes. Therefore, national conferences of rectors
must play an important role in negotiating with national authorities
and QA agencies the scope of internal and external evaluation processes and of institutional autonomy.
The challenge for QA agencies: grasping
the quality of relationships
QA methodologies still
anchored in the
industrial age
QA processes developed during the industrial era in order to ensure
the quality of manufactured products. Although QA methodologies in
higher education have been adapted to the sector’s specific needs, they
have nevertheless remained somewhat anchored in the industrial age.
When they examine educational or research products in a linear way,
they fail to capture the transactional nature of education and research.
The current emphasis on developing QA standards reflects this industrial approach. In other words, with the emergence of the knowledge
society, it may be opportune to question the philosophical underpinnings of current QA methodologies. If knowledge creation and dissemination are processes more fundamentally inscribed in relationships rather than products, what kinds of QA procedures are needed to
foster higher levels of knowledge?
Quality in HE is
essentially about
The answer lies in grasping the need to adopt a “knowledge society”
approach to evaluating higher education, based on an understanding
that higher education quality is essentially a reflection of the quality of
relationships – between students and teachers, among students and
among researchers – and that the role of higher education leaders is to
ensure that all the preconditions are met within the institution to enhance these relationships.
In this context, David Dill notes that “We speak easily and often about
higher education as a public rather than private good. But our efforts
to improve education within the university often adopt teaching as a
private activity.” He adds that “the benefits from teaching are best
understood not as a good provided privately and separately by indi-
EUA, Trends IV: European Universities Implementing Bologna, by Sybille
Reichert and Christian Tauch, (2005)
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vidual teachers, but as a communal or collective good.” This can only
be done through effective “communities of learning”.11
In terms of QA processes, this means adhering to the following requirements:
QA process
• To focus external quality assurance procedures on the institutions’
capacity to build a community of learning.
• To examine the institutions’ capacity to change and adapt to a
changing environment through an evaluation of its decisionmaking processes, internal quality culture and organisational
structures and assessing how these support academic vitality, innovation and a strategic vision. Instead of being focused on the past,
as most QA processes do, an examination of the capacity to
change, allows institutions to be forward looking and more flexible. It is in this way that we can promote and ensure quality across
Assess capacity
to change
• To assess an institution in the context of its strategic goals and
specific profile rather than apply mechanically the same set of
standards to any and all institutions. This would ensure that we
promote diversity and innovative practices: both are fundamental
to the success of students and of European society as a whole.
Assess in context
The challenges for all actors: developing
trust and legitimacy
We return now to the issue of convergence of QA practices that was
alluded to in Section 3.1. A recent ENQA study – the Quality Convergence Study (QCS)12 – explored the possibilities for convergence of
national QA systems through the adoption of a common set of goals
and reference points. Six national QA agencies took part in the study:
France, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the UK.
The main conclusion reached by this study was that the diversity of
national QA procedures is linked to national priorities and that instead
of looking for convergence we must look for ways to increase trust.
The study suggests that:
European QA diversity
based on national
Dill David, Are Public Research Universities Effective Communities of Learning?: The Collective Action Dilemma of Assuring Academic Standards, 2005,
Quality Convergence Study, F. Crozier, B. Curvale and F. Hénard, 2005,
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“In order to function effectively, higher education systems require all
actors to have confidence in the way the processes within that system
are carried out. The complexity of such systems means that confidence cannot rely solely on a complete knowledge and understanding
of them. Crucially the QCS project demonstrated that, beyond the
formal means for guaranteeing quality or a level of quality, it is up to
those who are involved in the systems to provide means of providing
All actors must agree on
This is a very important conclusion and an essential precondition for
the legitimacy of quality assurance processes: all actors within a system must agree that the procedures are sound and do achieve the intended outcomes.
A second implication that can be derived – albeit indirectly – from this
study is that trust cannot be mediated solely by QA or accreditation
procedures. They also rely on the direct knowledge and trust that an
institution has of its potential partners’ own internal quality processes.
Internal quality: the
basis for partnerships
The role and responsibility of higher education institutions in this
process becomes crucial. Internal quality processes must be thought of
as important not only for public accountability purposes or as contributions to strengthen a given institution but also as a basis for establishing partnerships with other institutions.
In addition, as in the case of external quality processes, the internal
processes must also gain the support of multiple actors within a national system, including the support of the QA agencies.
Thus, solutions that rely on one single type of actors using similar
instruments or standards or signing agreements will not lead us very
far because they will not address the basic issue of increasing the legitimacy of one set of actors in the eyes of another set of actors.
There are two final observations that need to be made regarding the
current status of the Bologna process:
Absolute convergence
is not possible
Whether we are talking of a long-term vision or, more narrowly, of
instruments, we should not forget that Bologna includes now 45
widely differing countries. Therefore, the risk of failure in creating
the European Higher Education Area is great. We must refocus our
thinking and set transparency (rather than commonality) as our primary goal. In this respect, we must remember that the Lisbon Recognition Convention speaks of comparability rather than similarity.
All the discussions that led to the Lisbon Convention examined the
possibility of commonality and equivalency: these were dropped because they would have undermined any future agreement.
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The focus on instruments such as QA, qualifications frameworks,
learning outcomes, employability, etc. may lead us to overlook the
need to develop a broader vision for our higher education systems
and focus on the principles and the values upon which they must be
HE vision must be based
on principles and values
At the European level, these values can be summarised in two principles as far as QA instruments are concerned:
be forward looking,
respect the diversity of institutional missions.
This will ensure that we promote a diversified higher education system that addresses multiple needs: different types of research, service
to society in widely different environments, and access to the greater
number of students. Quality assurance systems need to be flexible and
embrace this diversity in order to ensure that higher education serves
effectively society. It is in this light that the document adopted in
Bergen on standards and guidelines should be understood: it is a living
document, open to interpretation along the two vectors of time and
Diversified HE systems
addressing multiple
In order to press forward this agenda, EUA has launched in 2006 the
Creativity in Higher Education Project. This project aims to identify a
range of conditions, success factors and good practices that enhance
the creativity and innovative potential of higher education institutions.
EUA creativity project
The project is targeted at higher education institutions and their external stakeholders, i.e., academic and administrative staff, the senior
leadership, students, industry, employers, the local community and
governmental authorities. The project is also targeted at quality assurance agencies, few of which take into consideration explicitly the
creativity potential of HEIs. The project should help to identify how
quality assurance can contribute to raising the creativity and innovation level in Europe.13
The starting point of this project is that Europe’s universities can contribute to the construction of European society by strengthening their
capacity for creativity and innovation. This can be achieved through
optimal governance, structures and decision-making processes; cooperation with stakeholders; students’ involvement; a strong link between research and education; appropriate public policy and a culture
of risk taking.
Project results will be available in March 2007.
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Blackburn Simon, Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed, Allen Lane, 2005
Crozier Fiona, B. Curvale and F. Hénard, Quality Convergence Study, 2005,
Dill David, Are public research universities effective communities of learning?:
the collective action dilemma of assuring academic standards, 2005,
ENQA, Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher
Education Area, Bergen, May 2005,
EUA, Quality Culture Project reports (2004, 2005, 2006)
EUA, Trends IV: European Universities Implementing Bologna, by Sybille
Reichert and Christian Tauch, (2005)
Pascarella E.T and PT Terenzini, 2005, How College Affects Students – Volume
2: A Third Decade of Research, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Trow Martin, 1994, “Academic reviews and the culture of excellence, 1994,
reprinted in Quality Management in Higher Education Institutions, Lemma
Publisher, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1999.
Trow Martin, 1996, “Trust, Markets and Accountability in Higher Education: A
Comprehensive Perspective”, in SRHE, The 30th Anniversary seminars.
All internet sources were last consulted on 1 March 2006.
Dr. Andrée Sursock is Deputy Secretary General of the European University Association.
[email protected]
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EUA 2006 Spring Conference – Funding Strong Universities: Diversification, Student
Support and Good Governance (Hamburg, Germany, 30 March-1 April 2006)
1. Introduction
The 2006 Hamburg Conference sought to follow up on the statements in the Glasgow
Declaration underlining that “adequate and sustainable funding is a prerequisite for securing
universities’ future, and with it their capacity for promoting cultural, social and technological
innovation”. While it is crucial that the state continues to maintain, and indeed should increase
core funding to universities, the evident need for additional investment in higher education all
over Europe means that institutions will increasingly need to draw upon a variety of private
sources of funding to cover their costs. The challenge will be to search for an equitable mix
and balance between public and private sources, and to ensure that universities are capable
of coping with the implications for governance and management of this new situation.
The goal of the Conference was to address the multiple aspects of this topic, offer insights into
emerging models and examples of good practice both in terms of the introduction of new
funding streams and the ways in which these impact on the governance and management
structures of universities. In plenary sessions, working groups and round tables, participants
addressed a range of different issues, including the impact of tuition fees, the importance of
fundraising and building alumni relations, and different types of revenue generating activities
as well as the impact of such developments on institutional governance and management.
2. Diversifying funding
2.1 Tuition fees
Debate on the pros and cons of the introduction of tuition fees is taking place in many
European countries, and policies and practices differ widely. Participants concluded that the
funding gap cannot be bridged in a sustainable manner by tuition fees alone, underlining the
complexity of the issue with its multiple cultural, social and economic dimensions and the close
links to specific national tax and social security systems. There was a consensus that for this
reason it makes no sense to attempt to make general recommendations that would be
applicable for all European countries; what is needed is rather an open discussion of different
national approaches to student fees and the linked issue of student support systems. Such
discussions need to take account of different national contexts and of how national
discussions and decisions impact on the developing European higher education and research
Attention also needs to be paid to the extent to which different models help to achieve societal
goals such as broadening access, and also to whether the additional revenue generated
benefits institutions directly. Considering the impact of fees at different levels of study is also
important, as problems of access at one level have a ‘knock-on’ effect on access at other
levels. The question of differentiated tuition fees for different disciplines was also addressed,
attention being drawn to possible distortions in student choice that might raise long-term
issues for society in terms of the composition and skills profiles of the workforce. Finally,
concerns were raised about the possible impact of tuition fees on our understanding of the
concept of public responsibility for higher education and in “transforming” students into
customers, with its consequences on institutional culture.
2.2 Fundraising
In contrast to the United States, where philanthropy and giving to universities is a well
established fact, there is no such tradition in Europe, in spite of the major contribution
universities make to fulfilling important societal goals. Participants felt strongly that it would be
important to create the necessary conditions in Europe by removing existing legal barriers, in
particular through the introduction of more favourable tax regulations. Existing legislation has a
dissuasive effect on potential donors, and is, moreover, different from country to country: thus
making national legislation more “donation friendly” was identified as being a major priority.
Generating additional funds through philanthropy should not, however, be viewed as an
alternative to sustainable public funding but rather a complementary source of revenue useful
for enhancing institutional profile.
The importance of developing long-term institutional fundraising strategies was also
underlined, fundraising being a much more complex process than just asking for money. Such
strategies require investments being made in professional fundraising staff, support structures
(IT/data base, offices, marketing etc.) as well as in communication and training, and require
the support of the whole university community. Fundraising should be done for carefully
selected projects and not to cover budget gaps or overhead costs. This requires promoting a
culture of fundraising within the institution which in turn underpins the development of a more
coherent institutional policy.
2.3 Alumni relations
Fostering relations with alumni can provide the university with a powerful network reaching into
many layers of society and with a wide geographical scope. Regular small donations from
alumni can be more effective than big once-off donations. However, fundraising is only one
aspect of relations with alumni and should not to be seen as compensating for lost revenue but
instead as a way of enabling the institution to expand its activities and diversify its revenue. As
with fundraising, building alumni relations requires an institutional strategy and investment,
including strong support from the university leadership. It is also a long term activity that
begins before students arrive at the university and that follows their lives after they leave, for
example through services provided by the university, such as class reunions, career advice
and information products.
2.4 Revenue generating activities
2.4.1. Professional continuous education
Additional institutional revenue can also be generated by providing services in the area of
professional continuous education. Opportunities for entrepreneurship and revenue generating
continuous education require identifying market possibilities that exist in a specific institutional
context, and should aim at a holistic approach, combining research, teaching and continuous
education activities. Participants underlined the need to achieve a balance between bottom-up
activities and top-down management, to ensure proper quality assurance arrangements for
such programmes, and of establish clear staff priorities in terms of time spent on their own
research and teaching activities and on revenue generating activities for the institution.
2.4.2. Commercialising innovation
Businesses increasingly need to develop an “efficient knowledge market” and externalize their
research. One of the best ways to do this is to develop collaborative research with universities
and public research centres. The main reason for the increasing success of collaborative
research is that universities have an immense potential for making available research results
that may have commercial applications.
Theme 5
For universities this form of collaboration means new opportunities for sustainable revenue
activities. However, this requires a change of mindset for universities that need to foster a
culture of entrepreneurship and to be able assume new functions: to invest in building efficient
knowledge transfer, provide training in research knowledge transfer and test new business
models in the form of spin-outs. This requires convincing researchers of the benefits of
addressing the possible commercial exploitation of their inventions, improving communication
between researchers, technology transfer offices, governments and business and developing
full cost models that foster transparent collaboration. Specific “Responsible Partnering”
guidelines for such collaboration have been produced jointly by EUA together with
stakeholders from industry, public research centres and research transfer offices (Proton
Europe, EARMA and EARTO respectively).
3. Managing diversified funding – Challenges for institutional governance
The diversification of funding sources has major consequences for the way universities are
governed. Furthermore, these changes are taking place at a time when the relationship
between the state and the university is also changing rapidly with universities becoming more
autonomous but also more accountable. This is particularly important in relation to the
management of public and third party funds. Improvements are needed and procedures must
be streamlined to enhance cost efficiency and improve accountability both within the university
and towards external stakeholders and donors. Case studies presented during the conference
concluded that an important first step involves moving towards an assessment of the full costs
and cost drivers for teaching, research and administration. In addition, simple budget
allocation models need to be put in place to increase the transparency of budget allocation
decisions within institutions.
The importance of basing institutional governance on the concept of shared responsibility was
emphasised as was the need to develop ‘steering capacity’ by aligning academic and financial
responsibilities as far as possible at all levels of the university. One model presented was to
ensure that the central university management team includes the Presidency and the Deans
thus increasing the potential for balancing the various and often contradicting interests within
the institution, and enabling the President/Rector to focus on core tasks in strategic
governance and representation. There was a consensus that all changes processes should be
anchored in a strong university culture, take account of the overall institutional mission and the
university’s broader social role and responsibilities.
4. Conclusions
The Hamburg conference allowed EUA members to address for the first time the very diverse
elements involved in seeking to achieve sustainable funding streams for universities in a
rapidly changing environment. This is a debate that is taking place all over Europe. There is no
‘one-size-fits-all- model’ and universities will have to be creative and responsive to adapt to
these challenges. Having a clear institutional strategy and mission is essential, both for
attracting additional funding from donors, alumni or industry as well as for adapting internal
university governance systems to cope with new funding sources and the changing
relationship between the state and the university. EUA will take this issue forward in the years
to come through projects with its members and further debate, in particular at the March 2007
Convention of Higher Education Institutions in Lisbon.
Brussels, April 2006
Theme 5
Understanding Bologna in context
A 2.2-1
Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
Enhancing autonomy and responsibility
University governance, leadership and
management in a rapidly
changing environment
Luc E. Weber
Globalisation, scientific and technological processes and, in Europe, the Bologna process are
creating an increasingly competitive environment for universities. As a consequence, the
traditionally decentralised change process at the level of academic staff and departments does not
allow higher education institutions to adapt fast enough or, preferably, to lead this change. The
rapidly changing environment of today and tomorrow requires that universities also need to
develop a capacity for change at the institutional level; otherwise they will loose their unique
status. This challenge implies a system of governance and a leadership both geared towards change,
together with the development of the necessary management tools to support such change.
An increasingly rapidly changing environment
Transformation in European higher education
The challenge for European universities
The responsibilities of public authorities for Higher education and
The public responsibility for higher education and research
The responsibilities of higher education and research
The governance and leadership of higher education institutions
The limits of the traditional system of governance
Towards a system of governance geared towards institutional change
Lessons from the economic theory of federalism
A suggested role for the different stakeholders
The necessary conditions for success in a more centralized system
The organisational structure
The necessary management tools to support good governance
Governance and management
The most important management tools to support good governance
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Understanding Bologna in context
Enhancing autonomy and responsibility
Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
1.1 An increasingly rapidly changing environment
Increasingly rapid
Organisations - private, public and voluntary not for profit – are being
challenged all over the world by an increasingly rapidly changing
environment. This is also true for schools, tertiary education institutions and universities. The consequences are serious, even threatening:
those institutions which do not adapt fast enough – or better, lead this
change – risk losing their importance and eventually disappearing. If
this is recognized in companies, non-profit organisations and even in
public entities, why shouldn’t it be also true for universities?
Competition and
The reasons have been widely recognized. They are due to two phenomena: globalization, as well as scientific and technological progress. Probably, the most striking aspect of these is the accession of
China and India to among the great economic powers. As Thomas
Friedman (2005) cleverly put it: “The World is Flat”. The consequences can be summarized in two key words: increasing competition
for people and organisations and – although it might appear as a paradox – an increasing need for cooperation in order to take up the challenge of competition.
Investing in the
knowledge society
Europe, where the first industrial revolution took place, is particularly
challenged. Its high standards of living could even be threatened for
two interlinked reasons: its rapidly aging population will hamper its
economic dynamism. Moreover, the comparatively generous welfare
state which Europe was able to develop thanks to its economic domination until the Second World War and rapid reconstruction afterwards
may well be unsustainable, all the more since it is characterised by too
much waste. The recognition of these threats is at the origin of the
European Union’s 2000 Lisbon Agenda, which aims to foster research
and competitiveness. They are also clearly taken seriously by a few
countries, in particular those which were for long among the less developed ones, like Finland and Ireland. Moreover, this European malaise is also at the origin of the 1998-1999 Sorbonne-Bologna process
which aims to make from the European diversity the catalyst of its
development. In brief, Europe has become conscious that its most
promising response to the challenge of increasing competition is to
invest heavily in the knowledge society.
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Theme 5
Understanding Bologna in context
A 2.2-1
Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
Enhancing autonomy and responsibility
1.2 Transformation in European higher education
European higher education institutions and universities must simultaneously take up the globalisation challenge, which is a source of increasing competition, as well as the challenge of transformation
through the Bologna process, in order to respond to this competition.
Moreover, the Bologna process has two distinct phases; first, the transformation phase with the implementation of the reforms involved;
second, the long term impact of establishing both the European Higher
Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA), as
well as of some national specific policies. The increased transparency
of the European Higher Education system and the new research and
funding policies will seriously reinforce the climate of competition
between institutions. And this is happening in a time of increasing
competition between traditional institutions, the emergence of new
types of institutions, continued increases in participation rates, increasing demands on higher education institutions, increasing costs of
research and teaching, and increasing difficulties for the public
authorities to allocate the public funds which would be required, in
particular due to other priority obligations (see also Newman et al,
The challenge
for universities
1.3 The challenge for European universities
This rapidly and profoundly changing environment both worldwide
and in Europe is seriously challenging national higher education and
research systems, as well as each individual institution, to change not
only in order to adapt, but also to contribute to the change. As the
European University Association (2005), echoed by the President of
the European Commission, Barroso (2005), put it: “Europe needs
strong universities” in order for the continent itself to be strong. This
is a challenge both for the public authorities, who should ensure a
favourable environment for the development of institutions, and for
institutions to be well governed, led and managed.
Europe need strong
Keeping in mind the pressure and necessity for change, this article
will successively consider:
• the implications for the responsibility of public authorities for
higher education and research,
• the responsibilities of higher education institutions,
• the governance and leadership of higher education institutions, and
• the management of higher education institutions.
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The responsibilities of public authorities
for Higher education and research
2.1 The public responsibility for higher education
and research
Higher education as a
public responsibility
Since the Sorbonne Declaration (1998), the Ministers of education, as
co-signatories of the successive declarations or communiqués, have
been stressing that higher education is a public responsibility. This is
quite reasonable as it has been well established that higher education
produces not only a very high private return on investments for individuals, but also a high collective one. This public responsibility for
higher education and research is justified by efficiency and equity
reasons. First, the market is not fully efficient, due to the external
benefits accruing to those who have not benefited from higher education, to insufficient information, as well as to its incapacity to take into
account the social benefits of education to the whole community and
the guarantee of quality education across the board. Second, the market cannot guarantee a fair distribution of higher education opportunities (Bergan, 2005 and Weber, 2005).
Responsibility of public
The draft recommendations elaborated by the steering committee for
higher education and research of the Council of Europe1 state that
“The responsibility of public authorities for higher education and research should be nuanced and defined relative to specific areas. It is
broadly recommended that public authorities have:
• exclusive responsibility for the framework within which higher
education and research is conducted;
• leading responsibility for ensuring all citizens have effective equal
opportunities to higher education as well as ensuring that basic research remains a public good;
• substantial responsibility for financing higher education and research, the provision of higher education and research, as well as
for stimulating and facilitating financing and provision by other
sources within the framework developed by public authorities.”
University autonomy
These recommendations state further that: “In the choice of instruments for exercising their responsibilities, public authorities should
respect the principle of institutional autonomy and acknowledge that
funding, motivating and stimulating the development of higher educa-
As approved by the Bureau on 30-31 January 2006 and to be submitted to
the committee of Ministers of the Council.
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tion and research is as important a part of public responsibility as the
exercise of regulation and control”. Why is institutional autonomy so
important? For at least two reasons (Weber, 2006): First, history demonstrates that each time the ruling powers restricted the autonomy of
universities, a period of intellectual and social stagnation or decadence
quickly emerged. Society needs universities to develop new knowledge and to examine societal and scientific questions freely, with a
high level of scholarship and the most appropriate scientific methods.
This is the essential long term responsibility of universities towards
society. Second, recent rankings of research universities show that the
best universities are very autonomous institutions and that the few
exceptions to this observation, which are to be found in particular in
Russia or China, can be explained by the fact that they are generously
funded and benefit from an internal decision making process which
allows them to fix priorities.
Autonomous universities are superior because they can be proactive
and entrepreneurial: too much and/or often bad regulation, as well as
too many short term and often cyclical outside pressures or incentives,
kill initiative and are therefore the source of more regulation and political micro-management which further weaken the institution. There
is clearly a great danger of a vicious circle! Obviously, autonomy
should be secured not only towards the State, but also towards the
private economy and established religions or any other spiritual
The scope of “real” autonomy is broad. It covers:
Advantages of
autonomous universities
Scope of autonomy
• the internal organisation, the decision making processes and the
selection of leaders,
• the study programmes, although the structure of degrees and the
qualifications framework should be regulated by the state,
• the choice of academic and non-academic staff and their financial
• the choice of non-state-allocated financial resources, in particular
student fees, as well as of how to spend its resources,
• the choice of students, provided that national objectives concerning
equal access and opportunity are met.
It would be self-destructive to follow the argument that governments
should stop funding independent institutions, considering the high
collective return on investment of higher education and research. It is
also wrong to consider the financing of higher education as a consumer expense.
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The corollary of
university autonomy
Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
On the other hand, respecting the autonomy of institutions does not
mean that governments should not have a higher education and research policy. Certainly not! Governments must also fix priorities and
implement them through appropriate funding and allocation policies.
However, changing priorities should be done over time and at a high
level of aggregation, in order to avoid adverse impacts on institutions
which could be seen as equivalent to direct intervention. Furthermore,
it is recommended that government and universities agree on missions
and funding levels by way of contract. Finally, public authorities
should promote the quality of the system and of each institution,
through a quality assurance framework where universities are both the
key players and the owners of the framework.
The responsibilities of higher education
and research
The combination of increased competition, increased pressure from
public authorities, private firms and public opinion, and the difficulty
of receiving the financial support from the public authorities to match
the cost of these additional demands, is pushing universities to examine how to improve their efficiency and obtain new sources of funding. This is certainly positive, but these attempts “to do more with
less” and to find alternative sources of funding – as is increasingly
required – have limits. Universities are increasingly threatened in the
pursuit of their fundamental missions, i.e. developing new knowledge
and educating students.
Responsive vs.
responsible universities
Public authorities, public opinion and each institution must all be well
aware that universities today are inevitably pushed towards a conflict
between two equally important objectives. However, these objectives
cannot be equally and simultaneously satisfied without adequate
funding (Grin, Harayama and Weber, 2000, Weber, 2002, pp. 62-64).
On one hand, “universities are expected to be responsive to the shortterm needs of the economy, the state and their main stakeholders, the
students. This means that universities should respond to what society
demands at any one time”. “On the other hand, while responding to
society’s need and demands, universities must also assume a crucial
responsibility towards society. Universities are one of the oldest surviving institutions, clearly older than modern states. Moreover, they
remain practically the only institutions able to secure and transmit the
cultural heritage of a society, to create new knowledge and to have the
professional competences and the right status to analyse social problems independently, scientifically and critically. The great difference
between being responsive and being responsible lies in the fact that, in
the first case, universities should be receptive to what society expect
from them; in the second case, they should have the ambition to guide
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reflection and policy-making in society”. While universities excel at
making new discoveries in all disciplines …, they must also scrutinize
systematically the trends that might affect soon or later the well-being
of populations and, if necessary, raise criticism, issue alarm signal and
make recommendations…”.
These two responsibilities can obviously be contradictory in the short
term, as the pressures of both the market and politics require universities to respond to immediate needs or to political opinions which are
too often purely utilitarian, reflecting short term, or even partisan
needs. Therefore, it is crucial that universities have the freedom and
the strengths to pursue their search for knowledge away from undue
pressure, political or financial. But the reality for them is that they are
“situated at the centre of forces between the necessity to be responsive
to the short term needs of their stakeholders and to be responsible for
the long term interest of the society they are serving…” (Weber, 2002,
p. 64).
Short term and long
term perspectives
This tension between responsiveness and responsibility is continuously reinforced by the accelerating changing environment. Hence,
meeting the challenges of permanent change, and engineering the
corresponding changes, both demand ongoing articulation between the
requirements of responsiveness and responsibility.
The governance and leadership of higher
education institutions
4.1 The limits of the traditional system of governance
The challenge for universities to become strong institutions and their
quest for substantial autonomy have important implications, the most
delicate one probably being the need to deserve the hopes and trust put
in them. This means, among other things, that they should be accountable to the public authorities on which they depend, and by extension
to the public at large, and to their private sponsors and stakeholders.
This implies in particular that they should be well governed, led and
managed. The greater the autonomy, the more this is crucial.
The traditional
process of change
Adapting to the fast changing environment and even leading the
change is a difficult challenge for universities. The experienced observer of university decision making knows that there is continuous
disagreement about whether universities are changing fast enough or
not. Indeed, universities do adapt on a permanent basis to the changing environment, thanks to the inherent capacity to adapt of its academic staff, who have been selected on the basis of their capacity con-
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stantly to renew their knowledge and to innovate. Moreover, universities have a good opportunity to innovate through the process of recruiting new members of academic staff.
Not adapting fast
However, this comparatively high potential of a university to respond
to the new demands and opportunities still does not guarantee that
they are adapting as fast as they could and should. Furthermore, there
is an increasing feeling among university leaders and observers that
universities and the university system are not adapting fast enough in
order to make sure they deliver what is necessary, in order to best
serve the long term needs of society.
Indeed, each institution, as well as the system, is bound to be good if
the new entering students are well prepared, the staff, the facilities and
the equipments are good, and funding is generous…. However, today’s challenges require being better, even for a good institution, and
this is obviously even more true for mediocre ones.
In the vast majority of European universities, decision making is
strongly characterised by systems where the counter-powers are nearly
as strong as the decision making bodies, and
where the numbers of bodies to be consulted is
greater than it should be, and where these
bodies are characterised by unclear and often
somehow overlapping competences. In other
words, decision processes are obscure and
unlikely to produce clear and significant decisions.
Governance can be defined as the set of bod-
Decision making and
ies and functions, their respective competences
and the procedures by which they interact to
make decisions at the level of and within the
This non-transparent and partly redundant decision process was and is still justified by the
important fact that in no other human organisation is there such a high concentration of
intelligence and scholarship at the basis of the
Leadership is the aptitude of the university
heads at different levels of responsibility, rehierarchical pyramid, if we accept the use of
spectively president or chair of the (administrathat word so unfamiliar to university discourse
tive) board or senate, if any, rector/president or
in defining the different layers of academic
rectorate/presidency, deans or deanship, dileaders (in particular rector/president, deans,
rector or head of school, department, institute or
heads of departments, professors, researchers,
research centre to fulfil their role by promoting
advanced students). For centuries, higher edustrategic thinking, engaging dialogue – which
cation institutions did well by counting on an
implies in particular consulting, listening and
extremely decentralized decision making syscommunicating, but also providing input of extem and an often redundant network of compertise and vision – and by making decisions
mittees and decision bodies to adapt to the
and making sure these are implemented.
changing environment. Today, the alarm signs
are very present, in particular, the strong domination of the United States in matter of Nobel
prizes over the last thirty years and the impressive domination of
American universities in rankings of research universities.
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4.2 Towards a system of governance geared towards
institutional change
The question facing each institution is whether the traditional system
of shared governance, which is traditionally very decentralized and
democratic, allows universities to implement the significant changes
imposed by the changing environment. It is eminently difficult to respond to that question; however, as an observer of the system, one can
fear that if it was probably possible in the past, it is no longer the case
today. In addition to the complexity, duration and sometimes paralysis
of the decision making processes, the main actors – who too often
refuse to recognize that they would benefit from it in the long run –
often act more as agents slowing down the process than promoting it.
University professors and other leading researchers most often prefer
the status quo if they are not sure what benefit will result from the
change, are more faithful to their discipline than to their institution,
have no real vision for their institution, and are easily demotivated. In
other words, the institution’s human assets tend also to become its
most conservative element.
Preferring the status quo
In an institution where most of the competence is at the bottom of the
hierarchy, this very fact raises the serious question of the right degree
of (de)centralisation. At first sight, there is no one solution which is
obviously better than any other. It appears on the contrary that the
optimal solution very much depends on the personalities who occupy
the key positions; it varies therefore from one combination of personalities to the other. Whatever the rationale on paper of a solution, its
effectiveness depends greatly on the persons occupying the key positions in the organisational chart. People are more important than
People are important!
4.3 Lessons from the economic theory of federalism
In order to decide about the optimal degree of decentralisation, it may
be useful, at least in understanding what is at stake, to borrow some
inspiration from the economic theory of federalism, as this attempts to
identify which decision should be made at which level of government
(Weber, 2001). We learn from this theory that, basically, decisions
should be taken at a level as near as possible to those who will be affected (positively or negatively) by the decision. This rule is better
known as the subsidiarity principle, which states that decisions should
be made at the lowest level possible. This parallelism established between decision makers and those directly affected by the decision
needs to allow, however, for three exceptions:
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Three exceptions
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• The existence of externalities, i.e. effects which can result even if
those taking the decision avoid or try to avoid it having an impact,
negative or positive, on a broader circle of people. This is typically
the case when e.g. a weak university department damages the
reputation of the whole university, or when the high quality of a
department has a positive impact on the visibility of the whole institution.
• The existence of potential economies of scale, which would allow
the institution to improve its output and/or decrease its input, by
engaging in collaboration with other subdivisions or external organisations or even by merging. One obvious example is the development of open-courseware or of a digital library.
• The need for equals to be treated equally. This requires the centralisation of the rule making and implementation processes, in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally. Less emphasis on
equal treatment would permit a lighter, more decentralized system.
Decisions at the lowest
level possible
We can infer from these very basic principles that decisions should be
normally be taken at the lowest decision level possible, as long as this
is not in contradiction with the above three exceptions, that is as long
as there are no wide ranging externalities, no potential economies of
scale, and that it does not produce unacceptable inequalities of treatment. In other words, given the high levels of professional competence at faculty and academic staff levels, and the great potential enthusiasm at the level of students, universities should – more than any
other organisation – give plenty of freedom to these stakeholders. This
is the best way to promote their creativity and to secure their commitment to the institution. However, such a strongly decentralized decision process would neglect the other aspects of a good decision structure, which all plead for a more centralized or hierarchical decision
process (Weber, 2001).
These lessons drawn from the economic theory of federalism show
that the ideal system of governance – if any – must allow for an adequate combination of decentralized and centralized decision making,
the latter being replaceable by strongly coordinated decisions making
4.4 A suggested role for the different stakeholders
Stakeholders’ roles in a
modern university
Let us now look schematically at the different potential decision makers and examine which decisions they should be responsible for
(Weber, 2001). These broad principles should be adapted to the local
situation, in particular to the organisational structure (e.g., a traditional
system with faculties and departments, a flatter organisation with only
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one layer of faculties or schools with no further subdivision underneath, or a matrix system).
• Students should be in a position to define their education and to
evaluate the quality of the education provided to them, as well as to
participate in and contribute to improving the social aspects of their
student life.
• The academic staff, in particular university professors, who constitute the key human assets of a university, should benefit from a
working environment which favours their creativity and their
commitment towards their students. They should also have ample
opportunities to express their views about the future development
of their discipline and to propose the creation of new study programmes and research areas. However, they should not have a final
say about strategic issues, as this would introduce a strong bias in
favour of the status quo. However, if a professor receives financial
support for an activity that is no longer a priority, he or she should
be left free to work on it.
Academic staff
• The responsibilities of groups of academic staff at department or
faculty level are equivalent to those of individual academics, and
entail more or less the same restrictions. It is obvious that a group
of academics belonging to the same discipline is tempted to act as a
cartel, particularly inclined to defend their own interests without
paying too much attention to the interests of the larger organisation.
• Deans or head of faculties or schools: in most European universities, faculties or schools are the most important units, holding an
intermediate position between the university and the departments
or institutes. In many respects, they represent a compromise between respect for the subsidiarity principle and arguments in favour
of stronger centralisation. It is good policy to attribute most decisions regarding teaching to faculties, and to involve them in the
conception and implementation of policies. However, one can observe in many universities that deans are often too close to the
members of his or her faculty to exercise effective authority and
that, when together, they tend to collude against the leadership of
the organisation, preventing any significant change. Due to their
extremely delicate position between their faculty colleagues and
the rector/president, and sometimes in opposition to their own
views, deans and groups of deans are often the most conservative
decision agents opposed to change.
• The rector/president and his or her team should obviously lead the
institution and therefore make all strategic decisions. However, the
preparation of the decisions and their implementation should be
partly delegated to permanent or ad hoc committees. It is crucial
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for the institution that the wealth of knowledge available is fully
exploited to define strategies, policies and rules, thanks to intensive
consultation of those who have the knowledge or are in the position effectively to understand all aspects of a question. However,
once this large consultation has been undertaken and the different
groups have had the opportunity to express their views, a decision
must be made. And for all strategic questions, the setting of broad
priorities, including the creation, suppression or merger of units,
changing the organisational structure of the institution or the decision making process, collaboration with other universities or institutions, the final decision should be taken by the rector/president
and/or his or her team, unless an administrative board has the competence to do this. It is important to stress also that this competence
to decide must be accompanied by the power to apply and implement the decision. This is often a serious challenge, but a choice of
means, in particular the use of incentives or disincentives, mainly
financial, is preferable to the blunt use of rules and power. Let us
add that if the rector/president is in a position to choose the other
members of his or her team, this rectorate/presidency team is likely
to lead the institution better thanks to the combination of personalities and competences.
• The Senate, defined as the assembly of academic staff, which may
in fact be restricted to professors, as in many European universities, is obviously no longer in a position to make the sort of decisions it might have been some time ago.
Administrative board
• An administrative board is a decision making body, partly or totally
internal to the university, composed of representatives of all
stakeholders (students, academic and non academic staff). We have
them in many European universities at university level, and in some
cases also at faculty level. They should be given ample opportunity
to comment and make proposals regarding university strategy, study
programmes, student affairs and general welfare within the university. However, if on one hand this has the advantage of contributing
to the production of consensus-based decisions in line with a model
of shared governance, such a board is in general the other main obstacle to significant change within the institution. It is generally
composed of representatives who are not all really interested in the
future of the institution, but who have agreed to be elected in order
to defend a position, which in most cases is already well established;
they spend only a fraction of the time spent by the rector/president in
preparing the decisions; finally, majority building in boards calls for
strategic alliances, which may change from one decision to the other.
Moreover the president of the administrative board plays generally
an important role. There is more coherence if the rector/president or
a faithful friend is him or herself in this position, but sometimes,
board is led by someone else or, worse, someone who has been
elected to lead the opposition.
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• Contrary to the USA where these are the rule, external boards are
few and far between in Europe. They are in principle composed
exclusively of personalities from outside the institution. As the
American experience shows, external boards can be very supportive to a rector/president engaged in a policy of change and in the
strategic decision making process; but they can also be an nightmare for him or her if they have a high propensity for political micro-management. In such cases, they are very similar to the public
authorities (executive or legislative) who operate in the cases of institutions with little autonomy. The choice of external board members is crucial: quality and experience, as opposed to political obedience, should be the only criteria.
External boards
• In many European countries, the public authorities play the role,
more or less, of external boards in the US. Depending on the distribution of competences between the ministry in charge and the institution, the public authorities usually play a role in important decisions like the allocation of budgets, the approval of study programmes or the appointment of professors. However, there is a
large degree of diversity between one system and another. It is this
aspect which allows the formal, if not the effective, autonomy of an
institution to be measured.
Public authorities
In summary, in order to respond to the heavy challenges raised by
being pro-active and entrepreneurial, the university of today needs to
have the governance mechanisms capable of making the right decisions and the authority to implement these decisions. Compared with
the university of twenty years ago, this requires greater decision
making power at the level of the rector/president and/or, if there is
one, at the level of an external board. In other words, it is crucial to
reduce the possibilities for blocking the decision making and implementation processes at the level of administrative boards or of deans.
These possibilities are often reinforced by the multiplication of bodies
and the interminable length of processes.
4.5 The necessary conditions for success in a more
centralized system
The concentration of more decision making power in the person of the
rector/president and his or her team is likewise not without risk. This
is what professors and deans will argue when complaining about the
wrong decisions or the lack of decisions by the rector/president. This
risk is real and must be taken seriously. But the fact that real decision
making power is concentrated in a small number of persons, mainly at
the top of the institution, is the norm in the private and political
worlds. In both cases, clear mechanisms exist for controlling the leaders and for getting rid of them if they are not competent or take the
wrong decisions. This is why, in the context of higher education insti-
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tutions, rectors/presidents must be appointed for a specific period,
which should be renewable. It should also be possible not to renew
their mandate at the end of a period, or to dismiss them during the
course of the mandate. Such action should in principle be the responsibility of the same body which appointed him or her, in principle the
administrative board or an external board. It is true that universities,
more than any other institution, benefit from a spontaneous capacity
for change and can be seriously affected by bad decisions imposed
from the top; nevertheless, the challenges of today are too serious to
trust the system of shared governance completely: this is too conservative and sometimes even incapable of making the decisions required
by the changing environment. The challenge is to find a just balance
between the two extremes.
4.6 The organisational structure
Model of structural
Decision making in any given university depends not only on its different consultation and decision bodies, but also on its organisational
structure. As seen above, we can identify three main models, each
with variants: the traditional model with faculties and departments; a
flatter type of organisation with only one level of subdivision (schools,
departments or colleges); and the matrix system by which the institutions is organized according to its two main missions, research and
teaching as well as learning, both of these benefiting from a decision
making structure. The arguments for and against these different models are relatively well known.
Three points regarding
Today, three points should be taken seriously into account. First, it is
important for a structure to be kept as simple as possible in order to
facilitate consultation and rapid decision making. Second, the development and specialisation of science today imposes an increase in
scale in order to guarantee the necessary critical mass. It is now not
unusual to have 7-10 professors in disciplines which were well covered by two professors fifty years ago. Third, despite the increasing
division of disciplines into micro-specializations, many discoveries
are done today at the margins between two or three disciplines.
Moreover, solutions to societal questions need the joint input of many
disciplines. Although interdisciplinarity has been recognized as essential for a very long time, the traditional structures of universities, as
well as the organisation of professional publications, are a serious
obstacle to its development. This is why a number of universities
across Europe are currently in a process of completely reengineering
their organisational structure in order to promote interdisciplinarity,
critical mass and capacity for change.
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Profile of leader
Another open question is the profile of the ideal institutional leader.
Considering the size, budget and the necessity imposed by the environment to make significant decisions, some could believe that the
best profile for a rector/president is that of a businessman, with experience in running a big firm. Apart from a few positive experiences, it
is probably not the best solution, in particular because universities are
extremely complex institutions, among others due to the quality of
their human resources, the very special conditions of creativity at the
frontiers of science, and the importance of the right communication
methods in the teaching and research worlds. Therefore, the ideal
leader remains someone who has gained a high reputation in science
and/or as a teacher, and who is very familiar with the necessary conditions for innovation, creativity and teaching responsibility. However,
if these high qualities were quite sufficient fifty years ago, when the
rector/president would spend perhaps only one day a week in his or
her office, they are no longer sufficient today.
The complexity of the strategic decisions
which have to be taken, the challenge of convincing the whole institution to join forces
towards a specific aim as agreed by the majority, the complexity of legal regulations,
and the sophistication of management tools
Management should be understood as the use
all require that the leader should have excelof suitable tools to prepare and implement decilent leadership and management aptitudes,
sions and policies, as well as to monitor their
whatever his or her academic discipline and
efficiency and effectiveness.
in addition to his or her academic qualities.
Although these can to a certain extent be
learned, not everybody has such skills. This
is why the profile of the ideal rector/president should include competences which have more to do with the intrinsic personality of the
candidate and his or her ability to build on the scientific qualities he or
she has already developed.
The necessary management tools to
support good governance
5.1 Governance and management
Obviously, the responsive and responsible university of today needs a
good governance system in order to be able to make the strategic and
administrative decisions required by the fast changing environment
and to secure the support of the academic and non academic communities for their implementation. However, this is not enough. In order
to prepare and implement the decisions, as well as to monitor their
effectiveness, institutions need to develop and utilize the information
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provided by various management tools. These instruments serve also
to secure the transparency and accountability of the institution, internally and externally. This is not the place to describe these instruments
in detail. This section will nevertheless briefly describe those which
are indispensable for better governance. Those which have mainly an
administrative character, like the administration of students and human resources, accounting, computer services, logistics, etc …, will
not be described here, not because they are not important, but because
their purpose is of an administrative nature and not necessarily to support a strategy of change.
5.2 The most important management tools to
support good governance
6 main tools
Any institution aware of the necessity to be pro-active and entrepreneurial in this period of rapidly changing environments should develop and use the following management tools:
Strategic plan
• A strategic plan is the best tool available to invite the whole institution to project itself into the future (around ten to fifteen years),
examine different scenarios regarding the development of its environment and its response to these developments, and to select the
most appropriate strategy. This strategic plan and scenario building
exercise should as far as possible be “zero-based” to force the different units to justify their whole activity and not only the incremental developments they envisage.
Financial plan
• It is also very useful for institutions to establish a four-five year financial plan, and to revise this every one or two years. Experience
shows that they are rarely applicable for more than two years, thus
the necessity to update them on a regular basis. In addition to that, in
order to facilitate internal budgetary negotiations and to inform subdivisions about what they can expect in the future, the financial plan
helps the institution to extrapolate the additional costs linked to an
investment (building, heavy equipment). However, the implementation of a financial plan should not prevent the institution from supporting good projects or opportunities which appeared once the plan
has already been put together. This implies that the organisational
leadership should have an important budgetary reserve (around 5 10 % of the total budget) at its disposal, which can be used, with the
help of an ad hoc committee, in order to launch a very good project
which appears to represent an opportunity.
Quality culture
• Any university, whatever its level, can improve. The surest strategy to
improve is to develop a rigorous culture of quality within the institution. There are many ways to improve quality, but the most promising
would appear to be a cyclical process of evaluation of all academic
and administrative units, articulated around a self-evaluation report, a
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Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
Enhancing autonomy and responsibility
peer review visit, and a serious follow-up mechanism (see the Irish
model, Irish Universities Quality Board, 2006).
• Universities are paradoxical: when scientific research is concerned,
academics rigorously use data and statistical tools to reach scientific findings; but when budgetary decisions or the allocation of office space are at stake, this is often done in a subjective manner by
academics in administrative positions, where negotiating skills become the most important factor. Universities should therefore place
a high priority on collecting and analysing core sets of data in order
to be able to make objective decisions based on facts and not only
on impressions. This implies that universities should set up a small
institutional research unit, composed of one or two statisticianeconomist-sociologists, to elaborate and maintain this core set of
“dashboard” indicators, analysing them and undertaking other relevant internal studies. The costs of such an initiative would be well
compensated by the improvement in decisions made.
Core set of indicators
• It is also a fact that accounting in most universities is restricted to
the identification of the flow of expenditures and revenues in order
to establish the yearly accounts. It is rare for university accounting
to examine the efficiency or effectiveness of production, and to
calculate the unit as well the full economic costs of different activities. Therefore, a well governed and well led university should
develop a system of analytical accounting and develop a spirit of
monitoring. However, the purpose of this should be to support the
academic staff and not to sanction them.
Analytical accounting
• Finally, in a period of rapid change and significant decisions, the
people concerned often react negatively because they are anxious
for their present positions. Since they are not able to move to another function and because they do not really see the purpose of a
proposed change, or the possible advantages for them and for the
whole institution. This is why the leaders of the university should
spend much more time than they do traditionally on communications and dialogue, both inside and outside the institution. In this
period of over-information and increased insecurity, communication should become the main instrument of today’s university
In concluding this section, it is necessary to remind university leaders
and their heads of administration of the risks involved when developing decision making tools and improving the administration. One of
these is the creation of heavy and rigid bureaucracy which then becomes a real burden for the academic staff, instead of making their
inevitable administrative work as simple and productive as possible.
Too many administrative tasks, coupled with rigid rules, are in the end
frustrating and killing new initiatives, and encouraging subversive
Better administration
doesn’t mean rigid
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A 2.2-1
Understanding Bologna in context
Enhancing autonomy and responsibility
The two key messages
Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
The purpose of this article was to offer an overview of governance,
leadership and management of European universities in a period of
rapid change. In view of the extreme diversity of the European higher
education landscape, historically, institutionally and politically, the
description was articulated around general characteristics which can
be considered as more or less common to all institutions, whatever the
country of localization. We trust however that any university leader
who decided to read this article, in search of some inspiration, was
well aware of this limitation and that he or she would therefore not
find solutions readily applicable to his or her institution. However,
they will have hopefully picked up the two main messages of this
article: first, that the higher education and research sector is not immune to the disruption which is taking place in the world and which is
still ahead of us; second, that to take up the challenge, universities can
no longer count on a change process located solely at the level of individual departments and academics, but need to establish a governance, leadership and management system geared to change at the institutional level. Even if a lot of work remains to be done along the
lines described above in planning an adequate solution for a specific
institution in a specific environment, the purpose of this chapter would
be reached if these messages have been understood and if many university leaders begin or continue to take action accordingly.
Bibliographical references
Barroso, J. M. (2005): “Strong Universities for Europe”, Keynote speech pronounced at the European University Association convention in Glasgow
Bergan, S. (2005): “Higher education as a ‘public good and a public responsibility’: what does it mean?”, in (pp. 13-28) Weber and Bergan (eds), The Public responsibility for higher education and research, Council of Europe higher education series No2, Strasbourg
European University Association (EUA) (2005): “Strong universities for a
Strong Europe”, Glasgow Declaration, Brussels, 14 April
Friedman, T. L. (2005): “The World is flat”. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New
Grin, F., Harayama, Y. & Weber, L. E. (2000): “Responsiveness, responsibility
and accountability: an evaluation of university governance in Switzerland”, Dossiers 2000/4f, Office fédéral de l’éducation et de la science, Berne
Irish Universities Quality Board (2006)
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Theme 5
Understanding Bologna in context
A 2.2-1
Governance, public responsibility and institutional autonomy
Enhancing autonomy and responsibility
Joint declaration on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher
education system (1998):
Newman, F., Couturier, L. & Scurry, J. (2004) “The Future of Higher Education;
Rhetoric, Reality, and the Risks of the Market”, Josey-Bass, San Francisco
Weber, L. E. (2001): “Critical University Decision and their Appropriate Makers: Some Lessons from the Economic Theory of Federalism”, in (pp. 79-93)
Hirsch & Weber (eds), Governance in Higher Education: The University in a
State of Flux”, Economica, Paris
[10] Weber, L. E. (2002): “Universities’ Responsiveness and Responsibilities in an
Age of Heightened Competition” in (pp. 61-72) Hirsch & Weber (eds), As the
Walls of Academia are Tumbling Down, Economica, Paris
[11] Weber, L. E. (2005): “Nature and scope of the public responsibility for higher
education and research?” in (pp. 13-28) Weber and Bergan (eds), The Public responsibility for higher education and research, Council of Europe higher education series No2, Strasbourg
[12] Weber, L. E. (forthcoming 2006): “The challenges of globalization for university
governance in Europe”, in Kohler & Huber (eds),
[13] Council of Europe higher education series No4, Strasbourg
Luc E. Weber, Professor of Economics and Rector Emeritus, University of Geneva, Switzerland;
EUA Founding Board Member; Chair of the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research
at the Council of Europe
[email protected]
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