Universities are important in catering to the needs of today’s rising knowledge societies. Beyond the traditional work of teaching and producing research and innovation, higher education institutions are tasked with various roles and face new challenges. These include evolving student populations, a changing labour market resulting in the need for continued professional development, and challenges to university autonomy in how to address such trends.
EUA is dedicated to supporting universities in their efforts to make successful decisions on the issues affecting them, especially in areas such as management, funding, human resources and academic profile, both in the EU and in its Neighbourhood. Within the last decade, several university governance reforms have taken place, both within national systems and inside the institutions themselves, regarding the relation between universities and public authorities and internal university organisation.
While acknowledging that there are different models for these reforms, the dialogue developed through EUA’s comparative approach outlines the basic principles and conditions that universities need to have in order to best fulfil their missions and tasks.
Promoting institutional autonomy as a core principle continues to be highly-relevant and important, as it supports university values. In a tense political environment, attempts to limit or undermine autonomy can take many forms. Through its work and tools, EUA supports a structured, fact-based dialogue on governance, autonomy and efficiency, in partnership with the sector and public authorities.
University executives are political and academic leaders who manage a complex community and are responsible for fostering the development of the institution and its financial sustainability. The Covid-19 crisis amplified the need for university leaders and managers to inspire a vision and the dynamics of change, while creating consensus and gaining the endorsement of all constituencies.
This has been particularly important in countries where autonomy reforms have concentrated powers in central university leadership. The level of autonomy that universities in Europe have today in designing their governance models along the lines of their missions and societal expectations varies greatly. Universities require:
The EUA Autonomy Scorecard features extensive information on the current state of university autonomy and governance reforms in Europe. By gathering, comparing and weighing data from higher education institutions across the continent, EUA provides in-depth benchmarking of national policies with regard to university autonomy and the exchange of good practices. Since its creation, the Scorecard has become a reference point in discussions about university autonomy in Europe and beyond.
The Autonomy Scorecard is made up of a comparative summary report, an online tool & and individual country profiles.
The online tool lets you compare university autonomy in 29 European higher education systems. It focuses on four autonomy areas and ranks countries according to the level of autonomy they have in each area.
EUA has worked on the topic of efficiency through the USTREAM project. By examining the measures that are in place at universities across Europe to enhance efficiency in various settings and by analysing policies at the system level that support universities in their efforts to operate more efficiently, EUA was able to identify good practice examples and develop recommendations for further development. More broadly, EUA’s work in this area addresses efficiency, effectiveness and value for money at European universities in a comparative way. The Association takes a novel approach to the topic by tailoring it to the specificities of the higher education sector and breaking it down into three thematic dimensions: efficiency in professional, operational and support services; efficiency in academic matters; efficiency through strategic governance.
The USTREAM partners have developed an “efficiency self-evaluation tool” (The University Efficiency Hub), which supports higher education institutions in the assessment of their efficiency programmes and activities. The tool allows university practitioners and policy makers across Europe to share knowledge and hands-on experience in efficiency, effectiveness and value for money in the field of higher education. It provides information on national frameworks as well as institutional good practices and a self-evaluation tool for universities to move forward in their strategy.
Mergers and concentration processes are becoming increasingly frequent as the higher education sector is faced with the double impetus of more competition and stronger cooperation, especially in a period following the global financial crisis. More recently, in systems that have been hit heavily by the Covid-19 pandemic, discussions have emerged about whether mergers and restructuring can constitute an adequate policy response to address the financial difficulties. Collaboration frameworks cover a wide array of activities and can become quite complex. In order to succeed, merger processes need the right conditions.
EUA has analysed this in the report “Designing strategies for efficient funding of universities in Europe” and has developed a tool to map institutional mergers in the university sector across Europe.
EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, during the European Research and Innovation Days in September 2020, stated that excellence and inclusiveness are two sides of the same coin in the new European Research Area (ERA). EUA welcomes the European Commission’s Communication “A new ERA for Research and Innovation” released on 30 September 2020 as a starting point to making this ambition a reality.
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The Council of Europe Education Department has opened a call for best practices in promoting academic integrity in higher education institutions in Europe, under its new Best Practice Programme. The deadline is 20 August 2021. The call focuses on solutions found to promote academic integrity...view more
The European University Association (EUA), the European Students’ Union (ESU) and Scholars at Risk (SAR) join together to condemn the criminalisation of students and academics in Belarus. They call on the Belarusian authorities to protect and promote academic freedom and related fundamental rights...view more
Scholars at Risk – Ireland and ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, organise the online conference “Academic freedom and intellectual dissent” on 8 June, from 15.00 to 20.00 CEST. This conference will focus on the importance of intellectual dissent and...view more
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers the scholarship programme “Hilde Domin Programme” to support students and doctoral candidates from across the globe who are at risk of being formally or de facto denied educational or other rights in their country of origin. The application portal...view more
Scholars At Risk (SAR) organises the webinar “Free Universities: Putting the Academic Freedom Index Into Action Through the UN Human Rights Systems” on 15 April from 15.00 to 16.00 CEST. The webinar will present the Academic Freedom Index (AFi), which draws on contributions by some 2,000...view more
EUA member Free University of Brussels (ULB) has created a Solidarity Fund in order to provide support for researchers who no longer have the freedom to pursue their research in their home country, where they are threatened due to the content of their scientific work or to the opinions they have...view more
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative and the Inspireurope project organise the online Philipp Schwartz and Inspireurope Stakeholder Forum 2021 on 26 and 27 April. The event will be in English. Participants will include at-risk scholars, academic mentors,...view more
This is the first briefing in a new EUA series focused on evolving university governance. The...read more
On 14 February, Frédérique Vidal, French Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, announced plans to order the French research agency (CNRS) to conduct an enquiry into French university research focused on colonialism and race. The aim, according to Vidal, is to identify those...view more
Inspireurope organises the webinar “Psychosocial support for researchers at risk” on 10 March from 10:00 to 11:00 CET. The webinar will be followed by a 55-minutes follow-up meeting. Both are free of charge. The focus of this webinar will be on how organisations who are hosting or employing...view more
In Turkey, the practice of appointments of university rectors by the President of the Republic is generating a new wave of criticism. The recent nomination of a new rector at Bogaziçi University in Istanbul has led opposition parties, civil rights organisations and parts of the higher education...view more
Inspireurope organises the webinar ‘Hosting Researchers at Risk: How employers and hosts can help researchers make the most of their stay’ on 9 December from 10:00 to 11:00 CET. The webinar is free of charge. This webinar is for representatives of higher education institutions and other...view more
Recent months have seen important events regarding academic freedom, both in Europe and globally. There have been violations of democratic and human rights in Belarus, including threats against students and staff of universities – which were widely condemned. Last month, the Court of Justice...view more
The European University Association (EUA) and the European Students’ Union (ESU) are concerned by the grave violations of democratic and human rights that continue to be witnessed in Belarus. The two organisations strongly condemn recent threats of expulsion, dismissal or conscription into the...view more
On 6 October 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled that the Hungarian government violated EU law in 2017 when it changed its education legislation. The amendments made headlines as they ultimately led the Central European University (CEU), an EUA member, to move most of its...view more
On 10 July, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis submitted an appeal to the country’s Constitutional Court regarding an amendment passed by the Parliament that would prohibit gender studies in all education institutions. The Romanian Parliament approved the amendment to the education law on 16 June....view more
The University of Bologna, an EUA member, has launched a powerful appeal to the European Union and its member states to take prompt action in the case of Patrick George Zaky, a graduate student at the University of Bologna who was arrested at the Cairo airport on 7 February. Zaky had travelled...view more
EUA is gravely concerned by reports of academics still being held in prison for having signed the Academics for Peace petition “We Will not be a Party to this Crime”, which addressed the situation in south eastern Turkey. On 26 July 2019, the General Assembly of the Turkish Constitutional Court...view more
EUA partner Scholars at Risk released the report Obstacles to Excellence, mapping threats to academic freedom that jeopardise China’s higher education ambitions. As noted in the report, a small but growing number of international universities have responded to academic freedom concerns by...view more
Over the last decade, policy makers and universities in Europe have been paying greater attention...read more
Data collected by EUA shows that a peak in merger and clustering activities involving universities...view more
University mergers are a widely spread phenomenon in Europe. This briefing analyses the features...read more
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The Academic Freedom Index provides a robust assessment of academic freedom levels worldwide that...read more
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The European University Association (EUA), Universities UK (UUK) and the University of Leicester organised a workshop to debate the issue of University...Read more
The final USTREAM peer learning seminar, co-organised by EUA and HUMANE – Heads of University Management and Administration Network in Europe,...Read more
The second peer learning seminar addressed national and institutional approaches to delivering efficiency. The focus was to provide case studies on key...Read more
This peer learning seminar explored the existing policy frameworks for efficiency and effectiveness in higher education and the ways in which institutions...Read more