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. They need 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 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.
Under the USTREAM project, EUA explores efficiency and effectiveness in university management by examining the measures that are in place in universities across Europe and analysing national system policies that support universities in their efforts to operate more efficiently and effectively. The goal is to identify good practices and develop recommendations for further development.
More specifically, EUA focuses on three main areas:
The “University Efficiency Hub” (launched in October 2018) is an online portal that 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 increasingly frequent as the higher education sector is faced with the double impetus of more competition and stronger cooperation. 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.
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
EUA mobilised its expertise in university governance and autonomy to assist Kazakh universities in assessing their current regulatory framework and in pointing to opportunities to enhance autonomy in the sector. In the framework of the EU-supported project “Transition to university...view more
EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) evaluated nine Montenegrin higher education institutions in 2018. Based on the individual evaluation reports, IEP published in December a system review report, which examines common issues and challenges amongst the nine institutions and...view more
This report is a milestone of the EU-supported project “Transition to University Autonomy in...read more
During the course of this year EUA has been focusing on the capacity of university leaders to initiate and carry out strategic transformation programmes in a series of activities. Indeed, many universities across Europe are developing such programmes, that either seek a step change in...view more
Many European universities are initiating strategic transformation programmes that either seek a...read more
This report provides examples of government-led initiatives implemented in response to national...read more
On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament invoked Article 7, triggering a procedure to determine if Viktor Orbán’s government in Hungary has systematically breached the EU’s core values. Notably, this is only the second time the Article has been invoked in EU history, and...view more
The Hungarian government has announced plans to eliminate gender studies from the country’s list of accredited university study programmes. The Board of the European University Association (EUA) calls on the Hungarian Ministry for Human Resources to cancel its plans as gender studies are a...view more
The first USTREAM national policy dialogue event took place on 8 May in Riga, Latvia. Organised...view more
This report provides a summary of the input, discussions and findings from the first USTREAM peer...read more
The European University Association (EUA) strongly condemns the recent intimidation of academics in the Hungarian media. The pro-government magazine Figyelo listed the names of more than 200 people, calling them “mercenaries” of George Soros, a Hungarian-American...view more
On 19-20 March EUA held a two-day training seminar for partners of the TRUNAK project, focused on...view more
The TRUNAK project officially started at the end of 2017 with a kick-off meeting in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. The project, supported by the European Union under Erasmus+, seeks to enhance university autonomy in Kazakhstan. The project runs until October 2020. It is coordinated by...view more
On 6-7 November, EUA participated in an event on 'Academic Freedom and Political Oppression in the University Sector', which was co-organised by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), a think tank based in Berlin, and Scholars at Risk, an EUA partner organisation. The aim...view more
The Scorecard 2017 provides a full comparative analysis of the state of play of university autonomy in 29 higher education systems in Europe. The report complements the presentation of the main outcomes which were revealed at EUA’s annual conference “Autonomy and freedom: The future...read more
EUA has expressed in several occasions its concerns regarding the measures taken in Turkey since the attempted coup in July 2016 and keeps monitoring the evolution of the situation for the higher education sector. As of beginning of May 2017, 3900 public employees have been arrested, and even...view more
The EUA Autonomy Scorecard offers a methodology to collect, compare and weight data on university autonomy. A core set of autonomy indicators was developed to offer an institutional perspective on institutional freedom. The Scorecard is based on more than 30 different core indicators in four key...read more
This week, EUA renewed a crucial and timely European-wide dialogue on the importance of university...view more
EUA members – gathered at the University of Bergen on the occasion of the General Assembly and Annual Conference on “Autonomy and Freedom: the Future Sustainability of Universities” – express their deep concern and shock at the adoption on 4 April 2017 of legislation...view more
University autonomy and academic freedom should be more than topics of proclamation and...read more
Universities are changing. Strategy expert Claudia Nuss reflects on what it takes to successfully...read more
Academic freedom is the latest of the many victims on Hungary’s path towards an illiberal state,...read more
The Hungarian government’s clampdown on gender studies and research into migration sets a...read more
The implications of the political, economic and societal landscape in Europe are becoming ever...read more
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