29 March 2022 | Report

Allocating core public funding to universities in Europe: state of play & principles

Enora Bennetot Pruvot, Thomas Estermann

The turbulent economic context of the last decade has been conducive of reforms seeking to enhance efficiency and steering of universities’ use of public funds. In this publication, EUA revisits the question of public funding to universities, taking stock of the evolution since 2015.

The present analysis focuses on the main mechanisms used to determine the block grants received by universities, including the types of indicators used by public authorities currently or in the upcoming planned reforms.

The report reveals that most European countries use several instruments in allocating their block grant funding, combining the use of funding formulas with performance contracts/target-setting and maintaining a share of historical allocation. However, the financial relevance of these different instruments differs significantly.

Constant activity around funding models in the past years, discussions focused on funding mechanisms and tools rather than objectives, and recurring questions around the “ideal” funding model all make it necessary to lay out basic principles for the design of sound funding models.

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