The 2015 edition records worrying signals from Northern Europe, a region that has so far kept up investments in higher education and research. Concerns particularly relate to Denmark and Finland, where new governments have embarked on cost-cutting programmes for the sector.
The 2015 Observatory also confirms the highly contrasted situation of universities throughout Europe, with continued disinvestment in the field in a number of countries, including, for instance, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Serbia and Spain, while for others the main challenge is in keeping up financially with large increases in the student population (among which Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany). An increasingly common narrative is that of greater efficiency in a context of changing funding models. It is becoming more and more important for the university sector to demonstrate its contribution to society, as it is asked to deliver more with constrained or diminishing resources and show “value for money”.
See also: Public Funding Observatory