Reporting on the progress of the European Strategy for Universities
Two new studies shed light on the progress of key initiatives of the European strategy for universities, supporting the European Education Area:
- on the state and effectiveness of national funding systems of higher education to support the European Universities Initiative, and
- on the road towards a possible Joint European Degree
National funding systems and the European Universities Initiative
The European Universities Initiative is one of the key pillars of the European Education Area. It is aimed at finding new ways of long-term structural, sustainable, and systemic cooperation between higher education institutions from all across Europe, on education, research and innovation.
The “Study on the state and effectiveness of national funding systems of higher education to support the European Universities Initiative” focuses on two aspects:
- a mapping of performance-based funding (PBF) systems in the 27 EU countries and an evaluation of their impact
- a mapping of the national funding supporting the higher education institutions participating in the European Universities Initiative, including understanding how national funding schemes such as performance-based funding can be used to support the European Universities Initiative
While national and regional funding authorities use different approaches, performance-based funding has become a widespread mechanism used by European countries to distribute core funding to higher education institutions. Some positive impacts of performance-based funding systems include:
- increased quality of teaching, learning and overall research outputs
- greater focus on student guidance and mentoring
- a more transparent way to distribute core funding to higher education institutions
- support for dialogue between higher education institutions and national funding authorities
The study provides a series of recommendations related to various aspects of national higher education funding mechanisms, including on the suitability of performance-based funding systems to support transnational universities alliances under the European Universities Initiative.
The study results will also help with the development of an investment pathway for the European Universities Initiative after 2027.This investment pathway will aim for a holistic approach by supporting alliances across their different missions, by blending European, national and regional funding.
The road towards a possible Joint European Degree
A possible joint European degree would target those joint programmes bringing together several institutions across Europe, in several languages, where students can benefit from embedded mobility opportunities and learning through interdisciplinary challenge-based approaches.
The report explores how a possible joint European Degree could be implemented and presents an assessment of the impact and feasibility of different approaches.
According to the study, the joint European degree can be gradually implemented:
- as a label, which would be selectively awarded to joint study programmes that result in the award of a joint degree, and which meet a pre-defined list of criteria agreed at European level
- as a qualification based on common European criteria, which would be awarded through an accredited joint study programme if it fulfils a pre-defined list of criteria commonly agreed across the EU
The study also presents the expected benefits of a possible joint European degree:
- Easing the combination of studies in several European countries
- Creating high quality opportunities for students and higher education institutions
- Raising the international profile of European higher education
- Promoting student’s skills and learning outcomes towards employers