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EUA underlines the importance of preserving rare disciplines in Europe

26 October 2015

The EUA Council discussed the topic of rare and emerging disciplines in Europe at its meeting in October. Council members considered how threatened disciplines can best be preserved and maintained, in view of the fact that they are both crucial for scientific development and often of major importance for Europe’s cultural heritage.

 The discussion in the EUA Council followed on from an exploratory workshop on the same subject, held on 9 September at the headquarters of COST in Brussels, and attended by the national rectors’ conferences of France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland as well as EUA. 

In addressing this issue, EUA and its partners are seeking to initiate a common European reflection and explore avenues for joint action in order to safeguard academic disciplines that are seen as threatened, either because they are newly emerging or evolving or because they involve a small or declining number of teachers, researchers, students or study programmes. 

Concrete and urgent action was considered necessary by the EUA Council, both in the form of policy coordination at regional, national and European level and through the promotion of (international) networking within and between the relevant scientific communities. Potential measures include the establishment of observatories and other structures to monitor the development of rare disciplines and the provision of dedicated funds at regional and national level. France and Germany are among the countries that have already taken concerted action to demonstrate the relevance and raise the profile of the rare disciplines and garner political support. 

The Council also identified the need for a mapping study and overall policy coordination at the European level. The latter could take the shape of a dedicated political platform under the responsibility of the university community through the national rectors’ conferences and in the framework of EUA. In the coming months EUA, together with its members and partners, will explore how work on the rare disciplines should be taken forward.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96