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EUA project “USTREAM” on efficient university management

14 January 2016

Increasing societal demands, enhanced competition for public resources and changing funding modalities augment the pressure on universities to work more efficiently both in terms of management and academic practice. USTREAM – Universities for Strategic, Efficient and Autonomous Management – proposes to tackle this question.

Public authorities are eager to get more for the money invested in universities. Therefore, higher education institutions are actively seeking to improve their operations at the institutional level. Discussions about operational efficiency are taking place in many European countries. Measures include collaborations to drive down costs, such as joint procurement, asset sharing and shared services, as well as those concerning academic practice such as the rationalisation of curricula, control of student numbers or collaborations to offer joint programmes and undertake joint research. 

The USTREAM project seeks to examine the measures that are in place in universities across Europe in order to enhance efficiency at the operational level by focusing on three different areas: professional, operational and support services; academic matters; and strategic governance. It will also analyse policies at the system level that support universities in their efforts to operate more efficiently, with a view to identify good practice examples and develop recommendations to policy makers. 

The project includes a series of activities that universities can join. In the first phase of the work, the consortium will release a questionnaire for universities, and subsequently organise site visits at selected institutions. In the second phase, a series of peer-learning seminars for university managers, leaders and public authorities will facilitate the exchange of good practice in the field. 

Among the expected outcomes of the project is the development of an online efficiency self-evaluation tool that will enable institutions to set benchmarks for themselves. At the system level, national policy dialogue events will be organised to discuss the efficiency question among different stakeholders. The broader outcomes of the project will also feed into EUA’s biennial Funding Forum.

The USTREAM project consortium is composed of EUA, the Irish University Association, Universities UK, and the Central European University in Hungary. The project runs from January 2016 until December 2018 and is supported by the European Union through the Erasmus+ programme.

European University Association (EUA)

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