EUA Newsletter 15 | 23/09/2016
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State of the Union: Research, innovation and higher education deserve higher priority

On 14 September 2016, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made his annual State of the Union speech outlining the policy priorities for the coming year. EUA expresses its disappointment in what seems to be a continued low priority for research and higher education from the side of the European Commission.
Although Juncker gave considerable attention to growth, job creation and the situation of young Europeans, he did not once mention research, innovation or higher education and their role in creating growth and possibilities for the people of Europe. Instead, the European Commission proposes to enlarge and prolong the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), which according to an EUA study as well as other expert analysis, has failed to fund innovative projects or bring universities and industry closer together, as originally promised. EUA believes that the money would be better spent on EU grants aimed at funding for research and innovation, such as the highly successful programmes Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+. They have a longstanding track record of providing high added value but suffer from oversubscription, which leaves many top proposals unfunded.      

Moreover, with about one third of all young Europeans passing through tertiary education, EUA finds the absence of higher education in the overall policies a fundamental gap in the priorities of the European Union. Higher education institutions provide graduates with valuable skills for the labour market, which in turn feed growth and competitiveness and can play an important role in stimulating social mobility locally and nationally.

Shortly after the speech, the Commission released a package with various legislative proposals, which includes small increases for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+. However, these increases do not make up for previous cuts to Horizon 2020, nor are they large enough to address the fact that Horizon 2020 shows the lowest success rates of any framework programme so far. The financing of an enlarged guarantee for EFSI is planned to come partly from the European Investment Bank, the Connecting Europe Facility, and unused margins and fees from beneficiaries. The complete financing for the announced amount of the expansion remains unclear. 

EUA will continue to advocate for sustainable and sufficient funding for universities and for the importance of the European Research Area and the Higher Education Area for European policies, including the constructive role that universities can play at all levels.

To see the EUA press release issued after Juncker’s speech, please click here.
To read the EUA review, “One year of EFSI: What's in it for universities?,” please click here.

Photo © European Commission

Policy and Projects News

University funding under pressure: A call for dialogue at the European level

The Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU and EUA organised an informal meeting with national education and research counsellors to discuss current trends and challenges of public university funding on 21 September 2016 in Brussels. The event was part of EUA’s campaign on sustainable, sufficient and simple funding for universities.
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Higher Education Supporting Refugees in Europe: EUA partners in inHERE project

EUA will partner in a new project called “Higher Education Supporting Refugees in Europe (inHERE).” EUA’s highly-successful Refugees Welcome Map will feed into the project, which aims to address higher education access and integration of refugees. The initiative will kick off in Rome, Italy on 26 and 27 September 2016. Last year alone, more than one million refugees arrived in Europe.
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Africa-EU Harmonisation, Quality Assurance and Accreditation Initiative holds launch event

The Africa-EU Harmonisation, Quality Assurance and Accreditation Initiative (HAQAA) held its launch event on 20 September 2016 in Windhoek, Namibia. The initiative supports the implementation of the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF), which aims for the capacity development of the national and regional quality assurance (QA) and accreditation bodies in Africa, and helps the African higher education institutions in developing their own QA processes.
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Events News

Save the date: EUA Annual Conference 2017

EUA is pleased to announce that its Annual Conference will take place from 6 to 7 April 2017 at the University of Bergen in Norway. The conference will focus on university autonomy and academic freedom, both crucial for the well-functioning of universities and higher education systems. The current political, economic and societal challenges in Europe have a significant impact on universities and their role, as well as their organisation and strategy.
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EQAF 2016: Early-bird registration deadline approaching

Registration is still open for the 11th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF), which will take place from 17 to 19 November 2016 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The deadline for the early-bird registration fee is 3 October. After this date, late registration fees will apply. It is important to register as soon as possible as capacity is limited and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. 
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Call for universities to contribute to smart energy systems and communities

The European Platform of Universities in Energy Research & Education (EUA-EPUE) and the UNI-SET consortium are inviting universities to contribute to different parallel and knowledge clustering sessions at the upcoming 3rd UNI-SET Energy Clustering Event (ECE). Entitled “Universities in the Energy Transition: Focus on Smart Energy Systems and Communities,” the event will be hosted by the University Politehnica of Bucharest from 21 to 23 November 2016 in Romania.
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Members and Partners News

European University Association (EUA)
Next newsletter: 7 October 2016

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