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EUA Newsletter 5   6 March 2015

Universities sidelined from EU Investment Plan

EUA has this week published an analysis of the EU Investment Plan’s potential impact on universities. The policy brief marks a new phase in EUA’s campaign and underlines that the sector is unlikely to benefit from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), given the loan-financing mechanism the fund is built upon, and makes specific proposals to shift cuts away from Horizon 2020 to avoid damage to Europe’s long-term research capacities.

EUA continues to liaise with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the European Commission and representatives of Member States, providing them with the views of the university community. 

EUA in particular argues against creating a worrying precedent whereby research funds can be diverted for other purposes, disregarding previous formal commitments made to the Horizon 2020 programme. During the Competitiveness Council meeting held this week, Ministers acknowledged that research and innovation should be a primary focus of projects benefitting from EFSI loans, possibly by including experts in the field in the project selection mechanism. While this is a step that EUA views positively, the organisation finds it important to clarify that EFSI is not a scheme in which universities can expect to be significantly engaged.

Procedure and next steps

The European Parliament has, in recent weeks, been scrutinising the European Commission’s proposal. At the end of February, the leading committees in the procedure (Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs and on Budgets) held an exchange of views with the European Commission, after having raised a series of questions on the topic. This week both committees also held a special hearing on the issue. 

All European Parliament committees involved in the procedure are expected to adopt their respective reports in the next six weeks, and the leading committees will adopt their joint report at the end of April. 

In the meantime, EUA is coordinating actions at national level with its member National Rectors’ Conferences, notably through a joint statement issued last week . EUA has also produced an infographic for social media which can be used alongside the Policy Brief. Members are encouraged to use and share the graphic as they see fit, using the hashtag #H2020cut.  

EUA will welcome European Commissioner for Research Carlos Moedas on the occasion of its annual conference on Thursday 16 April. This conference will be an important occasion for the university sector to illustrate its role in research and innovation, express the main challenges and concerns, and thus reiterate to policy makers that, if Europe wants to be competitive in the long run, research budgets are not the place to take money from.

Summary of the EUA Policy Brief

The Association is continuing to keep its members informed on developments via the Policy Brief  it published on its website. The briefing can be summarised in the following five points:

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Policy and Projects News

Jean-Claude Burgelman addresses EUA Research Policy Working Group

At its meeting on 26 February, the EUA Research Policy Working Group (RPWG), chaired by EUA Vice-President Professor David Drewry, welcomed Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of Unit for ‘Science Policy, Foresight and Data’ in DG Research, Science and Innovation, as a guest speaker. The RPWG discussed a number of topics including the overall situation concerning the proposed Horizon 2020 budget cuts, developments relating to the European Research Area (ERA), and the EUA Annual Conference 2015.

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EUA-CDE Consultation on Capacity Building: Developing research for doctoral education

On 20 February, participants from 12 countries gathered for a Focus Group in Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, to discuss the issue of capacity building in relation to doctoral education and research. The event was held in the framework of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education’s (CDE) new policy initiative which will examine the major issues facing doctoral education in the next decade, Doctoral Education: The Shape of Things to Come.

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FRINDOC project: Tool for internationalisation of doctoral education still open for testing

The online FRINDOC tool, which self-evaluates the internationalisation of doctoral education is still open for testing. Institutions that would like to embark on the self-evaluation exercise can benefit from the tool as a guide for defining goals and how to improve as institutions.

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Events News

EUA Annual Conference: Last chance to register early bird

EUA is pleased to announce that registration is still open for the Annual Conference 2015 that will take place at the University of Antwerp from 16 to 17 April 2015. To benefit from the early bird reduced fee, you will need to register by midnight on 9 March 2015. EUA members are also encouraged to attend the EUA General Assembly prior to the main conference where the new EUA President and five new board members will be elected.

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News from Brussels

10th Anniversary of the European Charter and Code for Researchers

On 3 March the European Commission hosted a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Over 200 university Deans, Rectors and HR Managers of research institutions that have implemented the Charter and Code received the ‘HR Excellence in Research Award’ for their efforts to improve the working conditions for researchers in Europe.

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Member and Partners News

Next newsletter: 20 March 2015

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