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EUA Newsletter 6   20 March 2015

EUA and University of Barcelona providing Centralised Support for Higher Education Reform Experts in European Neighbourhood countries

project logoFor the next three years, the SPHERE Consortium (Support and Promotion for Higher Education Reform Experts) composed of the University of Barcelona (Coordinator) and the European University Association (EUA) will be jointly in charge of the HERE project. The project, which until recently has been managed by UNICA, provides information support, training, peer learning and networking opportunities to Higher Education Reform Experts (HEREs) and National Erasmus Plus Offices (NEOs) in 27 partner countries of the European Union (formerly: Tempus countries). Funded and managed by the European Commission (EACEA), the objective of the initiative is to improve the capacity of nationally selected HERE teams to actively contribute to higher education reform in their countries. 


In the current phase up to December 2017, each year, a conference, two international seminars and two study visits for HERE experts will be offered. In addition, a total of 150 technical assistance missions are set to provide expertise and training in priority areas identified by the individual countries. These activities will tackle a range of topics relevant to the reform of higher education systems and institutions, including degree programmes, doctoral education, mobility and internationalisation, governance and funding, teaching and learning, innovation and quality assurance. 


The first HERE activities of 2015 will be study visits to Berlin and to Brussels/Ghent, focusing on managing mobility and internationalisation, with a specific emphasis on credit mobility. A portal has been created to support the project and foster further information exchange.


Already a decade ago, between 2005 and 2007, EUA provided support for the Bologna Promoters – nominated in all Bologna countries to support the implementation of reforms. At that time, participants from non-EU Bologna countries could only participate on a cost-sharing basis. Since 2008, the EC has also provided funding for HEREs. 


Through this project EUA looks forward to more intensive exchange and collaboration with its members in the Eastern part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and with partners in the Southern Mediterranean countries. Over the past years, EUA has engaged in capacity building projects funded by TEMPUS, including ATHENA and EUREQA, and through the Arab-Euro Higher Education Conference (AECHE) Platform, which is supported by the University of Barcelona.

Policy and Projects News

EUA arguments on EFSI taken up by European Parliament

EUA’s Investment Plan campaign has entered a new phase following the publication of the draft report of the European Parliament’s committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs and on Budgets regarding the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The report will serve as a basis for the Parliament's work in the next steps of the procedure, once it is adopted by both committees in late April. 

UNI-SET Steering Committee inaugural meeting in Brussels  

EUA hosted the first meeting of the UNI-SET project Steering Committee on 11-12 March 2015 in Brussels. The Steering Committee aims to support and oversee the overall implementation of the UNI-SET project. 

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Events News

EUA Annual Conference registration open until 31 March  

Registration is still open until 31 March for EUA Annual Conference 2015, which will take place at the University of Antwerp from 16 to 17 April. 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. This year’s conference aims to enhance the visibility of research performed by universities and strengthen their impact on policy development at European level. 

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Call for contributions: 10th European Quality Assurance Forum

EUA is pleased to announce that the 10th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) will take place in London from 19 to 21 November 2015, hosted by the Quality Assurance Agency and UCL Institute of Education.

Through a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, the 2015 EQAF, entitled “Taking stock and looking forward”, will combine presentations of current developments in quality assurance with discussions on research, policy and practice that will take place in paper sessions and workshops. 

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The Sixth European University-Business Forum (U-B Forum)

Organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture, the sixth edition of the University-Business Forum focused on the theme “Partnerships for Jobs and Growth”. The U-B Forum featured high-level plenary sessions with representatives from business and higher education, DG Education and Culture, policy makers and other stakeholders.
News from Brussels

European Commission reports surge in Horizon 2020 applications  

Cuts to research funding in several EU member states, as well as the drying up of the last research programme cycle, are considered the most likely causes for the significant surge in Horizon 2020 applications. Carlos Moedas, the EU’s Research Commissioner said that competition for EU funding was bound to increase, given Horizon 2020’s focus on clustering excellence in fewer areas. 

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Next newsletter: 10 April 2015

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