Recognition is one of the key action lines in the fulfillment of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Most EHEA countries have officially committed to align their recognition processes to the principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention in 1997, and since then, important recognition tools have been developed such as the Diploma Supplement, ECTS, and qualification frameworks. The implementation of the 3-cycle system (Bachelor, Master, PhD) was also intended to contribute to transparency and facilitate recognition. 

Despite the progress made, obstacles to the smooth implementation of a fit-for-purpose recognition procedure in the EHEA still exist.

Project objectives and methodology

The main objective of the FAIR project is to support partner HEIs in identifying and subsequently overcoming obstacles in the implementation of automatic recognition. The project partners will test and apply the principles and practices outlined in the Pathfinder Group on Automatic recognition and in the European Recognition Manual for Higher Education Institutions (EAR HEI manual).

HEIs participating in the FAIR project will be part of an exercise that will be carried out in two steps (first and second trial). During the trials HEIs will be asked to provide information on the internal procedures they apply when processing applications for recognition of academic qualifications, quantitative data on the applications as well as information on the recognition decision taken by the institution.

The first trial will take place at the beginning of the project in 2015 and will serve as 'baseline assessment' of the recognition procedures. The second trial will take place in 2016 after the institutions will have implemented the recommendations by ENIC-NARICs resulting from the first trial, and it will provide the data for the impact assessment. It will thus measure potential improvements in the institutional recognition processes. 

The role of EUA within the FAIR project is to act as an “Evaluation Body”: EUA will guide HEIs before and during the trials and will carry out an assessment of the institutional recognition practices in each institution. At the end of the second trial, EUA will produce an overarching report providing an analysis of the new recognition procedures and the impact they have had: progress made, lessons learned, good practices and challenges encountered. The EUA baseline and impact assessment reports will serve as basis for the work of the ENIC/NARICs, which will elaborate a set of recommendations on how to implement automatic recognition at national and European levels.  

Project Partners

The FAIR project is carried out by a large consortium of 37 partners which includes 23 higher education institutions from Italy, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Flanders and the Netherlands, Ministries of Education and ENIC-NARICs. The European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education, the Danish Agency for Higher Education, the German and Italian Rector’s Conferences are also participating in the project. FAIR is coordinated by the Dutch organisation for international cooperation in higher education Nuffic, on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Higher Education.

Project website and further information

The project started on 1 January 2015 and will last until 30 April 2017.

For the final report please click here.

For further information on EUA’s role in the FAIR project please contact Tia Loukkola.

FAIR is funded under Erasmus + Key Action 3 – Support for policy reform - Prospective initiatives. European policy experimentations in the fields of Education and Training, and Youth: trans-national cooperation for the implementation of innovative policies under the leadership of high-level public authorities.

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