Empower European Universities http://empowereu.org Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:10:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The State of University Policy for Progress, a Dutch perspective http://empowereu.org/the-state-of-university-policy-for-progress-a-dutch-perspective/ http://empowereu.org/the-state-of-university-policy-for-progress-a-dutch-perspective/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 21:35:53 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1427 Empower European Universities presents report during panel presentation with major Dutch higher education stakeholders in Amsterdam University College

The summary of the session can be found here:Summary_AUC_EEU_1100413_final

Link to the UNU-MERIT blog: http://blog.merit.unu.edu/?p=1562

EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (1) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (2) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (3) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (4) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (5) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (6) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (7) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (8) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (9) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (10) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (11) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (12) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (13) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (14) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (15) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (16) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (17) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (18) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (19) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (20) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (21) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (22) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (23) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (24) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (25) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (26) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (27) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (28) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (29) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (30) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (31) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 (32) EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 001 EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 003 EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 007 EEU Seminar 10-04-2013 ]]>
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EEU 2012 report cited in cafebabel.co.uk http://empowereu.org/eeu-2012-report-cited-in-cafebabel-co-uk/ http://empowereu.org/eeu-2012-report-cited-in-cafebabel-co-uk/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 09:51:08 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1423 Direct link to the post: http://www.cafebabel.co.uk/article/43666/best-worst-european-university-2013.html

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The Dog Chasing its Own Tail http://empowereu.org/the-dog-chasing-its-own-tail/ http://empowereu.org/the-dog-chasing-its-own-tail/#comments Thu, 07 Mar 2013 08:07:20 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1415 New publication about EEU on European Public Affairs,  a blog written by students of the EPA MA programme in Maastricht.

Full article : http://www.europeanpublicaffairs.eu/the-dog-chasing-its-own-tail/

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Equity in Higher Education for Economic Development on Jan 31–Feb 1, 2013 http://empowereu.org/aarhus-university-would-like-to-invite-you-to-participate-in-the-symposium-equity-in-higher-education-for-economic-development-on-january-31-february-1-2013/ http://empowereu.org/aarhus-university-would-like-to-invite-you-to-participate-in-the-symposium-equity-in-higher-education-for-economic-development-on-january-31-february-1-2013/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2013 19:46:43 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1377 The objective of this symposium is for the Empower European Universities (EEU) network to discuss different patterns and levels of equity in access and success in higher education across European countries, and to formulate concrete policy suggestions for national and European Union governments.

The symposium will aim at reflecting on national and European systems to increase equity in access to higher education systems and determine how equity policies contribute to economic development in Europe. In this respect, this conference will concentrate on defining key factors which influence equity levels across Europe, e.g. parental background of students, to system-wide factors, such as selectivity and differentiation and corrective mechanisms such as financial aid schemes.

Aarhus University is honored to host this event. In Denmark there is a strong tradition of equity in the educational system. I hope that you will join us in Aarhus to discuss this important topic and use the opportunity to make your voice heard by policy makers and stakeholders in Europe.

Report can be found here: 20130201_EEU_AU – Equity in Higher Education

EEU konference gruppebillede bertel_harder_LK_609_WEB_ beterl_haarder_LK_602_WEB_ EEU_LK_574_WEB_ EEU_LK_576_WEB_ EEU_LK_580_WEB_ EEU_LK_582_WEB_ EEU_LK_587_WEB_ EEU_LK_588_WEB_ EEU_LK_591_WEB_ EEU_LK_594_WEB_ EEU_LK_606_WEB_ jo_ritzen_LK_614_WEB_ jo_ritzen_LK_618_WEB_ ]]>
http://empowereu.org/aarhus-university-would-like-to-invite-you-to-participate-in-the-symposium-equity-in-higher-education-for-economic-development-on-january-31-february-1-2013/feed/ 0
Empower European Universities Conference – December 7th 2012, Brussels, Belgium. http://empowereu.org/empower-european-universities-conference-december-7th-2012-brussels-belgium/ http://empowereu.org/empower-european-universities-conference-december-7th-2012-brussels-belgium/#comments Sun, 06 Jan 2013 17:07:01 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1323  The State of University Policy for Progress in Europe, conducted by Empower European Universities (EEU), was presented on the 7th of December in Brussels, Belgium. Prof. Ritzen (Chair of the foundation Empower European Universities, former Dutch Minister of Education, a professor at UNU-MERIT and a policy advisor at IZA) and Dr. Cécile Hoareau (researcher at UNU-MERIT and project leader of Empower European Universities) presented the main conclusions of the research.

Complete document can be found here: 20121229_EEU_Brussels_Conf

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EEU releases report the State of University Policy for Progress in Europe http://empowereu.org/eeu-releases-report-the-state-of-university-policy-for-progress-in-europe/ http://empowereu.org/eeu-releases-report-the-state-of-university-policy-for-progress-in-europe/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 19:23:23 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1283

‘Empowering’ university policies improve our economies EEU releases report the State of University Policy for Progress in Europe

Document can be found here: http://empowereu.org/publications/

Press release can be found here:

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Can universities lead Europe out of crisis? http://empowereu.org/can-universities-lead-europe-out-of-crisis/ http://empowereu.org/can-universities-lead-europe-out-of-crisis/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2012 12:17:22 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1172 Jo Ritzen on the World Blog of University World News:


Can universities save Europe from its current economic problems? I believe that university education and research can help to recreate hope and optimism for a bright future, although this will not be achieved by more Brussels bureaucracy. Cooperation could create a better Europe.

If member states would learn from each other in terms of what works and what does not work in university policy…If European education and research would compete on a European scale…

But even more important is the reclaiming of ground by European intellectuals inside and outside the university, who should organise themselves and overcome the crisis of trust between academia and society.

Up to now, European countries have learned little from one another. They prefer to make their own mistakes, ignoring the experiences of other countries.

Empower European Universities

The foundation, Empower European Universities – of which I am founder and chair – has been set up to provide a mirror for European Union member states so that they can see what they do right and what they do wrong in university policy.

EEU is funded in part by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and backstopped by the Educational Testing Service. It works with a network of 29 correspondents: one in each of the EU member countries and two in countries outside the EU that belong to the European Research Area.

EEU collects data and analyses the direct impact of government university policy on the performance of universities in teaching and research from the vantage point of its translation into society. For example, EEU analyses for EU countries how the bureaucratisation of universities depresses the innovation of a country’s economy.

EEU aims to publish an annual or biannual State of University Policy for Progress report with a ‘grading’ of the university policy of each of the EU’s member states, based on their performance and contribution to economic growth, innovation and competitiveness. But the information and analysis should be compelling.

Actions needed

Governments of EU member states should be held accountable for their policies. There should be correction mechanisms at the European level for obviously bad policies, much like the correction mechanisms for bad macro-economic policies. In that way, learning from the experiences of other countries could upgrade the university education-for-growth machine.

Learning from one another with European correction facilities is a form of regulation. We can also use the forces of competition, either in addition or as an alternative.

The idea behind competition is that students should be well informed about the qualities of individual degree courses in Europe and free to choose where they want to study, while the financial conditions would be the same as if they were to study in their home country. Subsequently, the universities that are good at attracting students would be rewarded.

The forces of competition in higher education have not been exploited in Europe, mostly because the quality of higher education has been difficult to measure. Increasingly, however, good measures are available, not in the least thanks to the EU-project on Multidimensional Ranking and the OECD’s AHELO project.

Competition would create an upward quality spiral, increase student mobility and prepare students better for an increasingly international labour market.

The creation of a new type of Erasmus programme – let’s call it Erasmus 3.0 – in which around 10% of the universities of member countries of the EU would be governed by EU legislation and partly financed through European funds by 2020, would be a step towards an EU with university quality competition.

For public research the case is simpler: it should be governed at a European level. There are clear disadvantages of small scale in many public research areas.

The current existence of a European Research Council, next to 27 national research councils – each limited in their research calling, in selection of submitted proposals and in the granting of research funds to their respective national geographical boundaries – is very inefficient.

Research excellence is heavily dependent on scale: the European scale seems to be the most logical scale for most publicly funded research activities, for reducing the costs in selecting and evaluating research proposals and for enabling high-quality research specialisation.

At the same time, social security and pension provision for universities should be organised on a European scale to allow for full mobility of university staff.

Universities could help ‘save’ Europe

Pan-European higher education and public research has the substantial promise to contribute to a ‘saving of Europe’ through universities.

It is a matter of conceiving the transition from knowledge strategies, which are mostly country specific with the idiosyncrasies of overlap and insufficient adjustment, to the globalisation of knowledge towards a common policy that ensures cohesion and convergence in a sustainable growth strategy.

It is also a matter of gaining the political support for this direction because it means a different interpretation of subsidiarity.

Subsidiarity has been interpreted as: this is no business for Europe, because we have not included it in the treaty as a European concern. Yet, the original concept of subsidiarity implied that whatever can be better done at the national scale should be done there.

University education and research can better be implemented by member states. But they need a European framework in order to achieve a vibrant Europe.

The bureaucracy of European research is at present stifling, because every European project and programme has to be handled as if one size fits all. A vibrant Europe relies on the procedures in the home country for the allocation and accounting of research funds.

The political support for more Europe is heavily dependent on the ability of Europe to act in a decentralised way with regard to implementing the European framework. The intellectual leadership role of universities seems to have dried up and needs to be redeployed for a vibrant Europe.

Pact between politics and universities

In addition, universities have done too little to show their hand in concentrating on major societal questions and coming up with potential answers. In particular the role of social science and humanities research could be strengthened.

This is part of the broader loss of trust between academia and society, despite the major improvements that have taken place in university education and research. The voice of national organisations of universities, like rectors’ conferences or university associations, or of international organisations, is not heard in politics.

European society interprets this voice principally as self-serving, while at the same time university rectors and presidents have little respect for their political leaders. They claim that the best social outcome from universities is realised by giving full autonomy to universities, without interference from government.

The university that saves Europe would, as well as being part of a European competitive space, also be trusted by society.

That university would be governed autonomously and not by detailed bureaucratic regulation, but there would be a clear understanding from society that the university is looking towards the future, focused on societal questions and constantly adjusting to the changes that are taking place in society – even if this means serious and possibly painful changes in its own house.

Europe needs a new pact between politics and universities, which relieves universities of the pressures of the electoral cycle, while still meaning they have to live up to the expectations of society.

Such a pact also requires that universities be willing to take the responsibility for far more drastic changes than have been brought about in the past. European universities should do away with the exclusion that national languages bring and revert to one European language.

Finally, it is obvious that universities could contribute much more to a vibrant Europe if they were better funded by private and public means alike. This applies to university education and research. Additional funding is an investment with substantial returns for European societies.

* Jo Ritzen is a senior policy advisor for the Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA) in Germany and founder and chair of the foundation Empower European Universities. He is also a former vice president of the World Bank’s development economics department and former president of Maastricht University. This is an extract from his IZA policy paper Can the University Save Europe?

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EEU Valkenburg Conference, 22-23 June 2012 http://empowereu.org/eeu-valkenburg-conference-22-23-june-2012/ http://empowereu.org/eeu-valkenburg-conference-22-23-june-2012/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2012 14:49:01 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1162 Materials from the EEU conference in Valkenburg, near Maastricht,
on June 22-23, 2012:

Reports of some participants:



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Jo Ritzen at the IARU Presidents Meeting http://empowereu.org/jo-ritzen-at-the-iaru-presidents-meeting/ http://empowereu.org/jo-ritzen-at-the-iaru-presidents-meeting/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2012 13:10:04 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1143 IARU Presidents Meeting
26 April 2012, Kopenhagen

Session 1. Future of careers and the impact on higher education


The position of individuals in society is closely linked to the labor market. There the hopes and aspirations of people for rewarded accomplishments are realized. The talents of people, developed and augmented in terms of cognitive and attitudinal characteristics throughout the education career, are important to function well on the labor market with a motto: the more your talents are developed, the better your chances on the labor market.

The demands for talents on the labor market are not different from those for good citizenship. There is then also no trade off in university teaching between talents needed for the labor market and for society.

The labor market continues to go through major changes, characterized by an increasing “win” of “technology” over “education” (Tinbergen, 1975). The demand for well-trained people has risen faster than the supply (which – by itself – has grown rapidly in the past decades). This metaphor could also increasingly be seen as applicable to the content of education, where the complexities of our society rise faster than can be accommodated in the delivery of education, as Elkana (2009) suggests for universities.

It is well recognized that knowledge investments (i.e. more and better education) is the driver of economic growth. Hanushek and Woessmann (2010) show: “That cognitive skill can account for growth differences within the OECD”. Tazeen (2008) similarly finds that basic (learnable) cognitive skills have a significant and positive effect on earnings and economic growth.

The mission of the “teaching university” (whether research based, community based or professionally oriented) is to contribute to the talents which count on the labor market. A new refocusing of higher education towards effectiveness and efficiency in that contribution is urgently needed (and asked for recently by President Obama in a meeting with US university presidents on Dec. 5, 2011).

Download the paper

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Interviews of EEU Conference, June 22/23, 2012 http://empowereu.org/interviews-of-eeu-conference-june-2223-2012/ http://empowereu.org/interviews-of-eeu-conference-june-2223-2012/#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2012 17:42:58 +0000 http://empowereu.org/?p=1123 The interviews of Howard Hudson with participants of the EEU Conference in June are now available:

    Cecile Hoareau

    Jo Ritzen

    Tessa Blackstone

    Lauritz Holm Nielsen

    Henning Schroeder

    John Panaretos

    Liviu Matei

    Jozsef Temesi

    Gudrun Paulsdottir

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