What's new in Brussels? Recent developments in European policies and programmes

Brussels, 20 January 2012

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a consortium of European and global agencies which support international cooperation in higher education. ACA is a think-tank which promotes innovation and internationalisation in higher education. Bernd was born in Giessen (Germany) and studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). He lives in Brussels (Belgium) and is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Bernd’s career has been focused on international higher education. In his first post, at the University of Kassel (Germany), he devised international degree programmes in cooperation with universities abroad. He later joined the British Council, before becoming the Director of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt. Moving on to Germany’s internationalisation agency DAAD, he became the head of this organisation’s European section. He subsequently became Director of Higher Education in the Brussels Socrates Office, with overall responsibility for the Erasmus Programme in Europe. In 1998, he took up his present post as the director of ACA. Bernd has published widely on international matters in higher education, and he is a frequent speaker at European and international education conferences. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Higher Education. He also works, as an expert advisor, for many international organisations.

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Jordi Curell

Jordi Curell has a law background and since 1986 has worked in different positions in the European Commission, including in DG Employment, where he was responsible for coordinating the preparation and implementation of the European Social Agenda.

Jordi Curell is presently the director responsible for Higher Education and international affairs in the European Commission, DG Education and Culture. The mission of the directorate includes supporting excellence through structural reform of Higher Education in Europe and the reinforcement of the knowledge triangle. In the context of a global competition for talent, its aim is to make Europe more attractive for students, scholars and researchers and to respond to the need for skills that are crucial for an inclusive knowledge-based economy.

This aim is achieved through policies and programmes such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and Marie Curie Actions, aiming to promote international and intersectoral mobility and partnerships, as well as to support international cooperation (including capacity building). The directorate also supports the long-term development of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a showcase for tackling societal challenges and for boosting Europe's innovation capacity.

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Siegbert Wuttig

Dr. Siegbert Wuttig studied French, Italian, History and Psychology, and is currently Director of the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation within the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The National Agency is responsible for ERASMUS, ERASMUS Mundus, Tempus and other EU third-country programmes. Dr. Wuttig coordinated many national and European projects in the field of student mobility and higher education development in the framework of ERASMUS and the Bologna Process. He was a member of different national and international committees and working groups (e.g. SOCRATES Sub-committee higher education, ASEM working group on enhancing mobility between Europe and Asia, BFUG working group on mobility, European Commission’s working group on the future of Erasmus). Dr. Wuttig was the organiser of many conferences at national and international level (e.g. the Bologna Ministerial Conference 2003 in Berlin, the ASEM Ministerial Education Conference 2008 in Berlin, the ASEM University-Business Forum 2011 in Bonn, all on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and published widely on international higher education cooperation and mobility.

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Allan Päll

Allan Päll is a political science student from Estonia and, since July 2011, the Chairperson of the European Students' Union (ESU). Immediately prior to this, he was ESU’s Vice-Chairperson. In 2007/09, he served in the Federation of Estonian Student Unions (EÜL), where he had a lead role in the areas of social policy, and student financing policy and research. He has also been closely involved in the EUROSTUDENT project in Estonia. Before being elected Chairperson, he coordinated the work of ESU on EU policies and quality assurance. He has also been leading ESU's project "Quest for Quality for Students" which looks into information provision and aims to build a quality concept from the students' perspective.

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Julie Fionda

Julie Fionda is a British official working in the European Commission since 2002. She has a background in economics and is currently policy officer with responsibility for the EU agenda for the modernisation of higher education. Julie also works on initiatives linked to graduate employability and the higher education labour market and on the development of a European student loan guarantee 'Erasmus Masters'. Earlier roles in the European Commission have included the negotiation and management of European Social Fund programmes and co-operation between Member States in the framework of peer learning and benchmarking.

Prior to joining the European Commission, Julie worked in the UK administration on regional development and social inclusion initiatives and began her career in the education sector, working on corporate development and planning.

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Ulrich Teichler

Ulrich Teichler has been a Professor at the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel), University of Kassel (Germany), since 1978. He also served as director of the Centre for 16 years.

Born in 1942, Prof Teichler has a diploma and doctoral degree in sociology. He was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Educational Research in Berlin, and has done extensive research in Japan, The Netherlands, and the US. Prof Teichler has been a part-time or visiting professor at Northwestern University, the College of Europe, Hiroshima University, and the Open University (UK). His research focuses on higher education and the world of work, comparison of higher education systems, and international mobility. He has authored or co-authored more than 1,000 publications.

Prof Teichler is a member of the International Academy of Education and the Academia Europea. He has been the president or chair of many international research networks, including the Consortium of Higher Education Researchers and EAIR (where he is also a distinguished member). Prof Teichler has received the Comenius Prize of UNESCO and Dr. h.c. of the University of Turku.

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Richard Deiss

Richard Deiss is policy officer in the unit dealing with analysis and indicator development of the Directorate General of Education and Culture of the European Commission.

Deiss has a social science background (Geography) and joined the European Commission in 1993. He worked in the Transport Directorate and in Eurostat before moving to the education policy unit in DG Education and Culture in 2002. Since 2004 Richard Deiss is working in the field of indicator based education and training analysis. This includes the preparation of an annual report on progress towards common European objectives in education and training. Deiss is participating in various OECD, Eurostat and IEA fora on education indicators and has worked on the development of new indicators in the field of civic skills, ICT skills, science graduates and more recently on mobility to underpin the new benchmark on learning mobility.

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Peter van der Hijden

Peter van der Hijden works for the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, in the Skills Unit dealing with Universities and Researchers. Dossiers of the Unit include university funding, human resources strategies, research performance assessment, researchers' training, -career and -mobility, all contributing to the creation of the 'Innovation Union' and the European Research Area (ERA).

Peter has worked for the European Commission in the field of transport (inland waterways), but his main experience lies in higher education and research: the Erasmus Programme, the modernisation agenda for universities, the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process) and the European Research Area. Peter has studied law at Nymegen, Leyden and Maastricht University. Before moving to Brussels, he worked at the University Council and the Law Research Committee of Maastricht University.

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