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ACA on a roll: A look back, a look ahead

With another year almost over, it is time for a brief overview of what is behind and what is ahead of ACA in 2016. 

Eventful 2015
In 2015, ACA organised 7 events in total, quite an achievement for such a small team! Besides the regular 4 European Policy Seminars (EPSs) and the Annual Conference, we co-organised 2 successful seminars with our members - the European Leaders´ Forum on 15 April in Vienna, together with our Austrian member OeAD, and a seminar on joint and double degrees, hosted in Prague in October by DZS, our member in the Czech Republic. At the traditional EPS1 What´s new in Brussels in 2015 we also celebrated the jubilee birthday of our Director, Bernd Wächter. EPS2 in March focused on alumni and EPS3 on a review of university rankings and the developments during the 12 years of their existence. The last seminar in 2015 was ACA´s response to the efforts of the European higher education actors to tackle the refugee crisis and support scholars and students from the conflict regions. 

For the first time since the creation of ACA, the Annual Conference was held in Brussels, the city where the Secretariat is based. The event was organised in cooperation with our 2 Belgian members, Wallonia Brussels Campus and Flanders Knowledge Area, as well as with the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training. This year, we looked into internationalisation strategies and how to move from the ideas to practice. 

The list of ACA events in 2016 will soon be available here

ACA was also very actively involved in research, witnessed by the conducted surveys and finalised studies. These include the StudyPortals-led project 'EduCoach – Personalised Online Advising for Study in Europe Orientation’, finalised in the first half of 2015, ACA and DAAD’s joint study on ´University Quality Indicators: A Critical Assessment´ for the European Parliament, the 'Survey on Open Education in European Higher Education Institutions' done for the European Commission’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) and the upcoming study on EU-China Researcher Mobility, a joint effort of ACA and China´s Science and Technology Talent Center (STTC). 

ACA continues to be involved in the 'Mastermind Europe' project, coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA) and realised as a Strategic Partnerships of the Erasmus+ programme. The big global project of promoting the attractiveness of European Higher Education in the world took off and ACA will be conducting a series of training seminars in Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa in the months to come. 

Last, but not least, ACA´s monthly Newsletter ‘Education Europe’ continues to provide regular updates and analyses of global, European and national developments in higher education. With more than 150 articles on EU, national and international news and analysis of higher education and research policies, ACA’s Newsletter covered an extensive range of countries–in Europe and around the world. 
ACA is deeply indebted to its members who have contributed to the newsletter by providing first-hand information on developments in their respective organisations, countries and regions. Thanks are also due to the ACA readership, who stayed loyal to the newsletter throughout the years and who gave useful feedback on the coverage and quality of newsletter articles.
The ACA Secretariat wishes all the members, readers, partners and long-time friends joyful holidays and a marvellous start of 2016!