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Germany: New internationalisation audit initiative moves forward

Like many higher education institutions around the world, universities in Germany aim to top attract international talent and compete globally. Unlike many around the world, however, many are set to receive significant attention from public authorities to assess and strengthen their internationalisation strategies, as the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the German Rectors’ Conference have introduced a new program that aims to help update and further develop existing institutional strategies for internationalisation.

The “HRK-Audit” is built around campus visits conducted by local and international experts; interviews with key university personnel; analysis of institutional profiles, missions and strategies; and the measurement of achievements. The experts will then provide recommendations for improvements or modifications to the universities’ internationalisation strategies, as well as suggestions for sustainability. The pilot phase of this project, which included six universities, has ended, with results (as yet unpublished) presented at a 30 September conference in Berlin entitled “Internationalisation in Practice: Challenges and Perspectives".

Participation in the audit programme is voluntary, but interest seems to be running high. The second phase of the project, which was formally launched on 1 September, involves some 45 universities selected out of a larger pool of applications. The initiative is funded by the Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) through 2013, with a total budget of approximately EUR 2.6 million. From 2013 onward, the universities themselves will be responsible for sustaining this kind of activity, as a result of capacity building that should occur in the context of this programme.

German Rectors’ Conference (HRK)