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New evidence on the European Universities Initiative

On 22 March 2023, the European Commission published a new study exploring the state and effectiveness of national funding for the European Universities Initiative (EUI). The report was prepared by experts from the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente and ICF consulting company.

The report focuses on two major aspects:

  1. the implementation of performance-based funding (PBF) systems in the 27 EU member states and
  2. the extent to which national funding schemes can be used to support transnational university alliances, including European universities.

The main findings of the report include but are not limited to:

  1. The full cost of the alliances’ activities exceeds the combined support from the EU and national sources, the difference being covered by HEIs own resources.
  2. The financial sustainability of the alliances in the future will continue to depend heavily on EU grants and targeted national contributions.
  3. Alliances should seek to diversify their revenue sources, develop sustainable business models and increase the degree of transparency of the use of HEIs’ own resources.
  4. The Commission, member states and alliances should mobilise their joint efforts to remove the remaining regulatory barriers for the EUI.

In addition, recently all full members of European University alliances have been included in OrgReg, a reference database providing information on higher education institutions, public research organisations, research hospitals, research performing NGOs and research funding organisations. The database provides details on the composition of European university alliances, including the establishment date, the name of legal entity or geographical location. The ETER database provides further data on European university alliances including student numbers, the number of doctoral researchers, etc. The ETER and OrgReg databases are operated under the RISIS project funded through the Horizon 2020 programme.