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Two interesting reports touching on different aspects of two of the three essential missions of universities were released in the past two months by EU institutions. The first report comes from the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission and was produced by an expert group set up in 2008 with the purpose to identify the framework for a new and more coherent methodology to assess the research produced by European universities. The report, entitled, ‘Assessing Europe’s University-Based Research’, puts forward a series of recommendations, emphasising that the assessment of university-based research should: be designed in relation to purpose and articulated objectives, and employ methodologies that are fit for purpose; combine quantitative indicator-based data with qualitative information; and be undertaken at the level of ‘knowledge clusters’, the precise scale and nature of which depends on the purpose of the research exercise. The report cautions against rankings that aim to compare entire universities only on the basis of an aggregated score and which lack validation through expert peer assessment.
The second report, commissioned by the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) of the European Parliaments to Deloitte Belgium, analyses the ways for ‘Further developing the university-business dialogue’. The study represents the consultancy’s analysis of the university-business cooperation in Europe and provides recommendations on how to further develop the existing dialogue at European level. In order to achieve the latter, the report advises that the university-business dialogue should focus on ensuring that representative examples of good practice are selected and used to support universities and enterprises interested in initiating cooperation and that within the European Commission all cooperation activities in this field should be coordinated by a Task Force bringing together all DGs involved.
For further details, please consult the full versions of the two studies.