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Towards European Universities – JRC study on university partnerships in Europe

The study “Mapping of European Transnational Collaborative Partnerships in Higher Education” was recently released by the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) and the Directorate-General Joint Research Center (DG JRC). The study is based on a survey carried out by the two DGs in collaboration with the Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG), Ghent University, with the purpose of mapping the international collaborations (partnerships) of European higher education institutions, to identify drivers, objectives and facilitators, as well as the main obstacles to deeper collaboration. The results were to inform the design of the pilot stage of the European Universities initiative. 

The results, based on responses from 169 university partnerships (30% response rate), largely confirm the need for and the potential added value of the European Universities initiative.


Specifically, the report shows that: 

  • The majority of partnerships considered have not achieved the level of integration foreseen through the European Universities, as the collaboration takes place for the majority at the level of departments/faculties and on specific topics – only 41% of respondents indicated an institution-wide partnership.
  • There is a solid group of partnerships that have already set the basis for participating in this initiative. 
  • There is greater scope for enhancing and ‘embedding’ mobility, particularly at Bachelor level – close to two thirds of partnerships analysed did not offer mobility at Bachelor level. This is in line with the objective of the initiative to support “mobility at all levels”.
  • There is an interest for such collaborations to further address the internationalisation of the curriculum, as well as a need for capacity building and sharing of best practices (in areas like quality assurance, recognition, but also in leadership and administrative matters).
  • There is a need to supplement the European level funding with national-level funds and to ensure sustainability.

The pilot call for the European Universities is currently open, with a deadline of 28 February 2019.