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The ATHENA project contributed to the development, reform and modernisation of higher education systems in the Eastern Neighbouring partner countries Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine. As a structural measure, it was designed to support structural reform processes and the development of strategic frameworks at the national level. ATHENA ultimately aimed to enhance the quality and relevance of higher education systems in the targeted partner countries and to increase their voluntary convergence with EU developments.

Based on an in-depth assessment of system-specific needs, ATHENA contributed to:

  • foster the transfer of good practices in order to promote efficient and effective governance and funding reforms;
  • promote inclusive approaches to governance and funding reforms, involving higher education institutions, public authorities and other relevant higher education stakeholders;
  • build the capacities of universities in the partner countries to modernise the management of financial and human resources.


flag yellow lowThe ATHENA project was co-funded by the European Commission under the Tempus Programme (2012).

National Workshops

In the first year of the project national workshops were organised in each partner country. These were system-level events bringing together the main national higher education stakeholders, including university representatives and public authorities, to discuss the challenges of university autonomy and funding in the respective country. The workshops provided the opportunity to take stock of the state of play, kick-start a national policy dialogue and formulate concrete recommendations to promote governance, autonomy and funding reforms. Each workshop resulted in the development of concrete road maps for autonomy and funding reforms at national level.

Training Seminars

In the second year of the project three training seminars were organised at partner universities in the EU with expertise in the field. The aim of the training seminars was to build capacities in the partner countries to modernise university governance and funding and implement reforms at institutional level. Each seminar focused on a specific topic; one on financial management, one on autonomy and governance and one on human resource development. The main outcome of the training seminars was the development of institutional tool kits providing concrete guidelines and practical support to universities in the partner countries in the area of governance and funding.

ATHENA Benchmarking Forum

On 12-13 May 2015 all project actors gathered in a regional event to discuss the progress made towards greater autonomy and sustainable funding for universities as well as to benchmark the achievements of the three partner countries. The event brought together the relevant stakeholders also from outside of the partnership.

ATHENA Dissemination Event

On 13 May 2015 Yerevan State University hosted a special dissemination event opened to all ATHENA partners as well as interested stakeholders outside of the partnership. Delegates of the 2015 Bologna Ministerial Conference attended the event, which included a presentation of the ATHENA methodology and of the impact of the project on the Armenian reform process, as well as illustrations of other EUA activities supporting reforms as for instance the SPHERE project (centralised support for HEREs).

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