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The University of Barcelona (Coordinator) and the European University Association (EUA) comprise the consortium ‘SPHERE’ (Support and Promotion for Higher Education Reform Experts), an initiative funded by the European Commission. SPHERE provide training and networking for Higher Education Reform Experts (HEREs) and National Erasmus Plus Offices (NEOs) in European neighbourhood countries (former Tempus countries) since January 2015.

  • Capacity building of the nationally selected Higher Education Reform Expert teams to actively contribute to higher education reform at national level in their countries and at the level of organisations and higher education institutions.
  • Awareness raising in particular about EU higher education policy – namely the EU Modernisation Agenda – and policy developments in the EHEA, and how these policies could potentially impact partner countries.
  • Enhancing networking between Higher Education Reform Experts of different countries through a variety of regional and international activities.
  • Peer learning to allow Higher Education Reform Expert teams at different levels of knowledge and experience to learn from each other.
  • Enhancement of learning and teaching with regards to methods and approaches
  • Degrees and degree systems
  • Mobility and internationalisation
  • Governance, management and funding
  • Quality assurance (institutional, external and regional)
  • Graduate studies/doctoral education
  • An international conference, usually towards the end of the year, linking different themes and topics.
  • Two thematic seminars in different partner countries and European countries. 
  • Two study visits will be organised as a means to provide hands-on experience and peer-learning for the HERE. 
  • Around 50-60 technical assistance missions, as a means of providing targeted, hands-on support and consultancy to the HERE and the academic community and government in their respective countries.
  • Further development and maintenance of The Higher Education Reform Portal (, which will be re-launched shortly.

The University of Barcelona (UB) is one of the biggest universities in Spain and leading in terms of research. It has wide experience in the coordination of European projects, not only in the area of research but also in international cooperation in Higher Education. UB is currently coordinating two Erasmus Mundus (EM) projects with Eastern European countries (ERANET Mundus – lasting until the end of 2015 – and ERANET Plus – lasting until the end of 2016) and one with Central Asian countries (CASEU). The UB has also coordinated the IELPENA 2013 Tempus proposal with Universities in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

European University Association (EUA) is a pan-regional university association representing over 800 universities in the European Higher Education Area as well as 33 national rectors conferences. It is the leading university voice at European policy level and an active partner of the European Commission when it comes to supporting policy development and carrying out European led projects for higher education reform and development.

Senior Coordinator: Ramon Torrent (
Academic Expert: Michael Gaebel (
Academic Expert: Howard Davies (
Project Managers and main contact points: Elizabeth Colucci ( and Nicolas Patrici (
Financial Manager: Agustina Calabrese (
Website Coordinator: Henriette Stoeber (
Project Support Southern Mediterranean: Zeineb Mazouz (
Project Support Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia: Olga Bogurina (

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