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The regulatory, financial and societal environments in which universities operate are changing at an increasingly fast pace. EUA is dedicated to supporting universities in their efforts to make successful decisions, especially in areas such as governance, management, leadership, strategy, funding and human resources.

Universities are constantly working on the transformation of their operating models, structures, processes, estates and facilities.  Indeed, within the last decade, several university governance reforms have taken place, both within national systems and inside the institutions themselves, regarding the relationship between universities and public authorities and internal university organisation.

While acknowledging that there are different models for these reforms, the dialogue developed through EUA’s comparative approach outlines the basic principles and conditions that universities need to have in order to best fulfil their missions and tasks.

Universities require:

  • at the system level, a productive relationship with public authorities and an enabling regulatory framework;
  • at the institutional level, adequate internal governance models, an appropriate balance between the inclusion of diverse university communities and efficient decision-making.

Universities are facing big transformation challenges, over various timescales. Profound changes such as the green transition, evolving transnational collaboration (including the European university alliances), digital transformation (including artificial intelligence), and many others, call for skilled leadership and appropriate governance models, structures and processes.

Promoting institutional autonomy as a core principle continues to be highly relevant and important, as it supports university values. In a tense political environment, attempts to limit or undermine autonomy can take many forms. Through its work and tools, including the Autonomy Scorecard, EUA supports a structured, fact-based dialogue on governance, autonomy and efficiency, in partnership with the sector and public authorities.

The EUA Autonomy Scorecard features extensive information on the current state of university autonomy and governance reforms in Europe. In 2023, the Scorecard was updated, taking stock of university autonomy and its evolution in the past five years.

By gathering, comparing and weighing data from higher education institutions across the continent, EUA provides in-depth benchmarking of national policies with regard to university autonomy and the exchange of good practices. Since its creation, the Scorecard has become a reference point in discussions about university autonomy in Europe and beyond.

The Autonomy Scorecard is made up of a comparative summary report and individual country profiles.

Consult the latest edition of the Autonomy Scorecard

EUA explores efficiency and effectiveness in university management by examining the measures that are in place in universities across Europe and analysing national system policies that support universities in their efforts to operate more efficiently and effectively. The goal is to identify good practices and develop recommendations for further development. 

More specifically, EUA focuses on three main areas:

  • efficiency in professional, operational and support services;
  • efficiency in academic matters;
  • efficiency through strategic governance.

The “University Efficiency Hub” is an online portal that allows university practitioners and policy makers across Europe to share knowledge and hands-on experience in efficiency, effectiveness and value for money in the field of higher education. It provides information on national frameworks as well as institutional good practices and a self-evaluation tool for universities to move forward in their strategy.

Discover the University Efficiency Hub

Mergers and concentration processes are increasingly frequent as the higher education sector is faced with the double impetus of more competition and stronger cooperation. Collaboration frameworks cover a wide array of activities and can become quite complex. In order to succeed, merger processes need the right conditions.

EUA has analysed this in the report “Designing strategies for efficient funding of universities in Europe” and has developed a tool to map institutional mergers in the university sector across Europe.

Explore EUA’s university mergers tool

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