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The DEFINE project, the findings of which underpin the present analysis, has taken funding efficiency in higher education as the main focus of its research and activities. The project notably included the mapping of the use of funding efficiency measures such as performance-based funding, institutional mergers and excellence schemes across Europe. The empirical data collection and validation at system level was undertaken by EUA in several rounds of consultation and face-to-face interviews with national rectors’ conferences across Europe. This was complemented by an academic research and literature review carried out by the Centre for Research in Higher Education Policy (CIPES) in Portugal (Teixeira, Biscaia, Rocha 2014).

Furthermore, the universities involved in the project consortium carried out a detailed self-evaluation, which informed subsequent institutional site visits by the partners to elicit and structure feedback on their experience with the respective efficiency measure. This input was instrumental in designing international focus groups of university leaders and senior managers to identify good practice, challenges and pitfalls as well as to assess the impact of these funding efficiency measures on universities. The first outcomes were discussed with the university community at the 2nd EUA Funding Forum in October 2014 in Bergamo, Italy, which brought together over 250 stakeholders interested in university funding from 39 countries.

The outcomes of EUA’s empirical research are presented in the three thematic parts of this publication.

Designing Strategies for Efficient Funding of Universities in Europe - DEFINE Final Publication

Enora Bennetot Pruvot, Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik and Thomas Estermann

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