Spotlight on recognition

The “Spotlight on recognition” project aims to support staff at higher education institutions who are responsible for recognition processes and decisions by enhancing their capacities in terms of recognition procedures in compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

The project runs from July 2020 until June 2022.

One central outcome of the project is the Academic Recognition Hub, a database of resources in the field of recognition of qualifications and study periods abroad. Further project outcomes are listed below under “Objectives and activities".

For more information, please contact EUA Policy & Project Officer Helene Peterbauer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). For updates on the “Spotlight on recognition” project and EUA’s other activities in the field of academic recognition join the Academic recognition in the European Higher Education Area LinkedIn group.


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  • Background

    In addition to the multiple benefits associated with student mobility, such as European integration and exchange of knowledge, experiences and intellectual capital, the free movement of people to study within Europe is a founding principle and long-term objective of the European Higher Education Area. A crucial precondition for student (alongside staff and researcher) mobility is well-functioning, fair and transparent recognition of foreign qualifications and study periods abroad. This is achieved through recognition procedures in compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention, whereby recognition of a foreign qualification can only be refused if the recognition authority in the receiving country can prove that it is substantially different from that of the receiving country.

    According to the 2018 Bologna Process Implementation Report, decisions on recognising foreign qualifications for academic purposes are overwhelmingly in the remit of higher education institutions, as opposed to the members of the European Network of Information Centres in the European Region and the National Academic Recognition Information Centres in the European Union (ENIC-NARIC) or governments. At the same time, and despite the abundance of available tools, frameworks, documents and networks created to facilitate and support fair and transparent recognition procedures (such as the European Recognition Manual for Higher Education Institutions (EAR-HEI Manual), the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and the ENIC-NARIC networks), many reports conclude that current recognition practices fall short of expectations. Besides the 2018 Bologna Process Implementation Report, these reports include the European Students’ Union (ESU) 2018 Bologna with Student Eyes report, the recommendations of the Erasmus+ co-funded LIREQA (Linking Academic Recognition and Quality Assurance) project, and the report of the Erasmus+ co-funded FAIR (Focus on Automatic Institutional Recognition) project.

    These reports also indicate a lack of awareness among university staff responsible for recognition-related processes and decisions on the documents and tools developed to establish a common European approach to academic recognition. Against this background, it can be concluded that provision of clear information to and training of staff responsible for academic recognition is needed. They form a basic prerequisite for making recognition procedures in compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention across the European Higher Education Area a reality.

  • Objectives and activities

    The project adopts a transnational peer-learning approach through which university staff involved in recognition processes and decisions receive information, training and support in self-assessing and enhancing their recognition practices’ compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

    The following activities take place in the context of the project: 

    • The establishment and continuous development of the Academic Recognition Hub, an easily accessible online space gathering all relevant material on academic recognition and targeting university staff in charge of academic recognition across the European Higher Education Area.
    • An online training course attuned to the needs of university staff in charge of academic recognition. The course consists of several modules and it will equip recognition practitioners with substantial, practical knowledge about good practice in recognition. The modules will have a logical sequence, but can also be followed individually to cater to different knowledge levels.
    • The development of a self-assessment methodology to encourage institutions and their staff to reflect on how to improve their recognition practices in a self-guided and, thus, formative and sustainable way.
    • Focus groups gathering university staff in charge of academic recognition from across the European Higher Education Area for information dissemination, peer-learning and exchange of good practice, and to test the self-assessment methodology developed through the project.
    • A workshop in Spain specifically tailored to the needs of recognition practitioners from Spanish higher education institutions.
    • A conference to present the final project publication and to reflect on lessons learnt from the project. The event participants will have the opportunity to become familiar with the self-assessment methodology and the Academic Recognition Hub, as well as exchange on existing good practice with peers.

    These activities will support the establishment of a recognition community-of-practice open to university staff in charge of academic recognition, but also to other professionals involved in this topic.

  • Project partners

    The SPOT project is coordinated by EUA, in cooperation with the following consortium partners:


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