The European Universities Initiative has been at the centre of many discussions in European higher education and research for the past couple of years. Universities across the continent enthusiastically embraced the pilot phase launched by the European Commission in 2018 and the initiative is developing against a highly dynamic policy backdrop.
Addressing Europe’s key challenges and ensuring sustainable development requires the EU to have a well-functioning budget and to revisit its investment priorities. Cooperation in research and education is a key facilitator in achieving these goals and should therefore be a top investment priority for the Union in the future. The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP), the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Erasmus+ (E+) are important tools in channelling such investment, make it available to beneficiaries and provide a framework for cooperation.
As the European Union prepares the next generation of EU funding programmes for the post-2020 period, budget discussions are increasingly geared towards performance, European added value, trust and efficiency.
Despite the tremendous diversity that exists in Europe, all universities face the challenge of sustainable funding more acutely than ever. Unprecedented massification has enormously benefited European society but is also one reason for rising costs for the sector. There is also growing awareness of the increasing costs of research. These, amongst many other factors, are driving the search for new sources of income and efficiencies to sustain the funding base.