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Continuous transformation of research and innovation at the European universities

The Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation has commissioned a policy report on the transformation of research and innovation at the European universities. Within the assignment, the contractor Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services and its partner Coffey Consulting have organized a workshop entitled Towards a 2030 Vision on the European Universities of the Future. It took place in Brussels on 4 March 2020. The draft policy brief was discussed by representatives of university associations and by research officers.

Transformation of universities is an all-encompassing endeavour. Even a subset, i.e., research and innovation at the European universities, contains issues which cannot be resolved uniformly. Namely, European universities have different profiles and are imbedded into national research and innovation systems. Yet, recommendations for groupings of issues can support the European universities to continue the transformation to more become more collaborative, open, transparent and society-responsive research organizations.

In the draft policy brief, agents of change are named transformation modules ​(listed hereinafter), they are interconnected and might be restructured after intensive consultation of the study contractors with stakeholders:
  • Governance and reform of legal framework;
  • Human capital and working conditions;
  • A common research agenda for universities in Europe;
  • Open science;
  • Research integrity and scientific ethics;
  • Research infrastructures;
  • Co-operation with non-academia;
  • Citizen and societal engagement.

The policy report is due mid-May 2020. The European Commission is planning to use its recommendations in designing the new document on the European Research Area (ERA), to be adopted in 2020. This year adoption of a document on the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is also planned by the Commission.
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