Archive for December, 2009

European university development – with Denmark up front

December 4, 2009

In May 2006 The European Commission identified 9 areas where changes should be made for Europe’s universities to improve their contribution to the creation of a true knowledge economy. The proposals put forward by the Commission included:

· Boost the proportion of graduates spending at least one semester abroad or in industry.

· Allow students to make use of national loans and grants wherever in the EU they decide to study or do research

· Bring procedures for the recognition of academic qualifications in line with those for professional qualifications and make European degrees more easily recognised outside Europe.

· Introduce training in intellectual property management, communi-cation, networking, entrepreneurship and team-working as part of a research career

· Refocus courses to allow greater participation at later stages of the life-cycle, thereby addressing the skills needs of Europe’s workforce, and ensuring that universities are able to adapt to Europe’s ageing population.

· Review national student fee and support schemes so that the best students can participate in higher education and further research careers whatever their background.

· Review systems for funding universities, to be more focused on outputs and give universities more responsibility for their own long-term financial sustainability, particularly in research.

· Allow universities greater autonomy and accountability, so that they can respond quickly to change.

This could include revising curricula to adapt to new developments, building closer links between disciplines and focussing on overall research areas domains (e.g. renewable energy, nanotechnology) rather than disciplines. It could also include more autonomy at individual institution level for choosing teaching and research staff.

Now, 3 years later, only the “Introduction training in intellectual property” may contain challenges for the Danish universities – well done – and on top of that the ECTS-system is fully implemented together with “Double Degree” possibilities.

However, we still have to develop maximum flexibility for the Danish university community to match the increased international competition – but these details are well under way through adjustments of the Danish University Law, due by mid year 2010.


Povl Tiedemann

December 2009