Sustainable Funding for Universities of the Future in Europe

Today, we publish a position urging European and national institutions to ensure sustainable funding for universities, and providing concrete recommendations for achieving this.
16th March 2020
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The leading universities of science and technology united within CESAER today publish a position reinforcing the paramount importance of including sustainable funding for universities in the upcoming shaping of the European Research Area (ERA) and European Education Area (EEA), and the development of a vision 2030 for the Universities of the Future in Europe and beyond.

Specifically, we call upon the European and national institutions to take action in five areas:

  • benchmark against the best in the world;
  • provide evidence-based balance between competitive and non-competitive funding;
  • expand support for infrastructures in research, education and innovation;
  • align with usual accounting practices and cover real costs, and;
  • assure any demand management measures safeguard key values.

Rik Van de Walle (President of CESAER and Rector of Ghent University): “Funding levels for universities across much of Europe have been dropping precariously over the last decade. Many institutions have seen their direct (block) funding streams become smaller and smaller, and forced to rely more and more on short-term competitive funding streams, increasing the pressure on these instruments and decreasing success rates to often unacceptable levels. These developments are in stark contrast to the bold ambitions expressed in and around Europe. To lead the way in tackling our global challenges, universities play a key role as the engines behind higher education and as foundations for excellent research and innovation. Our message is clear: for the future of Europe and all Europeans, we must ensure sustainable funding for universities.”

David Bohmert (Secretary General): “To ensure that Europe is a global leader in tackling the challenges of today and tomorrow, we must benchmark against the investments made by the best performers in the world. The first step is establishing a broad and solid evidence-base on funding levels and allocation models across Europe. This should then feed into the establishment of enforceable percentage of GDP targets for both (i) research & innovation, and (ii) higher education, in line with the best performers in the world. It is only with world-leading support in education, research and innovation, that European universities can contribute to shaping knowledge societies for a sustainable future in Europe and beyond.”

Please find the full position here:

For more information about this position, please contact our Secretary General David Bohmert.

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