CG position paper on U-Multirank today
The CG has published a position paper on the current state of U-Multirank.
Executive Summary. Among the ever growing supply of commercial benchmark tools and league tables of higher education institutions, U-Multirank is conceptually superior in its efforts to compare alike with alike, in its broad set of indicators and its possibility to compare at both institution and subject level, based on any combination of indicators preferred by the user. In its implementation, however, present-day U-Multirank suffers from severe weaknesses, which prevent many institutions from participating or leave the participating institutions disappointed with the outcome. The strongest criticism concerns U-Multirank’s indicators, which remain weak proxies of quality for valid international comparison of institutions and the unfortunate fact that the present results are based on unverifiable data provided by the institutions themselves and on imprecise definitions that do not take national differences sufficiently into account and/or could be read differently in different national and sometimes even institutional contexts. It is therefore suggested, in particular to the sponsoring European Commission, to invest European taxpayers’ money in the years to come in the development of a high-quality and publicly accessible database of relevant basic data that can be used for meaningful benchmarking of higher education institutions.
Monitoring the Horizon 2020 Application and Evaluation Process
The Executive Board of the Coimbra Group is pleased to publish the Monitoring note as one of the outcomes of our high-level seminar on research policies held on 30-31 October last year: “Horizons 2015: First Experiences, Emerging Expectations”; Horizon 2020 from the perspective of European Research Universities. The note is produced by research support officers at Coimbra Group Universities, responsible for the handling of Horizon 2020 applications at their individual universities.
It is our hope that the note can contribute to the further development of the Horizon 2020 Programme and the updating of evaluation and assessment procedures.
Another initiative taken by the research support officers is a seminar on impact, which will be held at Aarhus University in May. Further information will be available mid-April.
Monitoring the Horizon 2020 Application and Evaluation Process
Letter from EU commissioner Carlos Moedas in response to CG note on Monitoring the Horizon 2020 Application and Evaluation Process
CG position on Erasmus+
The Coimbra Group has published its Position Paper on the Erasmus+ Programme, applauding the European Commission for the increased funding for the education, youth and sport programme at a time when in many national contexts education budgets are suffering severe cutbacks. The Erasmus+ Programme brings the promise of innovation, simplification and greater flexibility compared to previous mobility and cooperation programmes for higher education, a promise which the Coimbra Group welcomes. It further offers an important opportunity for promoting more international cooperation beyond the borders of the European Union. Nonetheless, the Coimbra Group is concerned
- that the programme’s overall approach moves away from the essential original underlying aims of the first Erasmus Programme and subsequent EU programmes, which met the needs and expectations of universities and other stakeholders and were, therefore, highly successful;
- that it will fall short of responding to the full potential of actions with partner countries;
- that it overemphasizes short term employment objectives which distort the overall higher education missions and timescales;
- that it dilutes the essential European character of previous programmes in favour of the national level;
- and that it runs a serious risk of granting greater importance to form than to substance.
Coimbra Group Executive Board, May 2014
CG position on Horizon 2020
The Coimbra Group has published its comments on the Horizon 2020 proposal from the European Commission. The Coimbra Group welcomes Horizon 2020 because of its determination to strengthen the emphasis on research excellence, its support to open, basic research and the ambition to increase European and cross-sectoral research collaboration.
The policy paper also contains the concerns of the Coimbra Group, in many cases serious concerns, in particular of the negative funding trend regarding the future Marie Skłodowska Curie actions and the virtual absence, yet again, of the social sciences and humanities in most of the defined societal challenges. The member universities of the Coimbra Group put a strong emphasis on fundamental and blue sky research and see the Humanities and Social Sciences as equal and integral parts not only of their teaching and research portfolio, but also of their contribution to society and economic development.
With its particular awareness of regional differences and the varying impact of economic and financial instability on different higher education and research systems the Coimbra Group has also expressed its concern that the progress of the past decade and a half of creating a strong and cohesive ERA may be undermined in the present crisis and that this is not sufficiently taken into consideration.
This means that, unfortunately, comments earlier published by the Coimbra Group on the European Commission’s Green Paper From Challenges to Opportunities and in connection with the ERA consultation can only be repeated: “The Coimbra Group concludes that it has been a source of considerable concern that the complexity of innovation is underestimated and along with this the vital role and creativity of university research and the diversity of research disciplines. This has given rise to the concern that a future Common Strategic Framework might neglect the fundamental role in any innovation strategy of basic research, of the cross-feeding of ideas and knowledge through increased mobility of researchers, of the need to foster spaces for researchers to meet, exchange ideas and promote entrepreneurship”.
e-Learning at the Coimbra Group Universities
The e-Learning Task Force of the Coimbra Group has produced a document on the current state of play on learning technologies and related practices at the different institutions of the Task Force.
This brief focuses on the current knowledge and experience regarding the good use of educational technology at our institutions and describes what it is, why it matters, how it works and where it is going.
The document can be used:
- To open a dialogue with senior administrators about learning technologies and their implications for your institution
- To enhance faculty development activities
- To stay up-to-date on the use of technology in your educational policies
CG ERA Consultation Response
The European Commission published an on-line consultation on the ERA Framework: “Areas of untapped potential for the development of the European Research Area (ERA)” in September this year with a response deadline on 30 November 2011. The Coimbra Group response concentrated on three major issues, the training of doctoral candidates, the concept of mobility and the absence of the humanities and social sciences in the consultation document.
CG Position Paper on the European Commission's Green Paper “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding”
On 19 May 2011 the Coimbra Group Position Paper on the European Commission’s Green Paper, “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding” was submitted to the Commission.
The Position Paper was prepared by an expert group, chaired by Prof. A. Manthos, and the DSR TF Chair, Prof. Johnny Laursen, and DSR TF member, Prof. Maria Cunha participated together with the Culture, Arts and Humanities Task Force Chair, Prof. Jürgen Barkhoff. The Executive Board discussed the paper on 4 May and decided to forward the document to the Rectors’ Advisory Group and the members of the DSR TF for comments.
The Coimbra Group concludes that “it has been a source of considerable concern to the Coimbra Group that the complexity of innovation is underestimated and along with this the vital role and creativity of university research and their diversity of research disciplines.
This has given rise to the concern that a future Common Strategic Framework might neglect the fundamental role in any innovation strategy of basic research, of the cross-feeding of ideas and knowledge through increased mobility of researchers, of the need to foster spaces for researchers to meet, exchange ideas and promote entrepreneurship.”
Coimbra Group Response to the Green Paper on Learning Mobility for Young People of the European Commission
The Executive Board of the Coimbra Group has prepared a response to the European Comission's Green Paper in consultation with the Task Force on Education, Training and Mobility and the Rectors' Advisory Group.
The response stresses the need to focus on quality mobility, on content-related definitions of mobility and on mobility of students, doctoral candidates as well as academic and administrative staff in universities.
The Coimbra Group and European Higher Education after Bologna 2010- Position Paper
The Coimbra Group Universities have enthusiastically embraced the Bologna Process, as they appreciated the added value of increased transnational transparency. With the present position paper they point towards a number of critical issues that need follow-up in the years to come.
They recommend a shift in attention from structures to contents, and encourage the Ministers of Education to take concrete measures to ensure that the degrees within the Bologna structure are based on internationally comparable learning outcomes. Alternative learning paths have to lead to certificates with titles that differ from those of the standard Bologna degrees.
Moreover they recommend that more transparency is introduced in institutional diversity, genuine support to mobility and permanent attention to the societal role of universities. They are confident that internationally attractive and competitive universities will emerge from the present process, ready to face the challenges of a globalising world.
Coimbra Group Response to the Commission’s Green Paper: "The European Research Area: New Perspective" (August 2007)
The Coimbra Group response to the Commission’s Green Paper on the European Research Area (AREA) focuses on thematic and systemic issues of importance to the CG Universities and their active contribution to an ERA, in particular.
Coimbra Group - Doctoral Programmes Position Paper
On 19 January 2007, the Executive Board of the Coimbra Group approved the attached Position Paper on Doctoral Programmes submitted by the Task Force on Doctoral Studies and Research, “The Place and Role of Doctoral Programmes in the Bologna Process”. The approval by the Executive Board followed a discussion with the Rectors’ Advisory Board at their meeting in Brussels on 19 January.
The decision to present the views of the Coimbra Group Universities on doctoral programmes was taken at the Coimbra Group General Assembly in Tartu in 2006, and doctoral programmes will also be the main theme at the forthcoming Annual Conference of the Coimbra Group in Turku on 30 May to 1 June this year. To the thirty-seven long-established, multidisciplinary European universities that constitute the Coimbra Group the doctoral degree represents the ultimate expression of the inseparable link between the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area.
As research universities of a high standing at national and international levels, the Coimbra Universities perceive the researchers who leave our universities with a doctoral degree as one of the most important contributions we can provide to innovation and development.
This is the background for the attached Position Paper, which has been prepared as the Coimbra Group contribution to the meeting of Ministers of Education in London in May this year within the framework of the Bologna Process.
The Coimbra Group Universities underline the specificity of the doctoral level as research training and encourage the Education and Research Ministers to acknowledge the definition of quality outcome at the doctoral level by the degree-awarding universities.
The full text or parts of it can be quoted freely with due reference to the origin of the quotes.
Contribution from the Coimbra Group Universities to the discussion on the European Institute of Technology
"Whilst applauding the motives that lie behind the proposal for a European Institute of Technology (EIT), the Coimbra Group is concerned that the objectives for an EIT have not been clearly articulated, and that the processes that have so far been suggested are not designed to maximise the benefits that might flow from it, and might fundamentally undermine it."Back to top