• Coimbra Group Statement on the Multiannual financial framework (MFF)

    26 October 2020

    As new rounds of negotiations are set to take place this week between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Coimbra Group, representing 41 long-established European comprehensive, multidisciplinary universities, reiterates its call to EU and national leaders to reach an agreement that ensures appropriate funding is allocated to the EU flagship programmes Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe to meet the societal needs of the time.

    We feel the need to recall that the future of Europe will crucially depend on the support given to its young people and their commitment to the further development of Europe. We therefore once again call on the EU institutions as well as on national policy makers to strengthen their investment in Knowledge, in particular in education and research” (read our past statement here).

    Prof Thilly, Chair of the Executive Board, reaffirms that “any additional cut to an already low budget allocated to Horizon Europe is further jeopardizing the EU capacity to properly respond to the current and future crises.” He warns that “education, research and innovation must be safeguarded – not recognizing this is just a populist short-sighted view!

    In line with its long-standing advocacy for ambitious budgets for higher education, research and innovation, the Coimbra Group welcomes and strongly supports:

    • the common statement published on 21 October by the national rectors’ conferences in Germany (HRK), Austria (UNIKO) and The Netherlands (VSNU), representing 9 Coimbra Group member universities: “Last chance to invest in European higher education and research”;
    • the statement made on 19 October by Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament (European People’s Party) and Rapporteur for Horizon Europe, calling on the EU Heads of State and Government to “match the Green and Digital goals with a budget fit for this age”.

    In July 2020, fifteen European associations of universities – among which the Coimbra Group – representing more than 800 universities in Europe, united and called on European leaders to step up investment in excellent, cross-border research, education and innovation, both in the Multiannual Financial Framework from 2021 to 2027 and Next Generation EU, and to commit to putting sufficient resources behind common ambitions (#EUInvestInKnowledge).

     

    EU long-term budget negotiations Statement

  • Coimbra Group Position Paper on Digital Education Action Plan

    11 September 2020

    The Coimbra Group has submitted a position paper in reply to the European Commission public consultation on the new Digital Education Action Plan.

    This consultation was seeking to gather the views of citizens and stakeholders on their experiences and expectations during the COVID-19 crisis (both to-date and in the recovery period), as well as their visions for the future of digital education.

    This paper is largely on the basis of our May report Practices at Coimbra Group Universities in response to the COVID-19 – A Collective Reflection on the Present and Future of Higher Education in Europe.

     

    Coimbra Group Position Paper on Digital Education Plan

  • #EUInvestInKnowledge

    14 July 2020

    Fifteen European associations of universities – among which the Coimbra Group – unite and call on European leaders to step up investment in excellent, cross-border research, education and innovation, both in the Multiannual Financial Framework from 2021 to 2027 and Next Generation EU, and to commit to putting sufficient resources behind common ambitions.

    Together, the initiative’s signatories represent more than 800 universities in Europe, committed to create a better future for Europe and its citizens. The 15 associations have united before for the campaign “Seize our common future”, calling for an ambitious long-term EU budget for research, innovation and education to boost efforts to solve the manifold future challenges.

    “Both Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ are investments in our future and in our youth. They will reinforce Europe’s capacities to face today’s challenges, and those yet to come. Such challenges may take various forms and solutions will require mobilising various types of knowledge, citizens, and society” says the document released today. “We, universities of Europe, urge European leaders to step up investment in research, innovation and education to foster longterm strategic resilience, enabling Europe to strongly reinforce its role as a global leader in this respect.”

    The Chair of the Coimbra Group Executive Board believes that “any additional cut to an already low budget allocated to Horizon Europe is further jeopardizing EU capacity to properly respond to the current and future crises.” Ludovic Thilly warns that “education, research and innovation must be safeguarded – not recognizing this is just a populist short-sighted view!”

    Common statement

     

  • Joint statement from Coimbra Group Rectors’ Advisory Group and Executive Board on the next European Multiannual Financial Framework and the recovery instrument “Next Generation EU”

    16 June 2020

    The Coimbra Group welcomes the recent proposal for the next European Multiannual Financial Framework and the recovery instrument, “Next Generation EU”. It commends in particular the specific top-up allocated to the Horizon Europe programme. We would, however, wish to express our great concerns about the missing explicit support, in the recovery instrument, for Education and specifically the Erasmus+ programme. We feel the need to recall that the future of Europe will crucially depend on the support given to its young people and their commitment to the further development of Europe. We therefore once again call on the EU institutions as well as on national policy makers to strengthen their investment in Knowledge, in particular in education and research, and ask for a more ambitious budget plan which includes both Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmes in the pool of recovery instruments.

     

    16 June 2020

     

    The Coimbra Group Rectors‘ Advisory Group

    Patrick Gilli, Rector of University Paul-Valery Montpellier 3, Honorary President

    Tomáš Zima,  Rector of Charles University in Prague

    Wojciech Nowak, Rector of Jagiellonian University in Kraków

    Rosario Rizzuto, Rector of  the University of Padova

    Luc Sels, Rector of KU Leuven

    Pilar Aranda Ramírez, Rector of the University of Granada

    Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University

     

    The Coimbra Group Executive Board

    Ludovic Thilly (University of Poitiers), Chair

    Jürgen Barkhoff (Trinity College Dublin), Vice-Chair

    Cláudia Cavadas (University of Coimbra)

    Daniel Donoghue (Durham University)

    Johnny Laursen (Aarhus University)

    Dorota Malec (Jagiellonian University in Kraków)

    Lenka Rovná (Charles University in Prague)

    Efrem Yildiz Sadak (University of Salamanca)

    Elmer Sterken (University of Groningen)

    Luca Verzichelli (University of Siena)

     

    PDF version of the statement :

    Joint Statement MFF and Next Generation EU

  • Coimbra Group Universities’ responses to the COVID-19 emergency

    29 May 2020

    We are pleased to announce the publication of the report “Practices at Coimbra Group Universities in response to the COVID-19 – A Collective Reflection on the Present and Future of Higher Education in Europe”.
    This report is the result of a network-wide consultation as well as intense internal brainstorming sessions that have been carried out during the past two months following a perceived need from our member universities to exchange experiences and practices.
    It provides a snapshot of responses of Coimbra Group universities – as of April 2020 – in a range of diverse contexts and offers food for thought and recommendations on a number of issues related to higher education internationalisation, teaching and learning, doctoral education and research and innovation. What stands out overall is the agility of universities’ reaction to the unexpected and sudden challenges and their flexibility in terms of adjustment of protocols.
    We would like to warmly thank all our members for their contribution to this collective reflection and we hope that you will enjoy the reading.

     

    Practices at Coimbra Group Universities in response to the COVID-19 – A Collective Reflection on the Present and Future of Higher Education in Europe

     

  • Virtual Exchange at Coimbra Group Universities

    29 May 2020

    The Chair of the Coimbra Group Education Innovation Working Group, Francesca Helm (University of Padova), has produced a report on Virtual Exchange (VE) at Coimbra Group Universities. The document draws on the Case Study report from the EVOLVE project (where the Coimbra Group is also a team member).
    The final chapter is dedicated to “Possible Futures for Virtual Exchange for the Coimbra Group network” and it includes a few proposals for a greater involvement of the Coimbra Group in Virtual Exchange. These ideas compile also the exchanges between the Education Innovation Working Group and other CG groups, such as Academic Exchange and Mobility, and Development Cooperation.

  • Coimbra Group statement on resignation of ERC President

    09 April 2020

    The Coimbra Group expresses full support to the ERC’s Scientific Council after the announcement of the resignation of ERC President, Prof. Mauro Ferrari, on 7 April. In a statement published on 8 April, the members of the Scientific Council explain the reasons that led to the unanimous request that Prof. Ferrari resigns from his position, on 27 March.

    In the current difficult times where basic research is, once again, demonstrating its key role in solving societal challenges, the successful European instruments must be safeguarded: the ERC with its bottom-up support for excellent fundamental research, is the most effective and important one.

    The Coimbra Group applauds the European Commission for its recent initiatives promoting a true European solidarity against COVID-19: openness and solidarity have never been so important and will remain key for ensuring the resilience of Europe and European citizens now and in the future. In this challenge, Education, Research and Innovation will have roles of paramount importance: the Coimbra Group, composed of comprehensive research-led universities with strong civic missions, will continue to promote knowledge, collegiality, scientific integrity and solidarity at the service of society.

     

     

    9 April 2020

    The Coimbra Group Executive Board

    Prof. Ludovic Thilly (University of Poitiers), Chair

    Prof. Jürgen Barkhoff (Trinity College Dublin)

    Prof. Claudia Cavadas (University of Coimbra)

    Prof. Daniel Donoghue (Durham University)

    Prof. Johnny Laursen (Aarhus University)

    Prof. Dorota Malec (Jagiellonian University in Kraków)

    Prof. Lenka Rovna (Charles University – Prague)

    Prof. Efrem Yildiz Sadak (University of Salamanca)

    Prof. Elmer Sterken (University of Groningen)

    Prof. Luca Verzichelli (University of Siena)

     

     

    Download the PDF version of the statementhere.

  • Coimbra Group Statement on BREXIT

    31 January 2019

    As part of the follow-up to the meeting of the Rectors’ Advisory Board with the Executive Board on 25 January, the two bodies agree to issue a statement on behalf of the Coimbra Group on the BREXIT process, in particular to express full support to our UK colleagues and partners.

     

    Coimbra Group Statement on BREXIT

  • CG statement on the Bologna Process

    24 April 2018

    Following the debate at the High-Level Seminar “Lifelong Learning and Employability” on 24 January 2018 in Brussels, the Executive Board of the Coimbra Group initiated a discussion on the Bologna Process and current developments in higher education, notably in European Union policies. After consultation with the Rectors’ Advisory Group and Rectors at the thirty-nine member universities, the Executive Board offers the following statement on the occasion of the forthcoming EHEA2018, the Ministerial Conference of Ministers of Education of the forty-eight countries participating in the Bologna Process, to take place in Paris on 24-25 May this year.

    Coimbra Group statement

  • 21 March 2018 joint statement on the MFF

    21 March 2018

    Thirteen European research university networks united in a statement to double funding for research in the Multiannual Financial Framework

    #UniversitiesUnitedonMFF

    Open the Joint statement

  • CG statement on European Universities Networks

    12 February 2018

    The Coimbra Group Executive Board has released a statement on European Universities Networks. “The Coimbra Group Executive Board calls for urgent clarification of the concept of “European Universities Networks”. (…) Existing Higher Education networks have a crucial role to play at European level in facilitating effective cooperation based on their extensive accumulated experience and expertise. Furthermore, we recognise the need for a specific funding mechanism whereby networks can participate, in collaboration with other stakeholders, in specific supporting actions in order to facilitate these “consortia” or to enhance other aspects of the modernisation and innovation agendas relevant to smaller in-depth partnerships between universities.”

    Read the full document

  • CG position paper on FP9

    10 October 2017

    The Coimbra Group has published its policy paper

    Coimbra Group contribution to the development of the next European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, FP9

    The paper emphasises the importance of a robust and comprehensive future Framework Programme to maintain and strengthen the position of the EU as an effective and competitive knowledge economy. Researchers and innovators are key actors in the knowledge economy and it is imperative that a modernised EU budget ensures and intensifies support of research and innovation. The ninth Framework programme must have excellence at its heart, be international and include the full spectrum of research disciplines and fields. Closer links between the higher education and the research and innovation programmes must be developed and strengthened to ensure knowledge transfer to and from new generations of researchers and innovators.

  • A First Response from the CG to the Lamy Report

    31 August 2017

    In September 2016 Carlos Moedas, the EU Commissioner for research, science and innovation, mandated a 12-person high-level expert group led by former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy to set out a vision on how to maximise the impact of future EU R&I programme. The expert group, drawn from academia, industry, and government, was mandated to make recommendations intended to influence the Horizon 2020 work programme 2018-2020 and post-Horizon 2020 FP9. On 3 July 2017, the expert group chaired by Pascal Lamy published its “Lab-Fab-App” report on maximising the impact of EU R&I programme. Read the Coimbra Group’s first response to this report.

    A First Response to the Lamy Report

  • CG Position Paper on Erasmus+

    23 May 2017

    The Coimbra Group contribution to the mid-term evaluation of the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Programme is published today on 23 May 2017.

    The Expert Group underlines both successes and challenges in the paper and draws attention to “The established and respected status of Erasmus+ in Europe (and beyond) [which] comes with responsibilities for this programme. No other programme has such huge potential to shape academic exchanges – their content and their dimensionality. Consequently, Erasmus+ has the responsibility to address the major problems and challenges of Europe. Education, academic life, academic exchanges have never brought immediate solutions to urgent or long-term threats, but they have always paved the way towards successful and comprehensive long-term solutions.”

    CG Position Paper on Erasmus+

  • CG interim evaluation of Horizon 2020

    11 January 2017

    The Coimbra Group has submitted a response to the European Commission’s interim evaluation of the Horizon 2020 programme.

    “Horizon 2020 has made significant contributions to European research, innovation, growth and job creation. The commitment of the EU to support excellent research, addressing the societal challenges and supporting innovation through funding of research is laudable. Horizon 2020 has been and should continue to be an investment in the future of Europe and not an expense. The Coimbra Group supports the opportunities provided by the three-pillar approach of Horizon 2020, and we acknowledge the simplification processes achieved in Horizon 2020, including the faster turnaround time to contract, the single cost model for reimbursement of cost and the improvements made through the Participant Portal. Horizon 2020 has provided significantly added value which could not have been achieved through national activities alone. Consequently, the most important contribution the EU can make would be to boost investments in research and innovation in order to ensure sustainable growth for Europe. On the occasion of the mid-term review of the Horizon 2020 framework programme, the Coimbra Group wishes to take stock of the first two work programmes of Horizon 2020, taking into account the previous recommendations issued in 2013 and 2015 in our position papers. In particular, with members of our pan-European network being universities of high-level multidisciplinary research, special attention will be paid to the representation of all disciplines in projects financed by the Horizon 2020 programme. The present Coimbra Group contribution will focus on 9 areas of recommendation.”

    CG interim evaluation of Horizon 2020

  • Monitoring the Horizon 2020 Application and Evaluation Process

    08 August 2016

    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 Moedasin response to CG note on Monitoring the Horizon 2020 Application and Evaluation Process

  • CG position paper on U-Multirank today

    05 August 2016

    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.

    U-Multirank today

  • CG Statement on the Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education

    08 April 2016

    The Coimbra Group has published its Statement in response to the open consultation on the Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education conducted by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Education and Culture.

    The Statement addresses the three proposed priorities put forward by the European Commission:
    1. Promoting relevant teaching and learning
    2. Helping universities to become strong regional innovators
    3. Ensuring education and research functions are mutually reinforcing.

    CG Statement on the Modernisation Agenda for Higher Education

  • CG position on Erasmus+

    16 May 2014

    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

    Erasmus+ Position Paper

  • CG position on Horizon 2020

    22 February 2013

    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”.

    Coimbra Group position on Horizon 2020