• 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


    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

  • e-Learning at the Coimbra Group Universities

    16 January 2012

    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

    e-Learning at the Coimbra Group Universities

  • CG ERA Consultation Response

    29 November 2011

    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 ERA Consultation Response

  • 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”

    19 May 2011

    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.”

    CG Position Paper

  • Coimbra Group Response to the Green Paper on Learning Mobility for Young People of the European Commission

    15 December 2009

    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.

    Coimbra Group comments to the European Commission’s Green Paper on Learning Mobility of Young People

  • The Coimbra Group and European Higher Education after Bologna 2010- Position Paper

    02 March 2009

    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.

    CG Position Paper

  • Coimbra Group Response to the Commission’s Green Paper: “The European Research Area: New Perspective”

    16 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.

    CGResponse-Green Paper


  • Coimbra Group – Doctoral Programmes Position Paper

    19 January 2007

    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.

    Doctoral Programmes Position Paper

  • Contribution from the Coimbra Group Universities to the discussion on the European Institute of Technology

    19 May 2006

    “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.”

    GA2006-EIT Document

    GA2006-Tartu Statement