Higher Education and Research

Results of prior activities of the Council of Europe in higher education and research

Here you can find relevant information on some of the Council of Europe’s previous activities in the field of higher education and research.


Higher Education Governance

Higher education governance is an issue that is strongly connected to the Council of Europe’s key missions: protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It is also very much present in the discussions in the framework of the Bologna process.
The CDESR (Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research) launched a project on “Higher education governance” in autumn 2003.. The main objectives of the project are to contribute to the Council of Europe’s 2005 Year of Citizenship through Education as well as to the work programme of the Bologna process in 2005-2007. The project lasted three years, 2004 – 2006 and aimed to strengthen the participation of students, staff and other stakeholders in higher education governance.


Public Responsibility for Higher Education and Research

In 2003, the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR) launched a project to contribute to the discussions on public responsibility for higher education. As has been pointed out in several discussions, higher education cannot be considered a public good in the economic sense of the term, which is the origin and also established sense of the term. While a term can of course be given a new meaning in a different context – a fairly common phenomenon in language development – it is questionable whether it is worth the effort to try to redefine this term. At any rate, the politically operational dimension of the expression used by the Ministers is the public responsibility for higher education. Therefore, the CDESR Bureau suggested that the Working Party focus on this and that it include considerations on the public responsibility for research.


Legislative Reform Programme

Between 1992 and 2000, the Council of Europe carried out a programme to assist the reform of higher education, particularly through advice in draft legislation, in its then new member states in central and eastern Europe.


Access to Higher Education

In mid-90s the Council of Europe conducted a wide range of activities connected to access to higher education, with special attention given to the under-represented groups and articulation between secondary and higher education. A number of publications on different issues, from specific issues such as admission systems to the overviews of the overall situation concerning access to higher education, were produced.


Lifelong Learning for Equity and Social Cohesion

In 1998 the Council of Europe started a project on lifelong learning, in line with the priorities defined by the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in 1997, which called for a “new strategy of social cohesion”.


European Studies for Democratic Citizenship

In 1997 a project on European Studies for Democratic Citizenship was launched aiming to redefine European Studies as a university discipline and a field of research but also to work on concepts related to democratic citizenship.


Universities as Sites of Citizenship

The project focused on institutions of higher education as strategic institutions in democratic political development. It was a cross-national study, comparing universities in fifteen European countries, both new and established democracies, and fifteen colleges and universities in the United States.


Heritage of European Universities

For more than one year, from September 1999 to December 2000, more than 1000 national events as well as fifteen transnational projects were organised under the Common Heritage Campaign. Research work on the Heritage of European Universities resulted in a publication in 2002, which covers issues such as tradition and cultural heritage of universities, material heritage (museums and collections) and cultural heritage as well as the European dimension of the university heritage.


Social Sciences and the Challenges of Transition

Following the Recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Social sciences and the challenge of transition a project was launched aiming to collect information on the current state of the social science in Central and Eastern Europe. The project resulted in the Recommendation of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on Social Sciences and the challenge of transition, adopted in 2000.


Research Mission of Universities

The purpose of the project was to define a European vision of university research linked to academic teaching, a research culture based on fundamental values. The project resulted in the Recommendation of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on the Research Mission of Universities, adopted in 2000.


Language Policies in Higher Education

To contribute to the European Year of Languages 2001 the CDESR organised a round table debate on the issue of language policies in higher education.


Learning and Teaching in the Communication Society

ICT based education is one of the principal challenges facing future education policies. They form part of a general context of change, innovation and far-reaching transformations of the demands made by society on the education system. In 2001 the Education Committee and the Higher Education and Research Committee launched a new project entitled "Learning and teaching in the communication society".


Student Participation in Governance in Higher Education

In 2002 and 2003 as a part of the preparation for its Bologna seminar on student participation in higher education, the Norwegian Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs commissioned a report from the Council of Europe to survey the state of affairs with regard to formal provision for student participation as well as actual practice


Reform of Higher Education in South East Europe

The Council of Europe participated in numerous national seminars on various topics connected to the reform of higher education in South East Europe and in December 2003 organised a conference on the Implementation of the Bologna Process in South East Europe.