This year’s General Assembly in the European University Association was held last week in Antwerp, Belgium. A new president, Rolf Tarrach, was elected, as well as five new Board members. I’m very thankful and humble to be one of them, in fact the first Norwegian on the Board since Lucy Smith, who did a tremendously important effort in the EUA. In other words; very big shoes to fill. I’m very thankful to the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) and the Nordic University Cooperation (NUS), who nominated me.
EUA is the strongest organisation of universities in Europe, with a broad and diverse range of member universities in the whole of Europe. In my opinion, this is a success factor for EUA, a strong mandate for addressing the European political agenda, and a broad and strong platform for interaction between European universities for mutual benefit.
Times are challenging for Europe. EUA’s vision “Strong Universities for Europe” is not only an inspiring vision for our organisation, but an expression of a political and economic reality: Europe needs strong autonomous Universities. Higher education, research and innovation is fundamental in securing European and global livelihoods, increasing competitiveness and creating sustainable growth and employment, but not least securing key values such as the freedom of speech. EUA plays a key role in securing the conditions for universities to take this responsibility.
How do you think this could best be achieved?
Where should the Board put its efforts?
A key issue in the years to come will be securing the financial basis for European universities. This will require strong efforts not only in terms of influencing European as well as national policy, but also in exploring the possibilities for increasing the philanthropic contributions to university funding. Other fundamental issues are university autonomy, quality in higher education, and research and innovation policy. You can read more about the EUA and current work and policy areas here.