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URL hosts the 4th EUA Funding Forum, the most important in Europe


The President of the EUA, Rolf Tarrach; the Spanish Secretary for Universities, José Manuel Pingarrón; the Catalan Secretary for Universities and Research, Francesc Xavier Grau; and the Minister of Science of Portugal, Manuel Heitor, attended the forum

The event brought together 250 academics from more than 20 countries


Monday, 22 October 2018. The European University Association (EUA), the organisation representing more than 800 universities from 48 European countries, has chosen the URL to hold its Funding Forum. Around 250 experts from more than twenty countries met on 18th and 19th October at La Salle-URL for the 4th edition of this forum. It is hosted every two years by a different university. This time the topic of the event have been "frameworks that empower, universities that deliver" and the capacity of universities to achieve their challenges efficiently.

University leaders, academics and European political representatives attended the event. Among the political ones: the Spanish Secretary for Universities, José Manuel Pingarrón; the Commissioner for Education and Universities of Barcelona, Miquel Àngel Essomba; the Catalan Secretary for Universities and Research, Francesc Xavier Grau, and the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal, Manuel Heitor. The Secretary General of CRUE, María Teresa Lozano, also attended the event.

At the opening and closing ceremony, the rector of the URL, Josep Maria Garrell, explained that, except for some differences, "the EUA works at a European level, as do the rectors' conferences within each country: some contribute to university policy at a state level and the EUA does so at a continental level".

"I firmly believe that the EUA is the main lobby of European universities to build a truly European university policy. The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA) undoubtedly represented progress, but there is still a long way to go, many alliances to strengthen and policies to improve. So the EUA is very important," Garrell added.

IV Funding Forum at URL

The rector also pointed out that universities "require more resources, at least in countries where investment in higher education and research is clearly below average". He also highlighted the need to help politicians "to find the best regulation that promotes a good balance between public and private funding of universities, regardless of whether they are public or not".

The Secretary General of Universities, José Manuel Pingarrón, has defended that universities are the "main engine of development" of the regions" so they need "enough funding to carry out their mission". "Bad funding has a negative impact on social equity because it makes access to universities difficult for those with fewer resources," he added. For all these reasons, he assured that the ministry is placing universities "at the centre of its priorities" to "reverse the cuts" of the economic crisis.

The Secretary of Universities and Research, Francesc Xavier Grau, has pointed out that all the higher education agents need to take into account both global and local challenges. Grau have also said "the higher education system is key to achieve an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive society. We have to secure the necessary resources to carry out its mission with the highest quality".

IV Funding Forum at URL

On behalf of the EUA, its director of governance, finance and public policy development, Thomas Estermann, said that “since the 2008 global economic crisis, universities have been under high pressure to increase performance on multiple fronts, while competition for public funding has become fierce. Therefore, efficiency has become a focus of national higher education and R&I policies”. The EUA President Rolf Tarrach emphasized that "effectiveness" must be one of the objectives of universities.

The Funding Forum attendants had the chance to discuss about various topics as the problem of financing universities in times of "instability", the financing of the Erasmus + or Horizon Europe programmes, etc. At the same time, it has been launched the new EUA University Efficiency Centre, the site that will be shared by university professionals and political leaders.

Find all the presentations of the Funding Forum in this link.

Find all the images of the Funding Forum in this link.

For further information:
Anna Tosca and Marc R.Bleda
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Ramon Llull University
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