Work programme 2009-2012
Towards Financially Sustainable Higher Education Institutions
The first European University Association (EUA) experts conference on Towards Financially Sustainable European Higher Education Institutions was held on 7 – 8 February 2008.
EUA, since its Glasgow Declaration (April 2005) – “Strong Universities for a Strong Europe” - has promoted the topics of university governance, funding structures and leadership competencies needed to increase efficiency and innovation capacity. Autonomy, accountability and funding were equally addressed by the European Commission in its Communication of May 2006 “Delivering on the Modernisation Agenda for Universities: Education, Research and Innovation”. Most recently, the new “EUA Lisbon Declaration” (May 2007), which resulted from the 4th EUA Convention of Higher Education Institutions in March 2007 has reaffirmed its commitment to these issues through a new policy chapter addressing the challenges of “Autonomy and Funding”.
- EUA Glasgow Declaration - Strong Universities for a Strong Europe
- EUA Lisbon Declaration : Europe's Universities beyond 2010
It is within this context that EUA launched a project which is supported by the European Commission, DG Education and Culture with the aim to collect examples of good practice in cost accounting from HEIs across Europe with a specific emphasis on full cost development.
In a first step, a representative group of European universities compared their income and expenditure flows, accounting systems, legal frameworks and the movement towards full-cost accounting. The data collected by the EUA project group demonstrate the huge diversity of public funding mechanisms to be found across Europe and shows that more comprehensive mapping of current public funding models, of their legal and financial environments and of the supplementary income streams available, is required. The conference brought together policy makers, institutional leaders as well as experts on costing and funding issues, to explore the links of funding with autonomy, accountability and governance structures, discuss the results of the first phase of the project, and further explore the foundations for implementing a sound costing system and building a common costing framework in European universities.
On the basis of key-note presentations, case studies from across Europe and expert sessions, the goals of the Conference were to:
- Raise awareness of funding and financing issues.
- Identify the relationship between costing/funding and accountability, governance structures and the degree of university autonomy.
- Discuss questions of general accounting principles, comparability, costing and pricing and financial management.
- Share first findings of the EUA funding project and compare this with other findings.