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Report Released on the Value(s) of European Science

With Europe’s biggest-ever research programme, Horizon 2020, now underway, Science|Business gathered several leaders in European research, industry and policy to debate the ethical questions that may arise. Their reflections, gathered in the report, are part of an effort to spotlight the ethical dimensions of this vital new EU initiative.

Download the report for free here:

The-value(s)-of-science-report

Further copies of the report can also be requested via the Science|Business website

(Editor: Richard L. Hudson, Rapporteurs: Joanne O’Dea and Diana Beech, Photography: Vivian Hertz)

10 years after the “EU Big Bang Expansion” and 15 years after Bologna: insights from the former Yugoslavia

Martina Vukasovic

It is 10 years since the largest EU enlargement wave (sometimes referred to as “EU Big Bang Expansion”) and 15 years since the formal beginning of the Bologna Process. The former Yugoslavia countries provide an interesting example of integration of the “new member states” in the Europe of Knowledge. Slovenia entered the EU in 2004 and Croatia joined last year. The other ex-YU countries are in various accession stages: Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are candidate countries, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are considered potential candidates. All have been participating in the Bologna Process (Slovenia from the beginning, Croatia as of 2001, others as of 2003), apart from Kosovo whose lack of participation is linked to its disputed statehood.

Top-down Europeanization

While there are some differences in formal positions with regards to the EU and the Bologna Process, the countries of former Yugoslavia are similar in terms of their limited influence in shaping European higher education initiatives, with Slovenia being somewhat of an exception yet seemingly not very successful or very interested in uploading particular policy preferences to the European level (Vukasovic 2014; Vukasovic and Elken 2013). What is also common is that the European dimension is very present in domestic policy making in all sectors, including higher education and the processes of EU accession and implementation of the Bologna Declaration (and subsequent documents) are very closely linked.

The latter is, at the first glance, somewhat unexpected, given that the acquis communautaire does not include any specific requirements with regards to higher education. At the second glance, one needs to recall that the EU cooperation in the area of higher education and the Bologna Process are closely intertwined (Corbett 2011; Keeling 2006) and that the lack of explicit EU competences in an area does not mean lack of domestic impact of the EU (Gornitzka 2009). In addition, as in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, in the countries of the former Yugoslavia there is a strong presence of a “return to Europe” narrative (Héritier 2005) in relation to social, political and economic transition. Many reforms were, for one reason or another, framed in relation to European initiatives, and this is in particular the case for higher education.

Apart from implementing the so-called Bologna guidelines – such as those related to the degree structure, use of a credit transfer and accumulation system, ratification of the Council of Europe Lisbon Recognition Convention or setting up a national and institutional quality assurance system in line with the European standards and guidelines (ESG) – the countries have also introduced (with varying degrees of success and support) changes that are not “covered by Bologna” but which were nevertheless part of the Bologna package of changes in legislation or other policy instruments. These include: a more integrated approach to internal governance of universities, financing of higher education (including introduction or increase of tuition fees), as well as changes in the relationship between the university and non-university sector, criteria for establishing private higher education and criteria for promotion of academic staff (Branković et al. 2014).

Interpreting and implementing European norms and values

Some of these changes, while not being explicitly part of the Bologna Process nevertheless have a European label. For example, through its Institutional Evaluation Programme the European University Association (EUA) has been effectively promoting integration of universities in the countries of former Yugoslavia. Furthermore, the EU’s TEMPUS programme, through which a total of €150 million poured in the region from 1992 to 2006 (Dolenec et al. 2014), promoted changes in some of the aforementioned aspects through setting up priorities for funded projects. However, it is not all about the “power of the purse”; such projects also provide an opportunity for mobility of students and staff and, therefore, an opportunity for persuasion of the domestic actors into desirability and appropriateness of European norms and values (see Checkel 2003 on ‘going native’ and socialization in European institutions). That of course does not mean that the attitudes towards these European norms and values are uniformly positive, though the presence of negative attitudes seems to be primarily linked to the domestic interpretations and problems in implementation and not so much to the ideological core of Bologna or related EU initiatives (Zgaga et al. 2013).

In sum, in the former Yugoslavia the European integration in higher education 10 years after the largest enlargement wave and 15 years after the Bologna Ministerial Conference has amounted to a complex combination of (a) Europeanization – a top-down process in which Europe provides a model for particular aspects of higher education, (b) cross-national policy transfer – horizontal process in which Europe provides a communication platform and (c) the so-called re-nationalization of Bologna in which the European processes are used to legitimize existing domestic policy preferences (Vukasovic 2014). With regards to its effects, the notion of differential integration and “Europe of several speeds” exists in higher education as well, as a result of institutional legacies, vested interests, domestic translations  and challenges in implementation (Westerheijden et al. 2010; Witte 2006). While both the complexity of integration and variety of its effects is evident in the so-called “old-EU” as well, the specificity of the former Yugoslav countries is the lack of the so-called “uploading-noise”: the relationship between the European and the national level in these countries is more clearly a top-down one. Whether it will remain as such remains to be seen.

 

Martina Vukasovic is a postdoc researcher in the Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG) at the Department of Sociology, Ghent University. Her research focuses on the interaction between European, national and organizational processes, primarily the emergence of the European governance layer and how it may affect changes of policy and organization in higher education, in particular in the post-Communist countries. Until recently, she was involved in a large scale research project on European integration in higher education and research in the Western Balkans, coordinated by the University of Oslo (the Higher Education: Institutional Dynamics and Knowledge Cultures research group, HEIK).

 

This entry was initially posted on Europe of Knowledge blog.

 

References

  • Branković, J., Kovačević, M., Maassen, P., Stensaker, B., and Vukasovic, M. (2014). “De-Institutionalization and Reconstruction of Higher Education Systems: The case of Western Balkan countries”. City: Peter Lang: Frankfurt.
  • Checkel, J. T. (2003). “”Going native” in Europe? Theorizing social interaction in European institutions.” Comparative Political Studies, 36(1-2), 209-231.
  • Corbett, A. (2011). “Ping Pong: competing leadership for reform in EU higher education 1998–2006.” European Journal of Education, 46(1), 36-53.
  • Dolenec, D., Baketa, N., and Maassen, P. (2014). “Europeanizing higher education and research systems of the Western Balkans”, in J. Branković, M. Kovačević, P. Maassen, B. Stensaker, and M. Vukasovic, (eds.), The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans: The Interplay Between European Ideas, Domestic Policies, and Institutional Practices. Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, pp. 61-90.
  • Gornitzka, Å. (2009). “Networking Administration in Areas of National Sensitivity – The Commission and European Higher Education”, in A. Amaral, P. Maassen, C. Musselin, and G. Neave, (eds.), The European Higher Education Area. Various Perspectives on the Complexities of a Multi-level Governance System. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. (forthcoming).
  • Héritier, A. (2005). “Europeanization Research East and West: A Comparative Assessment”, in F. Schimmelfennig and U. Sedelmeier, (eds.), The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 199-209.
  • Keeling, R. (2006). “The Bologna Process and the Lisbon Research Agenda: the European Commission’s expanding role in higher education discourse.” European Journal of Education, 41(2), 203-223.
  • Vukasovic, M. (2014). “How can and how does Europe matter? Exploring the relationship between the European initiatives in higher education and the Western Balkans higher education in theoretical and empirical terms”, in J. Branković, M. Kovačević, P. Maassen, B. Stensaker, and M. Vukasovic, (eds.), De-Institutionalization and Reconstruction of Higher Education Systems: The case of the Western Balkan countries. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, pp. 19-60.
  • Vukasovic, M., and Elken, M. (2013). “Higher education policy dynamics in a multi-level governance context: A comparative study of four post-communist countries”, in P. Zgaga, U. Teichler, and J. Brennan, (eds.), The globalisation challenge for European higher education. Convergence and diversity, centres and peripheries. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, pp. 261-286.
  • Westerheijden, D. F., Beerkens, E., Cremonini, L., Huisman, J., Kehm, B., Kovač, A., Lažetić, P., McCoshan, A., Mozuraitytė, N., Souto-Otero, M., Weert, E. d., Witte, J., and Yagci, Y. (2010). The first decade of working on the European Higher Education Area. Bologna process independent assessment volume 1: Main report. CHEPS, Enschede.
  • Witte, J. (2006). Change of degrees and degrees of change: Comparing adaptations of European higher education systems in the context of the Bologna Process, University of Twente.
  • Zgaga, P., Klemenčič, M., Komljenovič, J., Miklavič, K., Repac, I., and Jakačić, V. (2013). Higher Education in the Western Balkans: Reforms, developments, trends. Center for Education Policy Studies, Ljubljana.

CFP: Internationalization of Science, Technology and Innovation: Politics, Cooperation and Competition (28-29 November 2014, Vienna)

Dear Colleagues,

We are happy to invite submissions for the panel ‘Internationalization of Science, Technology and Innovation: Politics, Cooperation and Competition’ at the Austrian Political Science Conference to be held on the 28th -29th November 2014, at University of Vienna.

Please find the panel abstract below and German version here. Abstracts (300 words, in English or German, according to the guidelines) have to be submitted by the 31st of May 2014 here.

For enquiries, please contact the panel chairs:

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Inga Ulnicane, Lisa Sigl, Thomas König and Nina Witjes

 

Panel 8Internationalization of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI): Politics, Cooperation and Competition’; Austrian Political Science Conference, Vienna, 28-29/11/2014

Contemporary polities often are described as ‘knowledge societies’ or ‘knowledge-based economies’ highlighting the key role assigned to knowledge. Political choices have a major impact on the way knowledge is produced, diffused and utilized. Relevant political decisions are made at multiple and interconnected levels – organizational, regional, national, sectoral and global – and policy fields, in particular in areas of science, technology, innovation and higher education. In the context of global financial crisis knowledge policies have been seen as a road to the future growth and a tool to tackle major socio-economic problems.

During the last 10 years, international orientation of national and supra-national (EU) STI strategies has been further strengthened to take into account importance of Big Science projects as well to address ‘global challenges’ (e.g., climate change, health). Additionally, globalization of STI is facilitated by international organizations and forums such as OECD and the Global Research Council as well as private initiatives like the Gates Foundation. Complex interactions involved in global production and circulation of knowledge require a delicate balance between cooperation and competition (over scientific priority, talent, and resources), reviving scholarly interest in hybrid notions such as ‘a competitive cooperation’ (Merton 1942).

Overarching questions to be addressed include: What ideas, interests, values and formats are involved in designing STI internationalization strategies? How the main knowledge policy frames and paradigms (e.g. competitiveness, excellence, Grand Challenges, Responsible Research and Innovation) are interpreted and implemented in diverse contexts? What STI co-operations have been developed to address global challenges such as energy dependence? What new power relations are emerging in global production and circulation of knowledge? What are opportunities and risks of increasing international STI cooperation and competition?

Interdisciplinary papers are sought that build on and further develop theories, concepts and methods from the fields such as (but not limited to) political science, international relations, sociology of science, Science and Technology Studies and innovation studies.

The aim of the panel is to explore potential for interdisciplinary co-operation. Dedicated comments will be provided to each paper and cross-cutting issues will be addressed in general discussion. The panel will be held in English and German.