Higher Education Autonomy in Europe: Supranational, National, and Institutional Trends (HEAE-SNIT) 2023-2026

This project draws on the analysis of how supranational trends are influencing HE autonomy in Europe and on how they are being translated at the national and institutional levels focusing on how its political grammar impinges on HEIs articulation of education, research, and innovation in fulfilling their missions.

The project assumes a multi-level approach: European, national, and institutional. It brings forward the role states play in mediating the challenges stemming from the HE ecosystems. It is relevant to compare contexts where the state plays a stronger regulating role (France and Finland), with those where the national dimension is salient and supranational policies tend to be resisted (Poland), those where market-driven policies are more influential (the Netherlands), and those where mixed features of state regulation and institutional autonomy prevail (Portugal). The comparison of HE systems and HEIs from these countries seeks to identify the configurations they are assuming based on the analysis of governance, institutional management, and the role of the professionals in enacting their pedagogic and research autonomy. Looking at the diverse positioning of the states and at HEIs’ dynamics the project will allow broadening the views on the impact of those drivers on the autonomy of HE systems and HEIs. Thus, it aims to map out the trends transforming European HE in the last decade.

The research questions are: how are supranational trends influencing HE autonomy in Europe? How are supranational trends being translated at the national and institutional levels? Do national policies reflect a stronger coordination by the state vis a vis market regulation? How are HEIs articulating education, research and innovation in fulfilling their missions? How do those trends impact on educational programmes and on the autonomy of academics to select research topics and projects?

The project is led by António Magalhães and Amélia Veiga at the Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies (CIPES), Portugal. Jaakko Kauko is leading the Finland’s country case team at EduKnow.

In the project participate researchers from CIPES, from the University of Porto (CIIE), the University of Aveiro, the Nicolaus Copernicus University – Poland, the Tampere University – Finland, Leiden University – The Netherlands and Institut de Recherce en Gestion – Université Paris-Est Créteil – France. The project is funded by FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.

You can find more information on the project’s main site.