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European Benchmarking Initiative Higher Education

The European Council (Nov 2007) recognises the need to accelerate reforms in HEIs, yet there is little evidence of significant progress in HEIs towards improvement of governance. This EBI-II project will build on a successful previous initiative (EBI-I) on benchmarking in higher education to support HEIs with a modern management tool to progress with institutional reforms, increased operational efficiency and the capacity for innovative changes in order to adapt to new challenges in their environment. Although the key benefits of benchmarking are wellknown, there is still a significant gap in the use of benchmarking practices in European HEIs.The target groups for the action are university leaders and decision-makers, staff at various levels from all over Europe as well as other stakeholders in the sector on the rationale for HEIs reforms. The project will focus on four key areas: governance, university-enterprise cooperation, curriculum reforms and lifelong learning. The EBI-II will produce:- four benchmarking groups of 10 universities for wide exchange, advice and best practices (with 5 workshops);- a broader online collaborative learning community;- benchmarking tools (questionnaires for data gathering, detailed reports on findings, handbooks of good practices on the four themes and a glossary of definitions, concepts and approaches of benchmarking in three languages);- two dissemination conferences associating other European networks and professional associations.This is essential in order to meet the project’s ultimate aim to create a European platform on benchmarking in Higher Education, with subcommunities both on specific themes and for groups of HEIs with similar or different characteristics. The foreseeable impact is enormous in so far as the project will clearly identify areas where institutional performance can be improved with concrete ways to do so. The impact will be both on individual HEIs and on the national and European levels, both in the higher education sector and beyond, contributing to Europe’s competitiveness, generation of economic growth and employment.
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