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2011 SEFI Student year

NEWS@SEFI 12/2011 The SEFI newsletter contains information about SEFI’s recent activities as well as a summary of the latest stories in higher engineering education in Europe and worldwide. News@sefi is sent for free to SEFI members. All previous issues are available on “members only”. All staff and students of an institution, an association or a company member of SEFI are entitled to receive free copies of the newsletter. So, if you know anybody interested in a free copy, please contact us IN THIS ISSUE: SEFI ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2012—THESSALONIKI 23-26 September 2012 Deadline for submission of abstracts: March 5, 2012 Deadline for submission of

Tomorrow’s engineers – for an attractive Europe: Working Together to Build on Europe's Excellence in Engineering Education and Research

papers: May 10, 2012

Organised jointly by SEFI, CESAER and the University of Birmingham

More information on:

29/30 March 2012

University of Birmingham, United Kingdom Programme available after January 15th


FROM THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL - European Ministers adopt conclusions on HE modernisation, mobility and a renewed agenda for adult learning

FROM MEMBERS AND PARTNERS: EU-DRIVERS CONFERENCE 2011 FROM EUA - EUA consults membership on EC proposal for next education and training programme - EUA Annual Conference 2012: ‘The Sustainability of European Universities’ FROM GRANTA DESIGN - 2012 Materials Education Symposia

FROM GERMANY - German universities discuss importance of full costing strategies and Horizon 2020 proposals FROM THE NETHERLANDS - Merger of top universities opposed


Leader: Together, they are stronger New university rankings aims for objectivity

POLYTECH’ORLÉANS - 40 years of Engineers

FROM FRANCE - Prime Minister backs controversial circular to control “Professional immigration”




FROM AAEE - 22nd annual Australasian Association for Engineering Education conference


EU plans historic rise in research funding European Commission, EIB and EIF launch new scheme to help SMEs get loans for research and innovation Eurydice launches Eurypedia

FROM CITEF - Training Engineers, Technicians and Managers for sustainable development

Thematic Forum on University-Business Cooperation


Many thanks to all those who have contributed to this issue!

2011, SEFI Student Year is ending. But cooperation with the students continues! 1

news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year and official international organizations was pretty successful in 2011, and


our challenge for 2012 will be to pursue all these successful stories. Editorial Also in 2012, applications for new European projects, with active SEFI’s Dear Members of SEFI,

partnership, will be submitted (deadline end of January and February 2012) to the European Commission, and our present and interesting pro-

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and

jects, such as EU-Drivers, ECDEAST, MODERN, STECET (TechnoTN), with-

a very Happy Year 2012!

out forgetting EUGENE, will continue. All these projects constitute a

We look forward to actively cooperate and exchange with you next year, in order to reinforce all together the image

unique opportunity to influence the policies relating to higher engineering education, to develop our network and to reinforce the visibility of SEFI.

of our Society –SEFI- in Europe and worldwide. Indeed, this can be done

Speaking about “visibility”, we would like to invite you once again to en-

only thanks to your dedication to SEFI. As you know it, and we like to re-

sure that the mention “member of SEFI –”, be put on the

peat it, “SEFI is nothing but its members!”.

web site of your institution/faculty/department… Will you need our logo,

We need your inputs, your comments and good suggestions, we need and wish to share with you new ideas, good practices, experiences, we want to promote your institution institution/company/association. Please help us to do it by sending to SEFI Headquarters regular information

we shall send it to you. So far, SEFI is composed of 408 members from 47 countries. All, they fulfill the prerequisites determined by our Statutes, all are key stakeholders in higher engineering education in Europe and in partner countries.

about what happens in your organization, in your region, in your country.

At the beginning of 2012, you will also receive the SEFI Annual report that

In order to efficiently begin the year 2012, several actions will be imple-

will describe all our 2011 activities. It will be sent in PDF to all our mem-

mented: in January, you will receive a calendar, indicating the major

bers, and once again, we cordially encourage you to circulate it in your


respective networks.







The calendar, published in December, is of course not exhaustive. If you wish to add an event of the interest of the SEFI’s community, please let

In March, we will circulate the calls for the candidatures for the 2012 Vice

us know it. It is envisaged to circulate an updated version at the end of

-Presidency and Administrative Council elections. Don’t miss this oppor-

the first semester of 2012. Not to be forgotten, this calendar was pub-

tunity to candidate and play a more active role in the activities and poli-

lished thanks to the support of our Corporate partner, Dassault Systemes.

cies of your Society. In 2012, the SEFI 2020 Strategy will be finalized, your inputs and comments will be very well appreciated.

In January, together with your membership invoice, we will send you a short document to be completed, inviting you to let us know your field of

There are for sure many other activities that could have been mentioned

expertise. Indeed, we would like to develop a data base of SEFI’s experts,

or evoked herewith (the Lisbon Flash Week, the cooperation with the

experts that might be recommended as invited speakers to other major

Students etc), but for the time being, I only would like to sincerely thank

conferences in the world.

you for your support and interest relating to SEFI, and I wish you all very relaxing Season’s holidays.

We also would like to reinforce the communication between the Headquarters, the SEFI Administrators and yourself: we need to know your

Looking forward to cooperate with you next year for the benefit of the

needs and expectations, we need to know them in order to engage SEFI

engineering education and for a more sustainable and better Society.

in necessary actions to fulfill them, for instance, projects, partnerships, themes for workshops and seminars, etc. Françoise Côme 2012 will be a very busy year! Please note already now in your diaries - or

SEFI Secretary General

tablets, or smartphones! - that next March, together with CESAER and the University of Birmingham, we shall organise our 4th European Convention for Engineering Deans. Immediately after, we shall organise, always in Birmingham, the first Assembly of the European Engineering Deans Council – to be known from now on as “EEDC aisbl”) – that will be



hosted at the SEFI Headquarters in Brussels. In September, our 40 SEFI Annual Conference will be organised in Thessaloniki, by the Aristotle University, on the theme “Engineering Education 2020: Meet the Future”. I take the opportunity of this editorial to thank in advance both Professors Hawwash and Avdelas, respectively in charge of the Convention and of the Conference. Help us to make from these events a huge success, by promoting them through your colleagues and partners.

EU-DRIVERS - European Drivers for a Regional Innovation Platform ( is funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme, is designed to improve regional cooperation between universities, private sector companies and local govern-

The European and international cooperation with partner organizations


2011 EU-Drivers Conference

ments in order to enhance the innovation capacities of European universi-

news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

ties, working at the level of deans of faculties. It aims to create a regional


innovation virtual community for exchanging good practices among all stakeholders, to find solutions for improved regional cooperation between universities, private-sector companies and regional governments, to en-

EUA consults membership on EC proposal for next education

able the communication and dissemination of reports and recommenda-

and training programme

tions through conferences and establishing a dialogue with EU authorities. Expected outcomes are a web-based European virtual community with relevant literature and examples of good practices, Pilot regional innovation partnership projects with selected groups of three decision-makers (one dean, one private company and one local government representative) contributing to the development of a sustainable leadership development programme for all relevant stakeholders especially at the regional level, annual reports on regional innovation issues with case studies and concrete examples of implementation of the knowledge triangle at the discipline level and communication and dissemination activities with annual conferences.

The European Commission (EC) published its proposal for the next European Union Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport , “Erasmus for All”, that will cover the period 2014-2020. The EC proposal will now be discussed with the Council of the EU and the European Parliament before it can be adopted. EUA, which recently published its first reaction to the Erasmus for All proposal, plans to contribute actively to these discussions on behalf of its members. In order to do so it has set up an online questionnaire (for EUA members) addressing the key issues in the proposal. EUA encourages its members to participate in this important consultation which has now been emailed to all EUA members, and is available through the EUA Com-

Project partners are: ESMU / DEAN (project leader)/HUMANE (Heads of University Management and Administration Network in Europe)/ EURADA (European Association of Development Agencies)/ AMSE (Association of Medical Schools in Europe)/ EFMD (European Foundation for Management development)/ SEFI (European Society for Engineering Education),

munity (the online extranet only accessible to EUA members). Please find the reaction of EUA: EUA_s_first_reaction_to_Erasmus_for_All_proposals (Source:

AAU (Aalborg University),.ACUP (Catalan Association of Public Universities),BSRUN (Baltic Sea Region University Network) and DUK (Danube Uni-

EUA Annual Conference 2012: ‘The Sustainability of European

versity Krems – University for Continuing Education).


The 2011 EU-Drivers conference, the second of its kind, was organised in Brussels on 1 December and was attended by approximately 100 delegates. The aim of the conference, oh which SEFI will write the Executive

Registration is now open for EUA’s Annual Conference 2012 - “The Sustainability of European Universities” that will take place at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, from 22 to 23 March.

report (F. Maffioli, J. Schibler, F. Côme, January 2012), was to discuss EU

In the context of the major changes taking place in European higher edu-

policies, EU programmes and practical initiatives of the EC to support re-

cation, the 2012 conference seeks to engage university leaders, policy-

gional specialisation, debate on the mechanisms and critical success fac-

makers and other stakeholders in rethinking higher education models.

tors to support regional performance, specialisation and competiveness

The objective is for universities to remain sustainable in the 21st century,

in a globalized world, building on universities as the driving force of the

in a world of mass higher education and growing pressures for them to

process, look into the current obstacles and opportunities for strong re-

carry out competitive, high-end research.

gional partnership and capacity building which require “collaborative leadership” between all stakeholders to implement “make things happen”. It enabled the participants to listen presentations about the S3 Initiative, to learn about the mechanisms and good practices for effective global strategic interactions, to engage in a constructive dialogue with senior officials of DG Education and Culture, DG Regio and DG Enteripse.

In the plenary sessions, a series of high-level keynote speakers (including philanthropist George Soros) will identify the most important elements of ‘sustainability’ for individual universities and for the sector as a whole. Working group sessions will enable participants to discuss in more depth specific issues affecting sustainability such as financing and tuition fees, sustainable campuses and collaborative research models.

The EU-Drivers background report on Smart Specialisation Strategy Initia-

This event will therefore be an opportunity for EUA members and the

tive is available on members and partners.

wider higher education community to consider institutional, national and

In April 2011 (19-20, dates to be confirmed in January), SEFI should orth

ganise in Leuven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the 4 (1) EU-Drivers

European strategies and action that can be implemented by individual universities to promote sustainable and successful European universities.

Workshop for the project partners. Further details will be available on

EUA members are also invited to the General Assembly, which will take

our future newsletters.

place in the morning of 22 March, where they will be updated on key EUA activities.

(1) W. 1, Brussels, September 2010, W. 2, Barcelona, November 2010, W. 3, Riga, May 2011.

The deadline for the early registration fee is 10 February 2012. After this date, late registration fees will apply.

Françoise Côme


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

A provisional programme and further information on the conference are

trial design, aerospace and nuclear engineering, bio engineering,

available on the EUA conference website.

plastics, and sustainable engineering

SEFI immediate Past-President, Dr. Anette Kolmos, will be an invited

Interactive discussion sessions

speaker to this major conference.

Socializing and networking over lunches and the Symposium dinner at a historic Cambridge College

More information: (Source:

Two poster sessions

Other actvities on the two preceeding days and following Saturday,


including a Presenter’s dinner, short courses, networking, and the CES EduPack development meeting

2012 Materials Education Symposia

More details on the individual events, including travel and housing, costs,

Materials science, as Prof. Mike Ashby argued in his opening talk for this


session, is a bridging discipline, linking the pure and applied sciences

For all SEFI members they extended the early-bird registration rate from

across many fields. Materials science and materials engineering sit at the

Dec 16 to Jan 31 and would greatly appreciate any additional publicity

intersection of many different subject areas (see figure, right), and play

to provide the event.

an important role in education and industry as they link the pure and ap-

Reports from the 2011 Materials Education Symposia are available here:

plied sciences across many fields. This breadth makes these subjects

uniquely well placed to contribute to the solution of many of today’s

More details on:

and short cources, can be found through the side-bar on the following

challenges (see themes). The interdisciplinary nature of materials teaching will be a major focus for the Symposia as we explore how materials can link different subjects together, and learn from experiences of teaching materials and processes across the curriculum. The independent academic Advisory Committee will be composed of ASM International, the

POLYTECH’ORLÉANS 40 years of Engineers

ASEE Materials Division, SEFI, FEMS, TMS, California Polytechnic State .

The Engineering school of the University of Orléans (France), is celebrat-

These events for materials educators follow on from the success of the

ing 40th years of Engineering Formation, from the 18th to the 21st Janu-

2011 symposia, which delegates praised for providing extended opportu-

ary 2012.

nities for discussion and encouraging the exchange of ideas and experi-

The celebrations will be composed of public and “private” events, all

ences related to materials teaching. The symposia fostered an atmos-

settled in Orléans, and will offer a display of Polytech’Orléans achieve-

phere of community amongst educators involved in teaching undergradu-

ments and activities. Some of the highlights will be the exhibitions “What

ate materials science across disciplines including engineering, design, and

housing for tomorrow” and “International Involvement” opened from the

science. The 2012 symposia are being coordinated by Granta Design,

18th to the 21st, as well as the following fora and conferences:

with support from an University, and the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge.


Conference on Research and development of R&D Engineers (18/01 10:30-12:00)

Based on positive feedback from participants, the advisory committee have decided that the 4th International Symposium will be limited to a


Conference on new job opportunities in eco-technologies (18/01 14:30-16:00)

similar size as the 2011 event. Similarly, the North American Symposium will be limited to 100 delegates.


Conference “Design and Engineers“ (19/01 17:00-19:00)



Conference on Mobility and Development of English language

‘Innovation and change’

‘Crossing disciplines’

‘Materials, government, and industry’

‘Architecture and design’

‘International Perspectives’ (Cambridge)

Curricula (20/01 10:00-12:00)


Conference “Present Past and Future of Polytech” (20/01 10:0012:00)

(North America) or

The agendas for the two events are now available, and the committee

More information (in French) is available on Polytech’Orléans website :

are still accepting poster submissions. Each Symposia consists of two days of presentations selected by the Aca-

Anne-Marie Jolly , Member of the SEFI Administrative Council , is Director

demic Advisory Committee.

of Polytech’Orléans.

Talks covering teaching in the following topic areas: materials science, manufacturing and processes, mechanical engineering, indus-


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

technology base and industrial competitiveness for the future". It focuses


more than ever on turning scientific breakthroughs into innovative products and services that provided business opportunities and changed peo-


ple's lives for the better. "At the same time it drastically cuts red tape, with simplification of rules

European e-Skills 2011 Conference

and procedures to attract more top researchers and a broader range of innovative businesses," the commissioner said.

The European e-Skills 2011 Conference was organised by the European Commission Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry, in partnership with DIGITALEUROPE, European Schoolnet and other leading stake-

In broad terms Horizon 2020, which the EU has given the acronym H2020, will provide a dedicated science budget of EUR24.6 billion, including a 77% increase in funding for the European Research Council (ERC).

holders. It outlined key milestones and actions that are being taken to deliver e-skills for competitiveness, growth and jobs - in particular for youth

There will be a budget of EUR17.9 billion for industrial leadership in inno-

in Europe. The event took take place on 13 December 2011 at Scotland

vation including an investment of EUR13.7 billion in key technologies,

House in Brussels. It brought together experts from governments, acade-

while EUR31.7 billion will be devoted to the major European concerns of

mia, the ICT industry (Digital Europe, Microsoft, HP, NOKIA), associations

health, food, sustainable agriculture, marine research and the bio-

(DTI, EuroCIO, INSEAD…), professional bodies and stakeholders (London

economy, energy, transport, resource efficiency and climate action

Schools of Economics, Edinburgh University, DG Education and Culture,

among other things. EUR2.8 billion are also allocated to the European In-

DG Information Society, DG Enterprise and Industry) …, who intensively

stitute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) would contribute to higher

discussed progresses accomplished relating to the implementation of the

education throughout the EU.

EU e-skills strategy, and this in view of the European e-Skills Week, that will take place from 26-30 March 2012. The conference, attended by ap-

Overall, the H2020 programme will require the support of the EU Council

proximately 120 delegates, including myself, was closed by M. Durando,

of Ministers - that is, the approval of the 27 EU member countries - as

Executive Director of the European Schoolnet. I was really impressed by

well as the European parliament, before coming into effect and a lengthy

the very high level of the presentations and of the discussions, and I am

struggle to get budget approval for all lines can be anticipated.

convinced that SEFI, and in particular its Working Group on ICT, should


carefully follow the work done in the context of this e-skills group of stakeholders, notably by participating in the European e-skills week next March.

European Commission, EIB and EIF launch new scheme to help Françoise Côme

SMEs get loans for research and innovation The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group

EU plans historic rise in research funding

launched a new guarantee facility for innovative small and medium-sized

The European Commission has proposed an historic adjustment to its re-

the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), launched in 2007,

search and innovation policies with a view to stimulating economic

that has so far helped 75 companies benefit from over €7 billion in EIB

growth and shoring up the competitiveness of the European Union. The

loans to projects enhancing European growth and competitiveness. The

plans include a EUR30 billion increase in funding and a 16-fold rise in the

new risk-sharing instrument for SMEs will be managed by the European

number of higher education students being supported in their training.

Investment Fund (EIF). In addition, the EIB and the European Commission

enterprises (SMEs) to help them access finance from banks. This builds on

are to provide extra resources for research infrastructures. Under the proposed Horizon 2020 programme for 2014-20, Brussels has

"Investing in research and innovation carried out by SMEs means that we

set out budgets totalling EUR80 billion to push forward the EU's scientific

will have more growth, sustainability and competitiveness in Europe" said

and research strategies against the background of a difficult and dramati-

European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geog-

cally changing economic environment.

hegan-Quinn. "The Risk-Sharing Finance Facility has proved to be one of

The sums dwarf anything the EU has spent on research before, and may

the most successful parts of the EU's 7th Research Framework Pro-

even challenge spending by the US, Japan and other research-oriented

gramme, and through co-operation with the EIB has already unlocked sig-

countries in some sectors. The current 2007-13 seventh framework pro-

nificant new investment for research, development and innovation."

gramme is spending EUR50 billion. “Without raising its potential through research and innovation, Europe But perhaps even more significant is the way in which, as the EU commis-

will be unable to generate the growth it needs to maintain its place in the

sioner for research Máire Geoghegan-Quinn put it, Horizon 2020

world economy," said European Investment Bank President Philippe

"provides direct stimulus to the economy and secures our science and

Maystadt. "The Risk-Sharing Finance Facility has already helped many


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

large and mid-cap companies realise their plans. With the changes we are announcing, we are confident that SMEs will now also benefit."

You can download the following: 

the final report on a survey, together with 30 examples of Univer-

The SME risk-sharing instrument (RSI) will be managed by the EIF, the EIB

sity-Business Cooperation, undertaken on our behalf by the Münster Uni-

Group subsidiary that specialises in providing risk finance to benefit mi-

versity of Applied Sciences.

cro, small and medium-sized enterprises across Europe via equity and loan guarantees. The EIF will offer banks a guarantee on part of their new loans and leases to innovative SMEs, allowing the banks to lend more and

the final report with 15 institutional case studies on the links be-

tween HEIs and businesses, undertaken on our behalf by Technopolis Ltd. These activities are part of the development and strengthening of dia-

to do so at more attractive rates. "Innovative SMEs in their start-up and early stages have particular difficulties in accessing finance," said EIF Chief Executive Richard Pelly. "The new RSFF guarantee window, the Risk-Sharing Instrument, addresses this funding gap and helps these dynamic and fast-growing SMEs to start and grow their businesses."

logue and cooperation between HEIs and businesses; a key aspect of the Commission's agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education systems ( This is also reflected in the Commission's proposal for the next generation of the Education and Training Programme: Ersamus for All (2014 2020), which was adopted by the Commission on 23 November 2011

The amendment to the existing RSFF agreement was signed by Commis-


sioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and by EIB President Philippe Maystadt at the start of the 2011 Innovation Convention in Brussels. It is expected to


unlock a further €6 billion of loans until the end of 2013, including up to €1.2 billion for SMEs and up to €300 million for research infrastructures. From 2014, in conjunction with new instruments for equity finance, the Commission intends to scale up and expand the RSFF under the proposed Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. (Source:

FROM THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL European Ministers adopt conclusions on HE modernisation, mobility and a renewed agenda for adult learning Ministers meeting at the Council of EU (Education Committee) in Brussels late November adopted a resolution on a renewed European agenda for adult learning and conclusions on several important HE-related issues in-

Eurydice launches Eurypedia

cluding the modernisation of higher education and a new mobility benchEurydice, the Commission’s Network providing information on education systems and policies in Europe, has this month launched Eurypedia, the

mark. They also agreed to modify the EU's financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries.

European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems. The online

The resolution on the renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning

tool covers 38 European school and university systems within the 33

adopted by Ministers aims to continue, complement and consolidate

countries participating in the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme.

work in the field of adult learning under the four strategic objectives identified by the Council in the "ET2020" strategic framework.

By choosing a country from the interactive map, users can gain access to specific national education system information, either in English or in the

The Council also adopted conclusions on the modernisation of higher

language of the country. The information is provided by the Eurydice Na-

education ( )in response to the recent Com-

tional Units, working with their relevant education ministry and national

munication from the European Commission: ‘Supporting growth and jobs


- an agenda for the modernisation of Europe’s higher education sys-

Find out more under:

tems’ (published in September 2011). The conclusions welcome the communication and emphasise the crucial role of higher education in achieving the Europe 2020 strategy goals, which set the ambitious target that


"by 2020 the share of 30-34 year olds who have completed tertiary or equivalent education should be at least 40 %.

Thematic Forum on University-Business Cooperation The speeches and presentations from the Thematic Forum (see also our

Ministers also adopted conclusions on the proposal of a benchmark for

report in News@SEFI 11/2012), which took place at the University of

learning mobility, to “complement the five existing reference levels of

Twente in the Netherlands on 21-22 November are now available at

European average performance” ("benchmarks"), agreed under the stra-

tegic framework for European cooperation in education and training ("ET 2020") and to be collectively achieved by 2020. The new benchmark

On the website you will also find the results of work undertaken these

states that by 2020, “an EU average of at least 20 % of higher education

past months to produce a solid background to the theme of University-

graduates should have had a period of higher education-related study or

Business Cooperation and get a better understanding of the current

training (including work placements) abroad, representing a minimum of

situation of University-Business Cooperation in Europe.

15 ECTS credits or lasting a minimum of three months”. This announce-


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

ment comes at a time when the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) is also

However, the debate in Berlin showed that funding schemes such as the

debating how to refine and measure the Bologna Process mobility bench-

EU’s Seventh Framework Programme have also been an important

mark of 20%, agreed in Leuven/Louvain in 2009.

driver for German universities to start developing full costing methodologies. Therefore participants expressed their disappointment and con-

The Council has also made an important modification to its funding instruments for cooperation with industrialised countries (ICI). While in the past the ICI was restricted to industrialised countries, under ‘ICI plus’ funds can also be used in collaboration with emerging countries (such as Brazil, China, India and Iraq). This has implications for the Erasmus Mundus programme, for example, and all higher education external actions that promote international partnerships. Regarding the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) it was stated that, in the future, flexibility for using funds for covering tax expenses could be granted on a case by case

cern about the recent proposal of the European Commission for the rules of participation for the future EU research funding programme “Horizon 2020” that does not foresee the option to recover the full indirect costs. “This would be a clear step backwards”, pointed out Thomas A.H. Schöck, Head of Administration at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and spokesman of the German Kanzler Working Group on European Affairs. Participants called upon EUA and the HRK to voice this concern in the ongoing debate at EU and national level and to put out clear statements. (Source:

basis, but not in principle. This has and continues to be an issue, as for example VAT charges that incur in cooperation with university partners in developing countries had to be borne by the universities. EUA has frequently lobbied for changes regarding the DCI, most recently in the EU


consultation on the financing of external actions. ET2020 strategic framework:

Merger of top universities opposed


Plans for three major Dutch universities to merge are opposed by more than half of their academics and students, according to a survey published on Thursday.


The University of Leiden, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam hope to collect more research money by cooperating

German universities discuss importance of full costing strategies

intensively and may even merge in due time. But they face strong opposi-

and Horizon 2020 proposals


The “EUIMA-Full Costing Country Workshop Germany”, jointly organised

The survey shows that 61% of academics are against the merger. Only 7%

with the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) brought together 60 repre-

of scientists and 10% of students think merging is a great idea. The survey

sentatives from German universities, research organisations, public au-

was conducted by Erasmus Magazine, the university magazine of Rotter-

thorities and international experts to discuss the implementation of full


costing. At Delft University of Technology even more people oppose a merger. A The workshop clearly demonstrated that full costing is an important issue

survey by the university newspaper Delta shows that 72% of scientists

for German universities. Margret Wintermantel, HRK President, under-

and students are against it. Most people are concerned that the three

lined the connection between greater financial autonomy and the need

universities - with 55,000 students between them - will become a gigantic

for financial sustainability:“Full costing is not only a technical issue, but it

moloch, destroying its constituent parts. They fear bureaucracy, redun-

can be used in a strategic way providing universities with the information

dancies and the loss of their universities' good names.

needed to develop approaches towards financial sustainability.” The three universities all have different areas of excellence. Delft is espeHowever, universities first need to be able to implement this tool, which

cially known for applied technology, Rotterdam for economy, manage-

might also imply changes in regional and national law. The diversity of

ment and medicine and Leiden for fundamental beta sciences, law and

possible approaches towards the implementation of full costing was illus-

humanities. "The specialties of the three universities complement each

trated by good practice examples from universities in different German

other," said the president of the executive board of Delft University of

Länder as well as other European countries, such as Sweden, the Nether-

Technology, Dirk-Jan van den Berg. "By cooperating we could attract

lands and the United Kingdom.

more research money, better scientists and students."

How cooperation between universities and funding bodies can help in de-

He emphasised that universities in emerging economies are getting bet-

veloping full costing methodologies for research funding was highlighted

ter every year and the rich universities are getting even richer. The three

by the example of UK universities working together with the Research

universities have stressed that it is too early to talk about merging.

Councils. “However, you should not implement full costing just because it is a requirement from a funder, but because of its strategic usefulness for

"Currently we are looking at how different departments could comple-

your university management” underlined Gareth MacDonald, Head of As-

ment and strengthen each other. We're not discussing a merger at the

surance at Research Councils UK.

moment," said Jacco Neleman, spokesperson for Erasmus University Rotterdam. The survey held at Rotterdam shows that only 4% of academics


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

and students oppose cooperating at all. "There is definitely support for

Rankings, and second only to Switzerland (seven universities) on a per

more cooperation," Neleman concluded.

capita measure of value for money. But the government is not satisfied

Cooperation has been discussed, partly in secret, by the three universities since 2009. The discussions related to a strategic agenda that every university has to provide in May 2012 to Under-secretary of Education Halbe Zijlstra. The universities decided to develop this agenda together.

with that and wants a Dutch institution in the top 50. To this end it is trying to get institutions to pool their research expertise by specialising in certain areas. A merger between the universities of Erasmus, Delft and Leiden is being considered, looking at a model similar to that of the University of California. Leiden's rector Paul van der Heijden insists that this

"The merging of universities has become an international trend," said

is the only way to break the US-UK rankings dominance. But he admits it

Frans van Vught, internationalisation expert and former rector at the

is "not a very Dutch thing to do" and is a controversial move in a country

University of Twente. "Several universities in Denmark, Germany and

that is fiercely egalitarian, where "if you say you want to be the best, peo-

England have merged, for example. All for more or less the same reason:

ple think you are an arrogant prick", as one professor says in our cover

to compete internationally and to create a larger investment capacity,


particularly in research. "I believe the merging of the three Dutch universities could result in an excellent university. But only if they focus on bringing the best departments together. "To be successful internationally as a university one has to be rich, rather than very big," Vught said. Many oppose merging because of the poor reputation the Netherlands has regarding mergers in higher education.

"This is a world where the winner takes all," says Pauline van der Meer Mohr, president of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is well aware of the risks of a merger, especially when staff and students are not in favour, as a survey there shows, but writes in her blog: "Sometimes it feels as though we spend more time relaxing the sceptics than chasing the dream."

In 2003 several universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) merged as

Successful as the Dutch are on the world stage, though, how are they far-

Inholland, becoming an institution with 37,500 students. In 2005 an edu-

ing in attracting UK students? The lure is, of course, an undergraduate

cation inspection concluded that the level of education of several courses

tuition fee of about £1,500 and the fact that much of the teaching is in

had declined. In 2010 the Dutch press reported cases of diploma fraud at

English. The oft-quoted example is that of Maastricht University, which


has been all over the UK media in the past year. Apparently, a record


number of UK students took up a place in September, more than double that of the previous year and seven times that for 2009. But UK universities need not panic just yet: the figures are not as exciting as the percent-

Leader: Together, they are stronger

ages, at just 137, 49 and 19.

To compete on the world stage, universities are increasingly considering mergers as a way to enhance status and expertise International competitiveness is stepping up. Universities are trying to enhance their reputations and research standing, increase their visibility and climb the world rankings, both straightforwardly and in more unconventional ways. Building a world-class institution takes time, but in Saudi Arabia where there is much cash but little patience, academic big-hitters are being offered incentives to add the name of an institution to their research papers in a bid to propel it up the rankings. "Universities buy people's reputations all the time," astronomer Gerry Gilmore of the University of Cambridge and now a King Abdulaziz University affiliate told Science. "In principle, this is no different from Harvard hiring a prominent researcher."


New university ranking aims for objectivity A new university ranking seeks to use a sophisticated set of bibliometric indicators to rate scientific performance to establish the world's top 500 research universities. The Leiden Ranking 2011/2012 aims to provide highly accurate measurements of the scientific impact of universities and of universities' involvement in scientific collaboration. Of the top 20 universities, 18 are from the United States and two from Switzerland (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and ETH Zurich). The Massachusetts Institute of Technology heads the table, followed by

In Sweden, where mergers are very much the order of the day as educa-

Princeton with Harvard in third place. Cambridge is the top UK university

tion minister Jan Björklund tackles a demographic decline in the univer-

in 31st place, with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

sity-age cohort, three institutions - the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm

the highest placed university outside the US and Europe in 58th place.

University and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology - have announced

The US has 127 universities in the 500, followed by Germany (39), the UK

that they are in merger talks. This super-university would be the largest

(36), China (31), Italy (25) and Japan (24).

in northern Europe, specialise in four areas that would be responsible for

The ranking, based on more than 25 years of bibliometric experience at

40 per cent of all Swedish research, and have a budget of more than SEK9

the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden Univer-

billion (£841 million). And, of course, would boast combined rankings

sity in The Netherlands, is claimed to offer more advanced indicators of


scientific impact and collaboration and uses a much more transparent

Another country eyeing mergers is the Netherlands, already a rankings star, being third behind the US and UK with 12 of its 13 research universities in the top 200 in this year's Times Higher Education World University


methodology than other rankings. Unlike the Times Higher Education or QS World University Rankings, it does not draw on reputational surveys or on data provided by the univer-

news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

sities themselves, which it dismisses as subjective.

voiced alarm.

Among the improvements in the 2011-12 ranking are an impact indicator

In his letter to the organisations representing university presidents (CPU),

based on the proportion of top 10% publications, collaboration indicators

the grandes écoles (CGE) and engineering schools (CDEFI), together with

based on geographical distances, fractional counting of collaborative pub-

the Association Française des Entreprises Privées, Fillon wrote: "France is

lications, and the possibility of excluding non-English language publica-

extremely attached to its tradition of welcoming foreign students, who


represent an important element of the international attractivity of its schools and universities. "Our objective is to attract the best students in

"Comparing the impact of non-English language publications with the im-

the world, especially in masters and doctorates, to heighten the influence

pact of publications written in English may not be considered fair," the

of our higher education and our country. In addition, certain French com-

compilers say. "Non-English language publications can be read only by a

panies need, for their international development, to acquire the skills of

small part of the scientific community, and therefore these publications

foreign students at the highest level”.

cannot be expected to receive similar numbers of citations as publica-

Fillon said the policy of being attractive and competitive corresponded to

tions written in English."

the need to control professional immigration better, to take into account

The ranking also makes use of a statistical technique known as bootstrap-

the realities of France's employment market and unemployment among

ping to smooth out variations in the data.

young graduates. "It equally takes into account the necessity to fight

Its reliance on bibliometrics places the Leiden Ranking closer to the

against abuses and misappropriations that can sometimes be the object

Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities in

[ive] of student mobility." The circular of 31 May combined these three

approach. An exclusive focus on research metrics opens the ranking to

objectives of influence, competitiveness of companies and control of im-

the criticism of painting a partial picture of a university.

migration. Recalling the terms of the law, it asked commissioners of police to regulate the flow of professional immigration by adopting some-

More information on :

times a 'qualitative and selective' approach and in so doing taking the


qualifications of the applicant into account. In a joint statement the CPU, CGE and CDEFI (1) welcomed Fillon's clarification, noting in particular that all foreign students graduating with at


least a masters degree could ask for provisional residence authorisation




controversial circular

to control

“Professional immigration”

so they could stay for a first professional experience. They understood from a meeting with relevant ministers that the process to review individual situations was under way and had produced important preliminary re-

France's Prime Minister François Fillon has defended the controversial

sults. Wauquiez told a press briefing the so-called 'Guéant circular' was

tightening up of residence and employment rules for non-European stu-

simply a reminder of existing law and had been badly interpreted by

dents and graduates in the face of concerns expressed by higher educa-

préfectures in its application, which had not conformed to the govern-

tion leaders.

ment's policies on foreign students. "I think we have drawn lessons on what was not working. We had some difficulties in its application, and we

They had articulated anxieties over a circular to control 'professional im-

have corrected them," he said.

migration' that has led to many highly qualified foreigers being refused

Guéant explained that the circular merely reiterated an existing law of

permission to remain and work in France.

2006 that gave masters and doctoral graduates the right to a salaried six-

In a letter to the heads of the three bodies representing presidents of

month stay "for a first professional experience in an activity correspond-

higher education institutions, Fillon wrote that France was "extremely at-

ing to the education followed", and this right had not changed.

tached" to its tradition of receiving foreign students and that he had or-

He added: "If the applications from foreign nationals correspond to the

dered reexamination of some cases, most of which had been - or were

qualifications or professions in which France has labour shortages, au-

about to be - settled. Minister for Higher Education and Research Laurent

thorisations will be granted. If that is not the case, they are refused."

Wauquiez and Interior Minister Claude Guéant, principal proponent of the contentious circular, have also sought to clarify the government's pol-

Guéant also drew attention to the problem of brain drain: "I cannot bring

icy towards foreign students.

myself cynically to assume the pillaging of brains in the countries of origin which often need to build up a class of managers." It was an approach

The circular, issued in May by the ministries of the interior and of health,

that was contrary to the government's policy of development solidarity,

ordered préfectures to examine "rigorously" requests for work permits

he wrote.

from students, and to carry out extensive control of non-European foreigners applying to change their status from that of student to employee.

(1)CPU is the National Board of University Presidents; CGE is the Board of

Many foreigners who had graduated from French higher education found

the Grandes Ecoles Directors, CDEFI is the Board of Engineering Schools

themselves refused permission to stay in the country when they were of-


fered a first job with a French company. Students organised protests against the circular, and leaders in the higher education community



news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

This year the conference kept a video diary, with delegates asked to give


short interviews which have been uploaded to the conference youtube channel.


If you want to see what you missed, check out





annual Australasian Association for Engineering Education

For more information on the conference more broadly, see the confer-


ence website:

The 22nd annual Australasian Association for Engineering Education con-


ference was held this December at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, Western Australia. Over 200 delegates from academia and industry came together to explore the conference theme of "Developing Engineers for


Social Justice".


The conference began with Juan Lucena's thought provoking keynote

« Former des ingénieurs, des techniciens et des cadres pour un déve-

presentation on the purpose of engineering, and the way in which the en-

loppement durable »—“Training Engineers, Technicians and Managers

gineering mindset impacts on how we as a profession engage with hu-

for sustainable development”

manitarian issues. Throughout the three days of the conference there were over 100 papers presented and nearly 20 workshops on a range of

12th - 14th April 2012, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

issues dealing with Engineering Education.

The Call for Interests is available here:

A highlight of the event was the National final of the Engineers Without

For more information please contact:

Borders Challenge, where freshmen engineers work in teams to solve hu-

Prof. Michel TROQUET

manitarian engineering problems, and are judged on their technical de-

The conference as well as all documents are in French only

sign, cultural sensitivity and suitability, and presentation skills.

PUBLICATIONS Study given on the Modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive The study purpose was to assess whether education reforms in the EU add value to the recognition of Professional qualifications. Two reforms were considered in the scope: the Bologna process (degree cycles, credit systems, learning outcomes) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The complete study is available online: "Impact of the recent educational reforms on the Professional Qualifications Directive" / Higher Education's Commitment to Sustainability This fourth report, Higher Education's Commitment to Sustainability: From Understanding to Action, includes papers by 85 authors from 38 countries. The publication presents the current situation and its implication for higher education (HE), analyzing the link between sustainability and HE. It shows a map of how the regions are advancing with regard to the subject; complemented with trending topics, networks' experiences and good practices. The report offers different visions that contribute to the transformation of HE. The publication also includes a study to identify the main barriers that prevent the transformation of higher education institutions (HEIs) towards contributing to the sustainability paradigm, and highlight possible solutions in a global framework to advance from understanding to action. Link to the publication:

The e-skills manifesto, A call to Arms by Ade McCormack Europe’s economic future is highly dependent on having a highly skilled workforce. In order to remain competitive in a global marketplace, Europe’s IT functions and technology service providers need to have ready access to an e-skills-proficient labour force. Increasingly the e-skills capability of end users will also determine the sustainability of Europe’s collective economy. But we must be careful not to create an underclass of people who are not only unemployed but unemployable. This manifesto provides insight and actionable content from a broad cross section of perspectives. Ade McCormack has written this guide for those that have influence over the acquisition, development and consumption of 21st century IT professionals and their counterparts in the user community. Link to the publication:


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year


In January and February

12-13 January 2012 Dublin, Ireland EUA Conference “Supporting Individual Paths of Doctoral Candidates Experience, Skills, Guidance “

1-3 February 2012, Orlando, USA Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration (CIEC) - ASEE More information:

More information on : 2-3 February 2012, DIT, Dublin, Ireland E3M project conference: Universities’ Third Mission: Indicators and Good Practices.

18-21 January 2012, Orléans, France. 40 years of Engineering Formation in Orléans More information on:

The Dublin Institute of Technology, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the University of Porto, members of SEFI, are partners of the project E3M.

19-20 January, Paris France ECO-Campus CPU-CGE

More information:

More information on:

20 January 2012, Brussels, Belgium. ACA event: “What's new in Brussels? Recent developments in European policies and programmes”

09-10 February 2012, Madrid, Spain CLAIU-EU Conference “The Engineering Doctorate” With the active participation of SEFI, represented by Professor A. Avdelas and Professor J. Steinbach More information:

More information on

30 January 2012, Brussels, Belgium Project MODERN Conference—ESMU « Engaging in the Modernisation Agenda for European Higher Education » SEFI is partner of the project MODERN More information:


12-13 February 2012,Issy-lès-Moulinaux, France Annual Colloquium Commission des Titres d’Ingénieurs More information:

23-24 February 2012, Fondation Universitaire, Brussels, Belgium ENAEE General Assembly 2012

news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

2011 SEFI Student year

Join us on LinkedIn, follow us on facebook professional and student pages. To increase SEFI’s visibility and the relations between members, we are also on LinkedIn (as an enterprise and a group) and on Facebook (SEFI and SEFI Student). We invite you all to join us on these platforms, and establish our own digital SEFI network for discussions and mutual support! Do also not forget to contribute to and participate in our SEFI Blog! Sefi LinkedIn: SEFI Sefi Facebook page: SEFI Sefi Student Facebook page: Sefi Student Sefi Blog:

We hope that you enjoyed this issue of News@SEFI. Please send suggestions and contributions to before 20th January 2012.

SEFI receives the financial support of its corporate partners

and the support of its corporate members


news@sefi – 12/ 2011 – SEFI – –

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