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European Research, Innovation and Education

July 2012 – 2012/07

Contents SEEN FROM BRUSSELS A successful ‘vandhanevand formandskab’

2

RESEARCH Borderless European Research Area

3

Towards open access in Horizon 2020

4

> Publications

6

€8.1 billion for last call for proposals under FP7

6

Consultation on the nuclear fusion programme

6

More than 3000 amendments on Horizon 2020 draft reports

6

Member states disagree on simplification in Horizon 2020

6

INNOVATION New EIP showcases cities of the future

7

Digital Agenda largely on track

8

> Publications

9

Europe needs more entrepreneurs

9

Public Consultations on the future of JTIs and PPPs

9

EIT prepares for the next step towards Horizon 2020

9

EDUCATION Intensified EUROMED dialogue in higher education

10

Dossier: Foreign languages definitely needed. But mastered?

11

> Publications

13

Inclusive education not yet a reality

13

Trends in higher education funding

13

INTRA MUROS A summer break between two trainees

This edition of the SwissCore Synopsis as well as previous editions are available on our website. SwissCore - Contact Office for European Research, Innovation and Education Rue du Trône 98 • B-1050 Bruxelles • Tel. +32-2-549 09 80 • Fax +32-2-549 09 89 infodesk@swisscore.org • www.swisscore.org

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SEEN FROM BRUSSELS A successful ‘vandhanevand formandskab’ ‘Tap water presidency’ was of course not the official motto of the Danish presidency of the Council of the European Union, which officially ended just one month ago on 31 June 2012. But it was branded and called that way in Brussels’ and Copenhagen’s corridors, because of the whole series of cost-efficient and sustainable initiatives put in place by the Danes, such as serving tap (vandhanevand) instead of bottled water in conference centers. Be it literally or metaphorically, the hallmark of the past six months was to focus on essential points and make savings on others. And it seems that it was widely appreciated in this period of economic crisis and general feeling of disillusion about Europe. Denmark, a small country outside the Eurozone, did not have an easy task at all taking over a Europe strongly affected by the financial crisis and austerity measures. However, despite the situation and a newly elected government, one of just four in Europe led by center-left, the country lived up to everyone’s expectations and managed to deliver concrete results within its four priorities areas, i.e. a ‘green, dynamic, safe and responsible Europe’. Green? The Danish presidency has for example reached an agreement on the energy efficiency directive. Dynamic? An agreement on the Compact for Growth and Jobs, which comprises among others the realisation of a European unified patent court, was reached during the European Council on 28 and 29 June. Safe? Western Balkans countries have seen their European perspective become more concrete, with good progress on the accession treaty of Croatia, the initiation of accession negotiations with Montenegro and the

granting of the candidate status to Serbia. Responsible? The Danish presidency has finished the revision of the Financial Regulations (FR), to be most likely adopted in autumn, and has worked hard to create a sound basis for the future agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Most importantly, they reached agreement on the content of various sectorial policies, such as research, innovation and education, negotiated in connection with the MFF: ‘partial general approach’ was reached for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus for All (see Synopsis 2012/05). With this first important milestone in the adoption process of these two future programmes, it was definitely an active and successful presidency in the field of research, innovation and education. Moreover, reflections around burning issues such as the necessity to produce relevant skills for the labour market were stimulated with conferences (see Synopsis 2012/04) and discussions about the benefit of dual Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems. Cyprus, which took over the presidency on 1 July, will address new priorities in the field of research, innovation and education, such as the European Research Area (ERA), the communication of which was published on 17 July by the European Commission (see page 3). But it will also mostly build on results achieved by the Danes, focusing on the negotiations on the MFF and taking further the adoption process of Horizon 2020 and Erasmus for all. Like for Denmark, it will not be an easy task, but at least the mood seems to be a little bit less dark after this Danish ‘tap water’ drop of optimism, pragmatism and cooperation spread in the rather heavy European atmosphere. 30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH Borderless European Research Area The European Commission (EC) has published a communication ‘A reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth’ on 17 July 2012 containing an action-oriented and responsibility-based approach to realising the European Research Area (ERA) and the so-called ‘5th Freedom of Knowledge’. The EC also signed a corresponding Joint Statement and four Memoranda of Understanding with key European research stakeholder organisations. The communication is the response of the EC on the twofold demand of the European Council to complete the ERA by 2014, meaning that the European Union fully recognises the importance of research and innovation for the creation of jobs and growth and in tackling the grand societal challenges. The European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn stated that the progress of implementation of the ERA was patchy and that the research community had complained about the progress realising the ERA towards the EC during a consultation in 2011. She found this is worrying given the crucial importance of research and technological development for Europe’s future. She is convinced that there will be more progress towards implementing the ERA since the focus is limited to only five areas and since there is a reinforced partnership with major stakeholder organisations as well as a new monitoring system shaming and blaming the member states falling behind. The ERA is defined as “a unified research area open to the world based on the Internal Market, in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely and through which the Union and its member

states strengthen their scientific and technological bases, their competitiveness and their capacity to address grand challenges”. The EC proposes to address five key areas:  more effective national research systems aiming at increased competition within national borders, sustained and greater investment (member states should act);  optimal transnational cooperation and competition defining and implementing common research agendas on grand challenges, constructing and effectively running of pan-European research infrastructures (members states should act);  open labour market for researchers ensuring the removal of barriers to researcher mobility, training and attractive careers (research institutions and member states should act);  gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research aiming at diversifying views and approaches in research and foster excellence (member states and research institutions should act);  optimal transfer ing via cess to all.

circulation, access to and of scientific knowledge includdigital ERA guaranteeing acand uptake of knowledge by

The implementation shall happen via reinforced partnerships between member states, research stakeholder organisations and the EC. The progress will be monitored through a dedicated system and a stakeholder forum. The European University Association (EUA), the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), the League of European Research Universities (LERU), Science Eu30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH

rope, Nordforsk and the EC thus signed a Joint Statement on working in partnership to achieve the ERA. Moreover:  EUA and the EC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) wherein the universities express their commitment to work on a) doctoral training, research careers and mobility, b) university industry collaboration and knowledge transfer, c) cross border cooperation and open access to publications and data.  EARTO and the EC signed a MoU wherein the research and technology organisations commit to contribute to open recruitment, b) careers and gender, c) pensions and doctoral training, d) research-business cooperation, mobility, twinning/teaming, and c) open access to publications and data.  LERU and the EC signed a MoU wherein the research universities ex-

press their will to contribute to a) open recruitment, b) research careers, c) gender, d) pensions and social security, e) doctoral training, f) academia-industry cooperation, g) twinning/teaming, h) open access to publications and data, i) knowledge transfer and j) e-science.  Nordforsk and the EC signed a MoU wherein Nordforsk expresses its willingness to contribute to a) the open recruitment of researchers, b) research careers, c) doctoral training, d) industry-academia mobility, e) gender equality, f) research infrastructure, g) cross border operation, h) open access and e-science and i) knowledge transfer.  Science Europe stated to be committed to realising a ‘Grant Union’ and expressed its commitment to open access to publications and data.

ERA press release ERA communication (pdf)

Towards open access in Horizon 2020 On 17 July 2012, the European Commission (EC) has released the communication ‘Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of public investments in research’. The communication highlights the will of the EC to ‘improve access to scientific information and to boost the benefits of public investments in research’. It also exposes how open access will be implemented in Horizon 2020. In parallel, the EC has adopted a recommendation to the member states on ‘access to and preservation of scientific information’. The EC argues that open access is needed in order to ‘accelerate innovation, foster collaboration, build on previous research and involve society’. The communication cites studies that have shown that open access has a direct impact on innovation and competitiveness of Small and

Medium Enterprises (SME). Open access must however not be limited to the dissemination of scientific publications (articles), but should also consider the access to scientific data. In response to the constantly rising prices of scientific journals, two main open access models have been developed by the scientific community. The ‘Gold’ open access model shifts the publication costs to the authors or their respective institution and the ‘Green’ open access model, or ‘self-archiving’, allows the researcher to publish her/his article her/himself after an initial embargo period in which publication is reserved to the journal. To date and globally, 20% of scientific articles are freely available, 60% of which are selfarchived. On the open access to research data, the EC observes that only 30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH

25% of the researchers give free access to their data, which hinders research efficiency and take-up. To promote open access in Horizon 2020, the EC asks for all publications resulting from Horizon 2020 funded activities to be made public. Both the ‘Gold’ and the ‘Green’ models can be followed. For the ‘Gold’ model, all costs related to the publication will be eligible under Horizon 2020. For the ‘Green’ model, the articles must be made available six months after publication in a journal. This period is extended to one year for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (SSH). Under Horizon 2020 the EC encourages researchers to share their data and software codes, when appropriate. Caution will be tak-

en to ensure that intellectual property rights, trade secrets and commercial interests are respected. Patenting in particular will not be affected as the EC sees it as an efficient mean for disseminating scientific information. Moreover, the EC will continue to fund infrastructures that support open access in Horizon 2020 and proposes allocating €45 million to infrastructures from 20122013. The EC has enumerated a few targets for the completion of its open access policy. By 2014, it asks all member states to have established open access policies for scientific publications. By 2016, 60% of articles originating from public-funded research in Europe have to be freely accessible.

EC Communication (pdf) Recommendation on ‘access to the member states’ (pdf) Executive summary of the impact assessment (pdf)

30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH

> Publications €8.1 billion for last call for proposals under FP7 On 10 July 2012, the last call for proposals under

(SME) participation. To widen the participation

the Seventh Framework Programme for Research

across Europe to the framework programme, the

and Technological Development (FP7) was pub-

European Commission (EC) has announced the

lished. The call amounts to a total of €8.1 billion

creation of five European Research Area (ERA)

and is the largest ever made for research and

chairs. They will be funded with €12.1 million and

innovation. Bridging with the next framework

located in five different regions that are currently

programme Horizon 2020 starting in 2014, the call

lagging behind in research. More information on

focuses on societal challenges and aims at improv-

the ERA chairs will be provided by the EC in au-

ing industry and Small and Medium Enterprises

tumn.

Press statement Questions and answers

Consultation on the nuclear fusion programme On 26 June 2012, the European Commission (EC)

stakeholders on their opinion about the objectives

has launched a stakeholder consultation on the

of the fusion programme, their experience with it

future implementation of its nuclear fusion pro-

so far and about the means to reach its objectives.

gramme from 2014 to 2018. In the proposal of the

The stakeholders have until 21 September to pro-

EC, nuclear fusion as a part of the European Atom-

vide their contributions, which will be used by the

ic Energy Community programme (EURATOM) is

EC to prepare a communication on the future im-

integrated in Horizon 2020. The survey asks the

plementation of the programme.

Public consultation

More than 3000 amendments on Horizon 2020 draft reports On 11 July 2012, the amendments to the three

amended. The amendments cover a wide range of

draft reports on Horizon 2020 by the Industry,

topics such as an overall budget increase, more

Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) of the

funding for bottom-up research and innovative

European Parliament were released. In total, more

activities and improving access to European fund-

than 3000 modifications to the original texts were

ed research for the disabled. ITRE will vote on the

proposed. Of the three legislative proposals, the

amendments this autumn, before the texts are

regulation establishing Horizon 2020 was the most

discussed in plenary in December.

Amended reports

Member states disagree on simplification in Horizon 2020 At the July informal Competitiveness Council in

Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Sci-

Nicosia, Cyprus, the research-related discussions

ence Máire Geoghegan-Quinn further argued that

focused on Euro-Mediterranean (EM) partnerships

there exist strong opportunities for EM collabora-

in research and innovation and the simplification in

tions in Horizon 2020 under the European neigh-

the Rules for Participation (RfP) in Horizon 2020.

bourhood policy. On the RfP, disagreements could

Cyprus Health Minister Stavros Malas stated that

be heard on the funding models. The Commision-

the member states are committed to conduct

ner stressed that the overall funding levels will not

preparatory work towards a joint research pro-

be lower compared to now. A partial general ap-

gramme under article 185 of the Treaty of Func-

proach on the RfP should be achieved during the

tioning of the European Union (TFEU). European

next Competitiveness Council meeting in October.

Press release Discussion paper on the EM partnerships Discussion paper on the simplifications in Horizon 2020

30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION New EIP showcases cities of the future The European Commission (EC) has launched the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) on 10 July 2012. It is the 5th of its kind after the pilot EIP on ‘Active and Healthy ageing’ and those on ‘Raw Materials’, ‘Agriculture’ and ‘Water’. EIPs are platforms, which are created to reinforce the coherence of European research and innovation priorities and help focus, streamline and simplify policy actions, while pointing to measures to bridge gaps and accelerate the uptake of innovations. They do not supersede or replace other existing initiatives or instruments, nor are they a substitute for existing institutional decision-making mechanisms. EIPs constitute one of 34 action points the EC has committed to in order to reach the targets set for the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative ‘Innovation Union’. Most importantly EIPs are based on using and linking existing knowledge, actions and funding rather than ‘re-inventing the wheel’. The EIP on SCC is a partnership across the areas of energy, transport and information and communication, which focuses on industry-led innovation and supports existing and future European initiatives for urban areas in the field of environment and climate policies. The SCC plans to go beyond coordinating research and innovation projects. It will also tackle demand side measures such as enhancing new infrastructure service business models and public procurement in favour of resource efficient and energy saving initiatives. The main aim of the SCC is demonstrating and scaling up at least 20 major innovative solutions in a

small number of locations and supporting European cities and communities to meet their energy, transport or climate change targets. These need to be complemented by demand side measures and linkages to other national and municipal programmes. At a later stage the SCC will focus on promoting lighthouse projects proposed and led by cities, which could be funded from a variety of European, national, regional or private sources. The EC will then support horizontal activities to address specific challenges, foster cross-project collaboration and promote common approaches. It will support the internationalisation by offering a platform for sharing knowledge and best-practices in Europe and beyond and reward particularly successful solutions with a biennial prize starting in 2014. The performance of the various initiatives will be assessed using a set of indicators ranging from the efficient use of infrastructure to the accessibility of data and the market uptake of the proposed solutions. The governance structure of the SCC will consist of two entities: firstly the High Level Group led by the three European Commissioners for Energy, Transport and Digital Agenda and their chosen senior representatives of industry, cities, civil society, relevant European initiatives and the EC as well as regulators, standardisation bodies and associated sectors; secondly the Stakeholder Platform, open to constituencies of cities, communities and other public authorities, citizens, NGOs and relevant industry sectors. The governance framework, which will develop the Strategic Implementation Plan for the SCC is planned to be operational in the second half of 2012.

Communication (pdf) 30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION

Digital Agenda largely on track At this year’s Digital Agenda Assembly (DAA) on 21 and 22 June 2012 a scoreboard was presented to help assess progress to date on implementation towards the Digital Agenda's goals and actions and discuss possible ways to improve the delivery of agreed objectives. The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) proposes 101 specific policy actions across seven domains: digital single market; interoperability and standards; trust and security; fast and ultra-fast internet access; research and innovation; digital literacy, skills and inclusion; Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)-enabled benefits for EU society. This second edition of the Digital Agenda Scoreboard is again based on 13 key performance targets measuring the success of the policy actions taken so far in all domains. The results show that the DAE is largely on track, however some areas of concern remain and some might not reach the targets set at all. Whereas regular Internet usage is rising in all population groups and broadband coverage has reached 95%, connection speeds remain lower than targeted. The differences in growth of regular Internet use across European countries are large, with some countries reaching saturation and some still taking big steps towards the targets. Ireland showed the largest increase in the proportion of the population using the Internet regularly, whereas Romania remains the only country where there are fewer regular users than non users of the Internet. ECommerce is becoming more and more popular with the target of half the population buying online in 2015 nearly reached, selling online remains a domain of larger

companies, with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) losing out. Also the ambitions to raise the amount of cross-country Internet shopping have not been fulfilled so far. Whereas distance plays a much smaller role, it is the language barrier that keeps buyers from shopping in another country. Thus the countries likely to reach their target are small ones sharing a language with a larger one, like Austria, Belgium, Ireland and the Nordic countries. The use of EGovernment on the other hand is stagnating, which could jeopardise the achievement of the set targets, if the trend continues. An everlasting worry is the difference between roaming and national tariffs, which is targeted to reach zero by 2015. So far progress has been negligible and only due to regulation of wholesale and retail prices and not to competitive market forces. Another concern are public investment in ICT Research and Development (R&D), which were targeted to double and amount to €11 billion in 2020. Whereas it is encouraging to observe that public R&D spending in ICT has actually increased despite the economic crisis and that R&D intensity remained around 5.3% altogether, it is worth noticing that this corresponds to about half the R&D intensity in the United States’ ICT sector. In autumn 2012, the European Commission will undertake a mid-term review, which will consider feedback from online debates, the discussions at the DAA as well as the scoreboard. And it is already clear that some areas will need particular attention, e.g. support for innovation and entrepreneurship; structural reforms and the modernisation of digital public services; online security; and cloud computing.

Digital Agenda Scoreboard 30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION

> Publications Europe needs more entrepreneurs At the informal Competitiveness Council on 19 and

times of difficulty and able to receive a second

20 July in Nicosia, Cyprus, the focus was on ways

chance if they fail. This comes at a time when the

out of the economic crisis. There was a consensus

European Commission (EC) has clearly recognised

that

austerity

that action is needed if Europe wants to close the

measures on their own could not be the only solu-

gap to other economies, notably the United States,

tion. The main engine for growth and the creation

where there is a much higher rate of entrepre-

of jobs are Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)

neurship despite similar structures of society and

and fostering these and helping them to start and

economy. Recently the EC has launched a Public

to flourish was defined as a main target. The min-

Consultation running until 1 October 2012 to help

isters agreed that innovation is a driving force for

develop an action plan for entrepreneurship. The

entrepreneurship and that entrepreneurship edu-

results will be used as the basis for the preparation

cation is a solution to youth unemployment. Also

of the conclusions for entrepreneurship that are

more untapped pools of talent for entrepreneur-

expected to be adopted at the Competitiveness

ship, for example women, need to be activated

Council on 10 December 2012.

Europe

needed

growth

and

and existing entrepreneurs should be supported in Public consultation Press release

Public Consultations on the future of JTIs and PPPs The European Commission (EC) has launched

Initiative (IMI), which will change into the Lifesci-

several Public Consultations on the future of Joint

ence PPP. ENIAC and ARTEMIS and the JTIs on

Technology Initiatives (JTI) and Public Private

electronic components and embedded systems are

Partnerships (PPP). Clean Sky, the green aero-

planned to be merged to one programme. Views of

nautics programme, and the Fuel-Cell and Hydro-

the public are also being collected on a new future

gen JTI only discuss their continuation under the

PPP on bio-based industries. The consultations are

next Framework Programme for Research and

open to anyone interested in the respective topics

Innovation

and are open until 4 and 12 Ocotber 2012.

Horizon

2020.

More

fundamental

change is suggested for the Innovative Medicines Clean Sky

Bio-based industries

Fuel Cell and hydrogen

ARTEMIS and ENIAC

IMI/ LIfescience PPP

EIT prepares for the next step towards Horizon 2020 On 24 July 2012, the European Commission (EC)

The new board will take office on 31 July 2012,

has appointed 12 new members of the European

about one month after the EIT conference organ-

Institute for Innovation and Technology’s (EIT)

ised on 25 and 26 June by the Danish presidency,

Governing Board. They are recruited from the top

which presented the positive review of the activi-

management of education and research institu-

ties so far. The next step for the representatives

tions as well as industry across Europe and will

will be to oversee the EIT Strategic Innovation

join six remaining members. The Governing Board

Agenda (SIA) proposed by the EC, which includes

is responsible for the EIT overall strategy and for

a massive increase in budget and the addition of

the selection, coordination and evaluation of the

six new KICs.

Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). New Governing Board EIT Conference

30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION Intensified EUROMED dialogue in higher education On 2 July 2012, the European Commission (EC) has launched a new dialogue with Southern Mediterranean countries on higher education policies and programmes. European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou hosted a two-days event with ministers and senior officials from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in order to identify the challenges faced by these countries and explore paths to strengthen cooperation with the European Union (EU). In her opening speech, Vassiliou outlined the importance of young people as ‘the main catalyst for social and political change’ as well as ‘the region’s future main economic actors’. Providing them with equal opportunities to education and relevant skills is therefore essential. Like in the field of research and innovation (see Synopsis 2012/04), Euro– Mediterranean cooperation is not a new phenomenon. The origins lie in the EuroMediterranean partnership initiated in 1992 in Lisbon and realised during the Barcelona Conference in 1995. The current policy dialogue is embedded within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) established in 2004. The Union for the Mediterranean launched in 2008 in Paris gave new impetus to the cooperation, upgrading the bi-regional relations and focusing on six main axes, including higher education and research. One year ago, in response to the ‘Arab Spring’, the EU made a commitment for

strengthened cooperation with the Southern Mediterranean countries, which has resulted in today’s intensified dialogue. Concretely, this intensified dialogue means a financial boost through EU international higher education programmes like Erasmus Mundus and Tempus. Between 2007 and 2011, the EC has funded via Erasmus Mundus study opportunities in Europe for 1’385 students from Southern Mediterranean countries. For 2012 and 2013, the EC will allocate €80 million for Erasmus Mundus projects with Southern and Eastern neighbouring countries, more than double the amount initially foreseen. Tempus, which supports the modernisation of higher education, has received an additional €12.5 million in 2012 and 2013, taking total spending for projects involving Southern Mediterranean countries to €29 million a year. Moreover, youth mobility and nonformal learning with this region is strongly promoted via the Euromed Youth and Youth in Action programmes. Last but not least, one of the objectives of this intensified dialogue is to inform these countries about the future opportunities as of 2014 under Erasmus for All, which will among others include the possibilities currently offered by Erasmus Mundus and Tempus and put clear emphasis on neighbouring countries when it concerns extraEuropean cooperation.

Press release

Youth in Action

Erasmus Mundus

Youth in Action in Switzerland

Tempus

Euromed Youth

30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION

Foreign languages definitely needed. But mastered? According to a new Eurobarometer opinion poll on ‘European and their languages’ published on 21 June 2012, “almost nine out of ten European citizens believe that the ability to speak foreign languages is very useful and 98% say that mastering languages will be good for the future of their children”. However, the first European Survey on Language Competences published slightly earlier in June points out the gap between these aspirations and reality when it comes to foreign language skills. Before having a closer look at these findings, it is worth recalling some essential milestones of European policy in the field of multilingualism. In 2001, a European Council resolution recommended using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to assess language proficiency. The framework, developed by the Council of Europe, is based on six reference levels (A1 to C1) and is today widely accepted as a standard assessing tool. One year later in Barcelona, the European Council insisted on the importance of teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age. This was the launch of the ‘mother tongueplus-two’ plan, which led to the adoption of an ‘Action plan promoting language learning and linguistic diversity’ and to the set-up of various activities such as information campaigns, conferences and seminars on languages. Longlasting initiatives were also put in place, such as the European Language Label, awarded each year in the participating countries – Switzerland will run its first selection in 2013 – for new initiatives in the field of teaching and learning languages. Later on in 2005, the EC published its first communication on multilingualism ‘A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism’, which recommended the creation of a High Level

Group on Multilingualism (HLGM). HLGM came up with various reflections centered among others on economic competitiveness, growth and better jobs. Since then, two important European studies on the impact of foreign languages skills on the economy showed that companies clearly benefit from implementing a consistent language strategy. It has also been constantly recalled, first by former European Commissioner for Multilingualism Leonard Orban (there was a portfolio for multilingualism on its own between 2007 and 2010) and then by current European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, that foreign language skills enhance employability and will become increasingly important over the coming years. Where do we stand today, ten years after the set-up of the ‘mother-tongueplus-two-plan’? The latest Eurobarometer on ‘European and their languages’– Swiss data are not included – reveals that 72% of citizens agree with this objective. More than half Europeans use foreign languages at work and 45% believe they were able to get a better job thanks to their foreign language skills. Nevertheless, there are wide disparities among countries regarding the mastering of foreign languages: “the proportion of pupils who are competent in their first foreign language ranges from 82% in Malta and Sweden (where English is the first foreign language) to only 14% in France (learning English) and 9% in England (learning French)”. The European Survey on Language Competences, a comprehensive report using the CEFR system, confirms this discrepancy between intentions and reality. Results show an overall low level of competences in both first and second foreign languages tested: “The 30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION

level of independent user (B1+B2) is achieved by only 42% of tested students in the first foreign language and by only 25% in the second foreign language. Moreover, a large number of pupils did not even achieve the level of a basic user: 14% for the first and 20% for the second foreign language�. The results of this Eurobarometer and of the European Survey on Language Competences will be discussed at a conference in Limassol, Cyprus, on 26 September on the occasion of the 2012 European Day of Languages. The EC on its

side will propose a European benchmark on language competences by the end of 2012 and further support foreign languages learning through the current Lifelong Learning Programme and as of 2014 with Erasmus for All. Even if there is no more European portfolio for multilingualism on its own, it is obvious that foreign language skills are still an important component of the European education policy and programmes. And this is likely to stay so with the current debate on skills and their relevance for the labour market.

Eurobarometer European Survey on Language Competences Studies languages/economy

30 July 2012 • ďƒ“SwissCore

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> Publications Inclusive education not yet a reality On 10 July 2012, the European Commission (EC)

frequently leave school with no qualifications and

has published a report on policies and practices in

are strongly affected by unemployment. The report

education, training and employment for students

also highlights a wide variation between countries

with disabilities and special educational needs. The

regarding the policies put in place to address this

report, prepared by the Network of Experts in

issue. Switzerland for example places a relatively

Social

Training

high proportion of pupils in segregated special

(NESSE), outlines that inclusive education is still

classes, whereas their enrolment in mainstreamed

far from being a reality in Europe. People with

classes is very high in Italy. In the last quarter of

special educational needs are sometimes deprived

2012, the EC will publish a working document on

from any learning opportunity and very often do

equity in education and training, which will include

not receive adequate support. As a result, they

a

Sciences

of

Education

and

chapter

on

inclusive

education.

NESSE report

Trends in higher education funding On 22 June 2012, the European University Associ-

land, saw an overall increase in public funding

ation (EUA) has published a new Public Funding

between 2008 and 2012. However, an important

Observatory report on trends in higher education

number of countries, mainly in the south and east

funding. EUA has been monitoring the effects of

of Europe, have made major cuts in higher educa-

the economic crisis on higher education systems in

tion budgets since 2008. EUA highlights the risk

Europe since 2008 and has published several Pub-

that it could create increasingly deeper divisions

lic Funding Observatory reports. This latest edition

across Europe in terms of higher education funding

offers for the first time a full overview of the de-

and hence put the completion of the European

velopments from 2008 to 2012. The analysis

Higher Education Area at risk.

shows that nine countries, among which SwitzerPublic Funding Observatory 2012

30 July 2012 • ďƒ“SwissCore

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INTRA MUROS… A summer break between two trainees Many thanks to Douglas Armendone Douglas Armendone has left SwissCore a few weeks ago. During his six-months traineeship, he worked 50% for the research portfolio and used the other 50% to write a Master thesis on ‘Safeguarding Swiss interests in Rules for Participation and Dissemination of Horizon 2020’, which was submitted for his Master in Public Management at the University of Geneva. We warmly thank him for his highly appreciated and efficient work as well as his strong commitment.

And a warm welcome to Ueli Stäger Ueli Stäger will start as a trainee at SwissCore in September. He has just completed a Bachelor in Political Sciences at the University of Geneva and plans to start a Master in autumn 2013. He will also dedicate half of his time to the research portfolio and the other half to carry out a comparative study on European and Swiss strategies in international cooperation in science and technology. We are looking forward to welcoming him in the team after the summer break.

30 July 2012 • SwissCore

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Synopsis July 2012