this week (10 June) releases the latest edition of its Public Funding Observatory report which monitors the impact of the economic crisis on universities and identifies trends in public funding to higher education institutions across Europe since 2008. The report is launched in tandem with a new interactive online tool which provides a range of data for 23 European systems and allows the user to look at developments in recent years in a customised way. Detailed country sheets with data for each system can also be downloaded.

The latest EUA update provides a new analysis of the pressures that many countries face in terms of funding for higher education institutions, in particular by taking account of the impact of inflation and changes in student numbers. The report confirms that while no system has been left completely unaffected by the crisis, there is still a risk of a widening gap in terms of university funding between different parts of Europe. Many countries in eastern and southern Europe still appear to be more affected by the crisis than many countries in northern and western Europe although there are notable exceptions.
EUA has warned that this situation is unsustainable both for the affected countries and Europe as a whole. Reduced investment weakens countries’ research capacities and knowledge base, and impacts negatively on the development of their knowledge economy.
In addition, such divergent trends decrease the potential for cross-border academic and scientific cooperation and put the completion of the European Higher Education and Research Areas at risk. It could also risk provoking a “brain drain” of talented researchers from these countries and could make it harder for universities in these countries to participate in European funding programmes which work under the principle of co-funding (i.e. the university must provide funding alongside the European funding for projects). European Funding schemes, like Horizon 2020, therefore need to take account of these trends and establish appropriate funding rules.
The latest report looks at both the evolution over the last year (2012-2013) and developments since 2008. Read more...
See also on the blog EUA monitors impact of economic crisis on European universities, 24 février 2009.