2020 EUA Funding Forum

    21/09/2020 - 17:30
    Belgium, Brussels
    22/09/2020 - 22:30
    European University Association

This year, EUA brings together the university community online to discuss funding in an online event scheduled on 21 and 22 September 2020, before meeting next year in Belgrade.

The sessions will address the burning issues in the field, focusing on the financial and economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the sector. As universities get ready for an academic year unlike any other before, the community must reflect collectively on the medium and long-term impact of the upcoming economic crisis. This is developed further in an EUA’s analysis released in May 2020.

EUA members will have exclusive access to specific sessions focused on exchange of institutional crisis management strategies and perspectives for the next period.

The online event will also allow the community to engage in a dialogue with policymakers around funding university transformation and will address perspectives for European funding to the sector as of next year.

The next EUA Funding Forum will take place in Autumn 2021 at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. In the meantime, join us this September for the online Forum!

For updates, follow #EUAFundingForum on Twitter.

Monday 21 September

These sessions are reserved EUA members .

10.30-11.30 Plenary session: “Leading university transformation”
Featuring three university leaders from different parts of Europe, this session will address the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the transformation of university operations and management. What can we learn from the past months to lead successful, long-lasting transformation? How will this experience shape university governance, leadership and decision-making? Fast-forwarding to the next few years, what will be the major pressures and challenges for university funding? What leadership approaches will be most useful in such a context? The guest speakers will reflect on their experiences and share their vision in a direct exchange with the participants.


14.00-15.15 Breakout sessions: “Preparing for new realities in university funding and management: learning and teaching, research and the campus”

Given the magnitude and the depth of the crisis, universities will have to review their long-term strategies and development plans. This series of breakout sessions will focus on the long-term financial implications and new management needs. The discussions will explore the new realities of research, teaching and campus infrastructure.


Breakout session 1: Partnerships in learning and teaching
The switch to online learning and teaching has been exceptional during the crisis and new forms of blended learning are emerging based on the experience gained during the pandemic. What are the new efficient and effective ways to organise learning and teaching? How can costs, workloads and best practices be efficiently shared? What digital capacities do we need to support this process organisationally and financially? This session will explore several institutional responses as to how to adapt learning and teaching as well as institutional partnerships based on the lessons learnt.

  • Tuula Heide, Head of Teaching and Learning Services, University of Eastern Finland
  • James Smith, Vice Principal International, The University of Edinburgh
  • Marta Žuvić, Vice-Rector for Students, Studies and Quality Assurance, University of Rijeka

Breakout session 2: Effective research strategies
The importance of research and innovation in mitigating the impact of the crisis has been widely recognised by policy makers, funders and other stakeholders across Europe. In this context, the question of how to adapt institutional research visions, enhance strategic profiling and foster partnerships is highly important. In this session, several institutions will share their visions and approaches to effective research strategies and partnerships that could be applied in the post-crisis period.

  • Verdiana Bandini, Head of Research and Competitive Funding, University of Bologna
  • Roswitha Wiedenhoffer, Research Director, FH Joanneum
  • Artūrs Zeps, Vice-Rector for Strategic Development, Riga Technical University

Breakout session 3: Sustainable campus development
With a rapid shift to online learning and teaching and other services and operations, overseeing physical infrastructure on campus has been a less visible, but challenging exercise. From handling common spaces to coordinating multi-campus sites across cities or countries, universities must come up with new creative solutions and approaches to campus management. Featuring three unique case studies, this session will invite the participants to discuss strategies and investment needs to sustain campus development after the crisis.


15.15-15.30 Plenary session: Conclusions from the day and introduction to the next day’s sessions

  • Thomas Estermann, Director of Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development, EUA


Tuesday 22 September

Sessions of the second day are free of charge and open to all interested participants upon registration.


10.30-12.00 Plenary session: Funding university transformation in times of crisis
The crisis is affecting and will affect university finances differently depending on the income structure, according to the latest EUA report. Negative economic fallout will put pressure on public finances and the need for greater efficiencies may push public authorities to seek alternative forms of restructuring. Where do policymakers see potential for transformation and efficiency in the sector? Is the funding model for universities being reconsidered? The opportunity to discuss these hot issues in a European setting appears timely and necessary. This session will focus on government plans for funding and coordination, allowing participants to engage in a dialogue with policymakers.

14.00-15.30 Plenary session: The future of EU funding for education and research
Michael Murphy, EUA President and Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth will discuss the Commission’s plans for universities in the post-crisis period. This high-level dialogue will offer an opportunity for the sector to engage in the conversation around the next Multiannual Financial Framework, including Horizon Europe, Erasmus+ and the European University Initiative. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss experiences and visions for future EU policies in the area of higher education and research.

  • Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
  • Michael Murphy, EUA President