EU schooling insurance policies have an vital impression on universities and different greater schooling establishments. For that reason, many greater schooling establishments have a stake in influencing EU policymakers. Drawing on a brand new research, Toine Paulissen, Bert Fraussen and Steven Van Hecke make clear how greater schooling establishments foyer the EU’s establishments utilizing particular person and collective approaches to illustration.
In September 2019, the League of European Analysis Universities (LERU) printed Universities and the Way forward for Europe, a paper aimed particularly on the EU’s establishments. The purpose of this publication was to affect the agenda of the brand new European Fee whereas additionally offering newly-elected MEPs with a chance to achieve an intensive understanding of EU coverage on analysis, innovation and schooling.
The introduction of this paper articulates a transparent aspiration to achieve quite a lot of coverage targets similar to further funding through the 2021-2027 EU price range, shaping the agenda for 2019-2024, and realising a European Analysis Space. The LERU presents itself as an affiliation whose core duties contain representing greater schooling establishments centered on analysis and their pursuits on the EU degree, by aiming to affect EU coverage and fascinating with quite a lot of policymakers in Brussels.
This mirrors the shift of the European public sector in the direction of multi-actor preparations, as non-state actors similar to curiosity teams and stakeholder organisations more and more take part in policy-making, whereas nationwide organisations and associations usually organise themselves into transnational, European associations to form public coverage on the EU degree.
Within the greater schooling and analysis sector, greater schooling establishments are following an analogous technique. For example, the LERU has members in 12 European international locations, together with the College of Cambridge, KU Leuven, the College of Copenhagen, and Leiden College. There are various different associations that signify academic pursuits on the EU degree, such because the Younger European Analysis Universities Group (YERUN) and the COIMBRA Group, whereas some universities have additionally established a presence by opening up a liaison workplace. But, the actions of upper schooling establishments on the EU degree have obtained restricted scholarly consideration.
Particular person and collective illustration
An vital step towards higher understanding the position particular person greater schooling establishments play in shaping EU coverage is to look at how these establishments organise themselves politically to make their voices heard on the European degree. In a brand new research, we offer a primary evaluation of this matter. Extra particularly, we look at how greater schooling actors organise themselves to signify their pursuits on the EU degree, and we make clear the attainable motives behind their selections relating to the organisational type of illustration.
We make a distinction between three forms of organisational kind: particular person illustration, the place a better schooling establishment has a liaison workplace in Brussels; collective illustration, the place a better schooling establishment is a member of an affiliation, community, or organisation; and blended illustration, the place a better schooling establishment combines particular person with collective illustration.
Utilizing a mixed-methods design, we examined a number of hypotheses regarding the results of various variables on the selection for a selected organisational kind, specializing in the 250 greater schooling establishments that have been registered within the European Transparency Register on the time of the analysis. Of those establishments, 146 had no illustration in any respect in Brussels. We recognized 14 establishments that opted for particular person illustration by opening an workplace in Brussels, similar to Maastricht College and Bergen College, whereas 76 of them selected types of collective illustration by turning into members of associations. Those that had an workplace in Brussels all the time mixed this with associational membership, thus making use of blended illustration.
As a second step, we assessed attainable drivers behind the chosen kind(s) of illustration through a qualitative evaluation of semi-structured interviews with representatives from six greater schooling establishments and 4 associations. Our evaluation highlights a number of elements and attainable underlying motives explaining selections for a selected kind, most significantly the geographical distance between a better schooling establishment and Brussels, and in case of blended illustration, substantial monetary assets. On the identical time, the trade-off between these types of illustration can be formed by the consideration of different elements, specifically the necessity for growing visibility in Brussels, the target to construct and leverage networks, and the worth of knowledge assortment and change.
Increased schooling establishments and EU policymaking
Our research is a primary evaluation of how greater schooling establishments form their lobbying actions on the EU degree and th