The role of universities in the European knowledge
[European University Association Press
Release, March 31, 2003]
Eric Froment, President of the European University Association (EUA), invited European universities to contribute to the development of a European knowledge society in
his conclusions after the EUA Conference and General Assembly at the University of Bristol, UK,
at the end of March.
Professor Froment pledged a concerted EUA response to the European Commissionís recent
communication on the role of universities:
"The diversity of universities across Europe can be a major strength in developing a
European knowledge society, and our task is to find the best way for all of our universities to
contribute to the interests of Europe as a whole. We have to move forward with a diversified
response to the many needs of European society. We also have to maintain our commitment
to research-based teaching as a defining characteristic of European universities."
A creative 'intellectual buzz'
In Bristol, the role of universities in the emerging European Research Area was the subject of
discussion among 270 university leaders across 45 European countries.
In keynote speeches, Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government, and
Eric Thomas, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol, stressed the need for long-term
strategic thinking, appropriate structures and government commitment to funding and
developing research excellence.
Professor Josť Mariano Gago, former Portuguese Minister of Science and Technology,
underlined the importance of research within universities for democratic societies. Through
developing a culture of scientific and critical thinking, and through involving students in
research from undergraduate level, universities are able to generate a creative
'intellectual buzz' whose effects in wider society cannot be matched by even the most high quality
isolated research institutions.
500,000 additional researchers needed
Dr Caracostas, representing Dr Busquin, Commissioner for European Research, highlighted
the necessity of ensuring sufficient resources, whether public or private, to bring every
institution to the peak of its possibilities. Stressing the importance of the 3% GDP target for
investment in research in Europe by 2010, Dr Caracostas pointed out the need for 500,000
additional researchers in Europe, concluding that "human capital is our European strength."
Conference participants actively contributed to discussions, ranging in topics from the true
cost of university research, to examining the potential for increased European cooperation at
doctorate level. The results of this meeting will feed into the upcoming EUA Convention of
European Higher Education Institutions in Graz, May 28-31, where the links between
teaching and research will be a key theme.
|For further information on the EUA conference and General
Eric Froment, President of EUA, +33 68 03 78 715, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lesley Wilson, Secretary General, + 32 22 30 55 44, email
Asle Haukaas, Communication Manager, +41 79 704 0828, email
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