Studies & Assignments

Multi-Annual EU framework Service Contracts

EFMD (ESMU) has been a core partner in several consortia for large framework service contracts to the EU with large consultancy companies.

Under these framework contracts the European Commission makes regular requests for services such as for studies and consultancy services (comparative analyses, policy reviews and analysis of policy instruments), or evaluation and impact assessment of its work.

The assignments build on the expertise from ESMU with EU policy and higher education that was integrated into EFMD in April 2013.

Some examples of recent assignments

1. Study on the Role of Quality Assurance in Building Trust between VET and HE

EFMD carried out a study for CEDEFOP, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training on the role of quality assurance in building trust between VET and HE.

The study was produced in the context of a CEDEFOP umbrella project to look into the issue of the lack of cooperation between the Higher Education (HE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) sectors. The umbrella project itself took place in the context of the new initiative of the European Commission to launch a European Area for Skills and Qualifications. The other studies focused on common European tools and learning outcomes, EU tools to reach European citizens, the role of credit systems in opening access, admission, exemption between VET and HE, and EU tools and the labour market.

The study involved an extensive review of the literature, desk research, interviews with relevant national stakeholders’ organisations in eight selected countries (Belgium; Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Malta, Latvia, Sweden) as well as interviews with relevant European stakeholders (Business Europe, European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education - ENQA, European Students Union - ESU, Education International, European Trade Union Committee for Education - ETUCE).

A final report with a feasibility study on concrete approaches to bring the two sectors closer together was submitted to CEDEFOP in October 2014.

2. Pilot Quality Review (QR) system of current Erasmus Mundus Master courses.

EFMD worked in close partnership with Ecorys UK (lead partner) to assist EACEA (Executive Agency for Education and Culture) of DG EAC (Education and Culture) of the European Commission with the development of a pilot Quality Review (QR) system of current Erasmus Mundus Master courses. This QR system served to assess whether on-going and newly selected courses should be provided with continued funding support in the future.

The purpose of the assignment (May 2013 – August 2014) was to develop an appropriate methodology to underpin the QR system, and to test and apply it to up to 50 EMMCs. Ecorys UK and EFMD contributed to the design and development of the QR tools, mobilising a pool of QR experts and provided the logistical support to run the QR exercise. The development of the tool followed earlier work in 2012 conducted by Ecorys UK and ESMU in the context of the EMQA 4 project with the production of structured indicators and exploratory self-assessment tool for Erasmus Mundus master and doctoral programmes.

3. The educational activities of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

Ecorys UK and EFMD carried out a study on the educational activities of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The project was carried out between November 2012 to December 2013.

The EIT is promoting and integrating higher education, research and innovation to reinforce the innovation capacity of the EU Member States and the EU. The principal activities are undertaken autonomously by the designated KICs.

The first three KICs appointed in 2009 focus on climate change (Climate-KIC), information and communication technologies (EIT ICT Labs) and sustainable energy (KIC InnoEnergy). KICs have established structures and activity portfolios in line with the overall objectives of the EIT and are entering into their main implementation phase, so attention is now turning to the added value of the overall EIT/KICs model.

The focus of the study was to review the integrated higher education offerings of the three KICs: Master and Doctoral Programmes, and additional programmes such as executive education. The question at issue concerned the extent to which the integrated EIT/KICs model offers an innovative approach to educational activities where the value of such activity lies in its integration with the other two dimensions of the knowledge triangle (research and innovation).

Other references