Following the mandate given by its members at the 3rd Convention of European Higher Education Institutions in Glasgow this year, EUA decided to launch a broad debate on the crucial issue of the financing of higher education in Europe.

The Glasgow Declaration underlines that adequate and sustainable funding is a prerequisite for securing universitiesí future and with it, their capacity for promoting cultural, social and technological innovation. Europe cannot hope to be competitive if higher education and research budgets are not viewed as an investment in the future, and urgently increased.

For their part, universities are committed to improving their governance structures and leadership competence so as to increase their efficiency and innovative capacity. This means working towards a diversification of funding sources, in particular through exploring combined public/private funding models which in turn imply reviewing institutional strategies on the one hand, governance and management systems on the other.

Building on the consideration of specific research related funding and costing questions that were the focus of discussions in the Autumn 2005 Conference in Uppsala, the Conference in Hamburg provides the perfect opportunity to broaden these discussions at institutional level, not least given the experience of the University of Hamburg itself that has gone through fundamental change in the last few years in the context of a major higher education reform plan implemented by the City of Hamburg that has attracted attention both across Germany and internationally.

In plenary, working group and round table sessions, the Conference will address the multiple aspects of university funding, such as:
  • The impact of tuition fees on access and the need for student aid schemes;
  • The diversification of funding sources, the role of private investment and revenue generating activities;
  • The institutional requirements for transparency, accountability and good governance for managing increasingly diverse funding sources;

The Conference aims at producing:

  • Insight into diverse models of innovative institutional funding;
  • Orientation on good practice existing across Europe;
  • Vision and practice in terms of governance models and management systems necessary to develop and sustain a more diversified institutional funding base.