INGENIUM Supports European Commission’s Blueprint for a European Degree and Urges National Authorities to Facilitate Implementation

The INGENIUM Steering Committee has endorsed the European Commission’s proposal, “A Blueprint for a European Degree,” which outlines a pathway for establishing a European Degree and facilitate transnational cooperation.

Pending governmental approval of the necessary legal framework for implementing the European Degree, INGENIUM is committed to advancing its joint educational offer with programmes such as open degrees and micro-credentials.

On 30 May, the INGENIUM Steering Committee approved a reaction document supporting the European Commission’s proposal “A Blueprint for a European Degree”, presented in late March. This proposal includes a European Commission Communication and two proposals for Council Recommendations on quality assurance and attractive academic careers.

The package of proposals, titled “A Blueprint for a European Degree,” outlines the characteristics of this new type of educational programmes and offers a roadmap for member states to implement it. The package includes a European Commission Communication and two proposals for Council Recommendations

The creation of a European Degree as a new type of qualification included in the higher education legislations of member states is the central objective of the package. Such qualification would cover joint degree programmes that comply with the co-created European criteria that are also included in the set of proposals. The European Commission also proposes the creation of a preparatory label based on the same set of criteria, which could be used in case that member states do not want to overhaul their HE legislations yet.

The desired system level effect is to boost and facilitate the creation of joint degree programmes across Europe by providing a coherent policy framework for their creation.

While the ultimate aim is to introduce this new type of degree, the package also seeks to achieve several other objectives within the HE sector, particularly for alliances: streamlining quality assurance systems, creating an accreditation system for alliances as transnational higher education institutions, and improving recognition for participation in transnational cooperation, among others.

The Commission envisions these degrees as qualifications jointly awarded by a group of universities across Europe, with automatic recognition in EU countries and based on a set of common criteria agreed at the European level. The creation of these European Degrees would be facilitated by the European Commission’s proposal of a cross-institutional quality assurance framework for alliances of European Universities, which would allow alliances like INGENIUM to self-accredit their joint educational programmes.

The Commission’s objectives include strengthening the competitiveness and attractiveness of European universities, simplifying the creation of joint programmes, and equipping students with transversal and innovative training aligned with the needs of the professional world.

To make these qualifications possible, the Commission acknowledges that member states must approve legislative reforms and integrate this programme into their regulatory frameworks. It offers them a roadmap that includes adopting common criteria for these new degrees and establishing a European label through which their respective accreditation agencies recognise programmes already aligned with these objectives.

Reaction by the INGENIUM European University

With the approval of the declaration of support for this initiative by the INGENIUM Steering Committee, the Alliance acknowledges itself as one of the stakeholders addressed by the Commission and expresses its backing for a proposal that, according to the Alliance, “can provide solutions” to the challenges facing higher education and “play an important role in revitalising Europe’s single market and boosting true intellectual circulation”.

Furthermore, INGENIUM “urges the Council of the European Union and the national and regional authorities of the 10 EU member states where the Alliance operates to take swift steps towards the implementation of the proposals outlined in the package”.

To ensure the sustainability of these new degrees, INGENIUM calls for a long-term financing system and recalls that, according to an internal survey, seven out of ten Alliance partners consider “the lack of sustainable funding models as an obstacle for the establishment of joint programmes”.

Regarding the common criteria that will guide these qualifications, INGENIUM considers those proposed by the Commission as “highly relevant and in line with the consortium objectives.” However, it calls for a flexible definition of the interdisciplinarity requirement, as “excellent programmes can emerge within a specific academic discipline,” and for “public institutions, civil society and industry” to be “crucial actors in the creation, promotion and assessment of European Degrees”.

As a next step, INGENIUM calls on the governments in its 10 Alliance countries to develop a European quality label that they can use, on a transitional basis, until they achieve the necessary regulatory changes to incorporate the European Degree into their legislation.

Regarding the Council’s Recommendation for a common quality assurance system, INGENIUM views that a quality assurance framework that allows European University alliances to self-accredit their programmes, as included in the proposal for a Council Recommendation, “is crucial for assisting alliances on their path to becoming true transnational universities serving their communities”.

While European institutions and member states continue working to make the European Degree a reality, INGENIUM remains committed to developing alternative forms of joint education, such as micro-credentials and open degrees, which It Is already pursuing.

The full reaction document is available in the attachment below.

INGENIUM’s reaction to the Blueprint for European Degree package