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As part of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a conference was held in Paris on 16 March 2022, titled “Assessment, an essential step towards the European Higher Education and Research Area”.

The event was organised by HCÉRES, the French national quality assurance agency and its focus was on how evaluations in science can contribute to the development of the quality and competitiveness of science and research in Europe, as well as to the development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA).

Several round table discussions were held at the event, which saw panellists discuss prior experiences regarding evaluations in science, the associated challenges and plans for the future. The main conclusions were that certain reforms are much needed in this area, particularly regarding evaluations of scientific output, open science and the like.

The European Universities Initiative was also discussed, as well as the chief obstacles to establishing university alliances and plans for the future. One of the challenges discussed was the quality assurance of joint study programmes, a topic which saw Mr. sc. Sandra Bezjak, Acting Director of the Agency for Science and Higher Education, present the experience of the Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE) in the accreditation of a joint study programme proposed by a Croatian-French consortium. It was observed that the successful quality assurance of European university alliances and joint programmes should be facilitated by the following documents: the European Approach for QA of Joint Programs and the European Framework for the Comprehensive QA of European Universities.

Given that ASHE is one of the few European quality assurance agencies that also performs evaluations in science, further collaboration was agreed upon between these agencies in order to exchange experiences and start new European initiatives.

Event programme