To There – The Future (of) Universities and New Social Risks

NESOR (“NEw SOcial Risks and the role of universities”), a research project funded by the EU Socrates Programme, has undertaken some 150 interviews with HE experts and University managers, has produced some 20 national reports and 4 transnational reports, has held some 10 focus groups and national conferences, and has organised 3 international conferences with internal and external speakers. Moreover, it has assembled a (non-academic, policyrelevant) book which explores the issues at stake from an institutional point of view.

Concrete recommendations for action are formulated at the end of this Brief, on the basis of evidence collected. They cover these aspects of universities: structure, role in society, major functions, type of access, major actors, major clients, type of governance, and mode of teaching; and they are directed to decision-makers (i.e. managers and board members of the universities, university strategists, policy-makers, and politicians – and not least all those stakeholders who hold an opinion or have a say on the role of universities) at the levels of the European Union, the national state – and as well at the very institutions of HE. This rich body of experience from practice allows for a distilling of relevant experience from unsuccessful and successful action by university management, in front of the new challenges arising from the Lisbon Agenda, the Bologna Process, and other reform processes at international, national and institutional level.