CHEPS awarded two new projects by the European Commission

CHEPS has recently been awarded two major new research assignments by the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG-EAC) of the European Commission. This achievement underlines CHEPS’ leading position in international comparative higher education policy research in Europe and takes the number of major projects awarded by the Commission since 2006 to ten. One of the new studies focuses on dropout and completion in higher education (HEDOCE) the other on structural reforms in higher education (SHERDE). Both studies have a broad European and international coverage including up to 38 countries.

The combined budget of these two new studies totals €0.8 million for a period of just less than two years. CHEPS is the lead partner in both the HEDOCE and SHERDE projects and will be responsible for about 40% of the work in both projects. Next to its own expertise, CHEPS coordinates the contributions by many experts from its global networks. Both projects will result in policy-relevant recommendations as well as academic outputs.

HEDOCE – Higher Education Drop-Out and Completion in Europe

This research project started in May 2014. It is mapping the range of policies, instruments and experiences with regard to study success, completion and drop-out in higher education across Europe and in Australia and the USA. On the basis of an up-to-date literature review an analytical framework is being developed to analyse the impact of policies designed to enhance study success at the national and institutional levels. Detailed data are being collected through a network of national experts in the more than 30 countries covered in the study. The main outcomes of the study will be relevant policy overviews, increased knowledge on effective policies (within their contexts), an innovative set of indicators in relation to study success (see the figure below for a prototype), policy recommendations and good practice examples. The European Commission intends to use the outcomes of the study in its annual Education Policy Recommendations to Member States. The project fits very well with the University of Twente’s innovation of bachelor education (the TOM model) that is also seeking to improve study success.

SHERDE – Structural Higher Education Reform: Development and Evaluation

The SHERDE project will provide practical recommendations on the design, implementation and evaluation of structural reform initiatives in higher education relevant for policy makers and higher education institutions in Europe. Examples of structural reform include institutional mergers, the establishment of new types of higher education institutions and new ways of configuring the relationships between universities and research organisations. In particular, the European Commission is interested in identifying and categorising appropriate types of structural reform which governments may implement or encourage in their higher education systems. The SHERDE project will produce a typology of structural reform policies and analyse a set of case studies of significant structural reform processes in higher education in at least 12 countries in Europe and beyond. The study will lead to practical recommendations relevant to policy makers in EU Member States regarding a) the circumstances under which different structural reform policy options may best be used, and b) the design, communication, implementation and evaluation of different types of structural reform processes.