To be successful in their research and teaching missions, universities need to be able to take their own decisions. The University Autonomy Tool lets you compare university autonomy in 29 higher education systems. It provides detailed information on organisational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy and ranks countries according to the level of autonomy they have in each of these dimensions.
For more detailed information, take a look at the Questions & Answers section below or download the full report: University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard
The European University Association (EUA) is the representative organisation of universities and national rectors’ conferences in 47 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU and national policies on higher education, research and innovation. Thanks to its interaction with its members and a range of other European and international organisations, EUA ensures that the independent voice of European universities is heard wherever decisions are being taken that will impact on their activities. For further information, visit www.eua.be.
In addition to their traditional teaching and research missions, modern universities are expected to fulfil a number of different societal roles. In order to do this successfully, they need to be able to take decisions on the issues affecting them, such as their management, finances, human resources and academic profile. The University Autonomy Tool gives you a detailed picture of the state of autonomy in 27 European countries. It enables the benchmarking of national policies, raises awareness among universities and provides researchers with a comprehensive set of data for further studies.
The Autonomy Tool concerns the relationship between universities and the state. It measures how flexibly universities can take decisions in the context of the rules and regulations that shape their higher education system. A high score on an indicator or autonomy dimension indicates that the relevant regulations provide a legal framework without restricting universities in their freedom of action. Although there are links between autonomy, performance and quality, the results of the Autonomy Tool do not indicate whether a higher education system is “good” or “bad”.
There are two main ways to approach the data. On the map at the top of the Home page or in the Countries tab in the top menu, click on a country flag or name for detailed information on all autonomy indicators for that country.
The Dimensions pages give you an overview of the complete country data for each of the four autonomy dimensions. On the left you will also see rankings of all higher education systems, which are based on the results of each country for each autonomy dimension.
The tool covers 27 European countries: Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Due to the federal structure of the German higher education system, three federal states are included: Brandenburg, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. So the tool includes data on 29 higher education systems. For Belgium the tool only includes data on the region of Flanders.
The University Autonomy Tool uses 38 indicators, which are categorised into four autonomy dimensions. For more detailed information on the indicators used, please visit the Dimensions pages.
No one country is the number 1 on university autonomy. University autonomy is a complex concept that consists of many different, but interconnected elements. For example, a high level of staffing autonomy is of little use if a university has no authority over its internal financial affairs. This is why the tool focuses on four central autonomy dimensions. It does not present an overall autonomy score.
The data presented on this website was provided by the national rectors’ conferences, the representative organisations of universities, in the 27 European countries covered by the University Autonomy Tool.
The scoring system used by the tool is based on deductions. Each restriction on university autonomy was assigned a deduction value based on how restrictive a particular rule or regulation was seen to be. A score of 100% indicates full institutional autonomy; a score of 0% means that an issue is entirely regulated by an external authority or legally prescribed. The law often grants universities a limited amount of autonomy or prescribes negotiations between universities and the government. A higher education system in which this is the case receives a score between 0% and 100%, depending on how restrictive its particular situation is perceived to be.
For a detailed description of the scoring methodology, please download the full report: University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard (pages 14-15).
The University Autonomy Tool uses unweighted and weighted scores. All results at indicator-level are unweighted. Weighted scores are only used at the level of the autonomy dimensions. The rankings presented on the Dimensions pages are based on weighted scores.
The weighting factors are based on a survey conducted among the national rectors’ conferences in October 2010 and thus reflect the views of the university sector in Europe. The results of the survey were translated into a numerical system, which evaluates the relative importance of the indicators within each of the autonomy dimensions. Since the Autonomy Tool does not present aggregate scores, the four autonomy dimensions have not been weighted against each other.
Click here for a breakdown of the weighting factors. For further information on the development of the weighting system, please refer to the report: University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard (pages 16-17).
EUA plans to update the tool in the future, providing a possibility to track the medium- and long-term development of university autonomy in Europe. This is particularly useful at a time when higher education systems are facing complex challenges and undergoing far-reaching reforms.