1. Project goals
The project goals of the “Observatory of the European University” are to provide universities with adequate tools for their governance of their research activities. This project attempts to answer a lack and the need of shared robust indicators at the European level for university research management.
2. Project activities
The project developed in a research/action mode. The “research” part focused on defining relevant questions from the academic perspective. The “action” part was to provide robust indicators for research management, within the frame of a strategic matrix, and test these indicators in a sample of Higher education institutions, at the European level.
3. Outputs and outcomes
The first major outcome of the project is a “strategic matrix” which tackles, within a bi-dimensional frame, the relevant questions and issues regarding university research management within its broad environment.
The second major outcome is the publication of a “methodological guide” in which the “strategic matrix” is tested in several universities, and the data-handling is discussed. The last chapter of the guide is a proposition for “intellectual capital report” for universities, on the basis of past experiences.
4. Critical self-assessment of the project and scope for future development
One of the main achievements of the project has been to propose alternatives of university research monitoring to prevailing rankings. The indicators proposed and tested have been acknowledged by the practitioners as very relevant and useful for their activities. The OEU project has also generated some interests in high-level stake-holders within the EU community (EC, EUA…).
One of the weaknesses of the project has been to under-estimate the important need for funds for succeeding in providing large scale testing, and to work with voluntary universities, considering the amount of work needed for completing the matrix.
5. Scope for future developments
Future developments of European university typology is underway, and the OEU project, in which has participated the coordinator of the CEIHE stage II, has allowed to make one more step in building robust and comparable data about university research, whose lack has been at the core of the reason for launching the OEU. Typology building, data-handling, university involvement, are issues tested by OEU and for which interactions would be fruitful for the EU community.