Higher Education in Europe Beyond 2010: Resolving Conflicting Social and Economic Expectations

Background and News

This project was launched in early 2006, with Professor John Brennan (Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, Open University, UK) as Chair of the Organising Committee.

The project terminated with a final conference in October 2007 and a final report and research agenda were subsequently published in July 2008 - see also the ESF press release: The University of the Future.

A EUROCORES Programme: Higher Education and Social Change (EuroHESC) has already resulted from this Forward Look.


The Project

Higher education institutions are being subjected to a variety of pressures that seek, primarily, to enhance higher education’s contribution to the successful creation of so-called ‘knowledge societies’, together with, and receiving only slightly less emphasis, the achievement of greater equity and social justice.

This Forward Look has examined the relevant higher education research literature in terms of its underlying conceptual approaches and empirical findings across a number of selected sub-themes (see below) in order to derive a future research agenda that will address scientific questions of long term strategic concern to the future of higher education.

Download the flyer for a quick overview and see the Project Summary for more details.


The Themes

The five themes that have been addressed are:

  1. Higher education and the needs of the knowledge society

  2. Higher education and the achievement of equity and social justice

  3. Higher education and its communities: interconnections and interdependencies

  4. Steering and governance of higher education

  5. Differentiation and diversity of institutional forms and professional roles

A paper was commissioned for each theme and the findings published in the form of a report: Higher Education Looking Forward: Relations between Higher Education and Society.