15 Feb 2022

2022 Summer Forum: From Bologna to Brussels

Community Summit: Navigating change with purpose


Forum magazine is now accepting submissions for the 2022 Summer edition on the theme ‘From Bologna to Brussels: European collaborative programmes’. This issue of the EAIE member magazine will seek to reflect upon the lessons learned from two decades of European joint programmes, and how this experience can guide upcoming innovations such as the European Degree.

Joint and collaborative programmes have become commonplace in international higher education and are known under a wide variety of names: joint degrees, dual and double degrees, articulation programmes etc. In many respects, Europe has been a leader in the development of such programmes, with funding from Erasmus+ supporting joint Master’s programmes with high levels of integrated study across borders. More recently, the establishment of the Erasmus+-funded European Universities Initiative in 2019 has led to new forms of collaborative programmes within Europe, and others – such as the European Degree – will be introduced by 2025, when the European Education Area is expected to see the light of day.

European Universities Initiative in 2019 has led to new forms of collaborative programmes within Europe, and others – such as the European Degree – will be introduced by 2025

With this watershed moment in sight, the EAIE is devoting the 2022 edition of Summer Forum magazine to an all-encompassing examination of European joint and collaborative programmes, and the ways in which they are currently being framed in the international strategies of European institutions.

Sharing best practices

We are all too aware of the challenges posed by developing and managing a joint/collaborative programme. Coordinating work across countries, navigating the intricacies of different national legal frameworks, and interacting with multiple accrediting and evaluating bodies can be complex endeavours, requiring determination and ingenuity.

What best practices have been devised to ensure optimal delivery? What tools exist for quality assurance? And what kind of support can institutions obtain from EU programmes for their joint/collaborative programmes?

Incentives and perspectives

If there is one key factor to determine the success of a programme, it is the buy-in and participation of all the different stakeholders: staff, students and academics. In order to ensure this, the added value and incentives of joint/collaborative programmes must be clear, and clearly communicated. This, in turn, requires a thorough understanding of the needs, desires and expectations of staff and students.

How popular are joint/collaborative programmes with students? Are academic staff keen to participate in course development and delivery? Why? What makes them attractive? What discourages participation?

At a higher level, similar considerations concern the participation of institutions. How can investing resources in joint/collaborative programmes help institutions advance their strategies? How can they benefit from strengthened collaboration within the European Universities Initiative?

Demonstrating success

Advocating for participation in joint/collaborative programmes is only possible by offering indisputable evidence of their success. Data is a valuable currency in this context, including analysis of disciplines, course level and countries. Outcomes must be assessed – for institutions, staff and students. Collaborative learning across borders must be backed up by strong pedagogical perspectives.


Are there existing or emerging best practices that can help institutions and national education sectors demonstrate the impact of joint/collaborative programmes? What roadblocks stand in the way of collecting the data needed to convince stakeholders of the value of such programmes, and how might they be overcome?

Future developments

The once-lofty goal of a European Degree is now anticipated in just a few years’ time. How will the management of joint/collaborative change programmes be affected by this development? What new tools for the quality assurance of joint/collaborative programmes will or should be introduced? To what extent will an additional layer of European quality assurance or governance stimulate further degree-level collaboration in Europe?


Joint and collaborative programmes are a crucial component in the integration of the European Education Area. We hope you’ll consider sharing your experiences and insights in this area in the form of an 800–1200 word article submission for the Summer 2022 issue of Forum. Submission guidelines can be found here and aspiring authors should send their articles to [email protected] by 14 March 2022. We look forward to hearing from you!

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