Evolution of university missions to sustain excellence


Conference Recording
  • Prof. Michael Murphy, European University Association


For two decades universities have contributed to policy formation supporting transnational student mobility through their representative associations – at country level via the National Rectors Conferences (NRCs) and, continent-wide, through the European University Association (EUA). As a standing member of the Bologna Follow-up Group, EUA contributes continuously to the evolution of the Bologna Process and its recognition frameworks.

But, beyond policy inputs, national university associations and EUA also support members to implement recognition processes at institutional level. Regrettably, implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) remains patchy and inconsistent across Europe. In response, EUA along with three member NRCs have spearheaded the “Spotlight on recognition” project, a transnational peer-learning approach through which university staff involved in recognition processes and decisions receive information, training and support in self-assessing and enhancing their recognition practices’ compliance with the LRC. It will report in 2022.

The EU sponsored European University Initiative has added new impetus to solving mobility barriers. In 2019-20, 280 universities across Europe, aggregated into 41 alliances, were funded as pilots and role models for a deeply integrated European university system. Charged with identifying all extant transnational obstacles to mobility and academic collaboration – their experiences may also guide the European Council and Commission to design necessary reforms. Momentum is building.

New challenges emerge: what must be recognised – learning – is changing, while mobility is increasingly a global, not just intra-European phenomenon.  In “Universities without Walls: a vision for 2030” EUA has set out the likely new model of learning which will be different and pose new challenges to uniform recognition across Europe and “beyond”. And, in an era of necessary global cooperation to overcome intense global challenges, global recognition, beyond Europe will become indispensable. University associations should contribute to ensuring that a global recognition framework becomes a living reality.

Prof. Michael Murphy

President of the European University Association
Michael Murphy graduated in Medicine from University College Cork in 1976. Following postgraduate medical training in Dublin and in Clinical Pharmacology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, he received his doctorate from the National University of Ireland in 1984. Dr. Murphy spent a decade on the Faculties of Pharmacology, Physiology and Medicine at The University of Chicago before returning to Cork as Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and later as Dean of Medicine. An expert on drug therapy for cardiovascular disease, he led several international clinical trials of interventions to reduce cardiovascular mortality.

A past President of University College Cork, Ireland (2007-17), he has been active in many academic organisations in Europe and the United States and has served as Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Chair of the Health Research Board of Ireland, Chair of the Irish Universities Association and Chair of the Permanent Working Group (PWG) of European Hospital Doctors.

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