Universities are actively seeking to improve their operations at institutional level. Discussions about operational efficiency at institutional level are taking place in a number of systems, albeit with different narratives and expectations towards universities.
The extent to which universities can themselves develop strategies to actively enhance their efficiency very much depends on their regulatory framework and the corresponding degree of autonomy they can operate with, and also on the support they get for this from public authorities and funders. The examples of the United Kingdom and Ireland, where a structured dialogue between universities and public authorities has been developed on the topic of efficiency and effectiveness, show how important it is that universities themselves proactively approach this topic and thus can shape policies in this area.
The proposed USTREAM project seeks to examine the measures that are in place in universities across Europe to enhance efficiency at operational level, and also analyse policies at system level that support universities in their efforts to operate more efficiently, with a view to identify good practice examples and develop recommendations for further development.
In particular the proposed project pursues the following objectives:
- explore the measures put in place by universities across Europe to increase their operational efficiency, both in administration and management as well as academic practice;
- assess the impact these measures have with regard to the effectiveness of university activities;
- map policies, supporting mechanisms and system-level initiatives to foster efficiency at institutional level and support universities in their efforts;
- identify good practice examples of efficiency strategies and policies in Europe and also other regions in the world that might be transferable to other institutions/systems and promote them;
- foster the dialogue between universities and public authorities on efficiency and effectiveness in university management and academic practice;
- inform policy-making by developing recommendations to university leaders, public authorities and funders how to enhance efficiency and effectiveness at institutional level.