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As part of the cycle of seminars on internationalization of higher education, the Agency for Science and Higher Education organized a seminar titled "European Universities and Development of Joint Studies" that was held on Wednesday, 30 October 2019 at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Zagreb.

The European Commission recently published the names of higher education institutions from all over Europe that were selected for the first alliances (full list); the list of 114 HEIs also includes Croatian universities - University of Split and University of Zadar, and University of Rijeka as an associate member. Of the 54 applicants, 17 European universities were selected, comprising a total of 114 higher education institutions from 24 EU member states. The selection was based on an assessment carried out by 26 independent external experts, including rectors, professors and researchers appointed by the European Commission. The budget for the first 17 European universities amounts to EUR 85 million. This first call - along with the second, expected this autumn - will test different models for implementing the new concept of European universities, and its potential for development of higher education.

As the European Universities Initiative was designed to enhance student and staff mobility, as well as the quality, competitiveness and attractiveness of the European higher education by fostering cooperation between European HEIs, a discussion was held during the seminar on the possibilities of joining universities’ alliances and opportunities this would present for Croatian HEIs.

Participants in the discussion on the opportunities and challenges of joining universities’ alliances included Tine Delva, policy officer in Higher Education Unit DG EAC in European Commission, Klemen Šubic and Maja Milas from the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, and representatives of Croatian higher education institutions, prof. dr. sc. Slaven Zjalić, Vice Rector for Inter-Institutional Cooperation And Technology Transfer, University of Zadar, and prof. dr. sc. Leandra Vranješ Markić, Vice Rector for Science and Innovation, University of Split.

In the second part of the seminar, participants had the opportunity to hear different experiences related to development of joint studies and attracting foreign students from the University of Dubrovnik, University of Zadar, Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Zagreb, and the Zagreb School of Economics and Management.

The cycle of seminars on internationalization was launched in response to the results of the re-accreditation process, which indicated a great potential and strength of Croatian higher education institutions with regard to offering study programmes in the global market, attracting international students and participating as equal partners in academic cooperation and exchange programmes. Notwithstanding some identified obstacles, higher education institutions showed considerable interest and engagement in this regard.

The cycle of seminars on internationalization of higher education is organized within SKAZVO project - Improvement of quality assurance and enhancement systems in higher education, carried out by ASHE and financed from the European Social Fund.

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