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What are the "Near-EU" goals?

The overall goal of the NEAR-EU project is to broaden the field of European integration studies by incorporating the domain of higher education in the research and activities of European Study Centers and departments of international affairs. The project will develop an inter-regional, collaborative academic space to enhance the study of European higher education policy and academic internationalization

Why was "Near-EU" founded?

The developments in European higher education policy in recent decades, with the EHEA and the Bologna Process in particular, have set the stage for exploring European integration studies from a further social perspective- that of higher education policy and practice. Moreover, the arena of HE is increasingly characterised by regionalization trends, with Europe presenting the most developed example. As such, the study of European HE can also contribute to the overall field of EU and comparative regionalism

What does 'Near-EU' do? 

The project intends to establish Bologna Resource Centers (BRC), for the study and research of European HE, within and outside Europe and to create a nexus among them. The BRCs will evolve into a network of prominent academic units in the field of European Studies in EU and non-European countries (Israel, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore) to further deepen the academic discourse on European HE policy and the EHEA. Capitalizing on their venues within National Jean Monnet Centers and leading European and international affairs research centers, the BRCs will be in a position to catalyze interest in European higher education policies and research, attracting academics and graduate students to the arena.

Why deepen the study of European HE?

By deepening the study of European HE, the project also anticipates a policy-level impact and interest. For two and one-half decades, non-European countries have been following and observing European led policies in the field of HE like the Bologna Process and questioning its relevance and potential applicability for their HESs and their developing relationship with the EHEA. This has been happening in a sporadic and non-coordinated way in different regions. Against this backdrop, NEAR-EU will create a common forum for cooperation and discussion between regions on the EHEA, the BP and possible benefits and implications for national higher education systems. Given the fact that the network embraces the globe, it has great potential to generate interest in the European Studies community and to ultimately attract more stakeholders. This network of academics and young scholars will inevitably trigger an informed discussion on the strategy of higher education systems concerning the internationalization and modernization of higher education. As HE is an international concern, we see the establishment of a world-wide inter-regional network that will act as a bridge between the policy development and the theoretical framing as an effective resource to accomplish this goal.

How will the BRCs work?

The BRCs will operate in conjunction with national ERASMUS+ offices and HEREs fora as well as local education authorities. An innovative feature of the NEAR-EU project lies in the geographic composition of the network as it catalyzes the sharing of knowledge and best practice among EU and non-EU participants who cope with diverse challenges. Issues such as  harmonization of HES within federal systems (Canada, Germany) and strengthening regional integration via higher education (Singapore, New-Zealand, Slovenia), are creating horizon broadening opportunities, not yet integrated into the European Studies field, that are waiting to be grasped. The academic position and influence of the BRCs in their respective regions creates possibilities for broad dissemination.

Near-EU's specific objectives:

  • To develop the academic field of European HE policy.

  • To develop research methodologies in the field of EU HE policy.

  • To strengthen the ability of European research centers to study European educational policy and its role in European integration.

  • To create a wide inter-regional network of BRCs who will engage in collaborative research, mutual learning and cross-fertilization processes.

  • To assess the internationalization trends in partner countries.

  • To enhance awareness in non-EU partner countries of the Bologna Process and familiarity with its practical tools.

  • To stimulate debate on the implementation of the process and provide a platform for future enhancement of internationalization– being situated in leading and established European study centers, the BRCs are assured of stable and long-term platforms for continued activity and dissemination.

  • To foster exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices among EU and Non-EU European Study Centers.

  • To promote cooperation between the partner countries HES's and the EHEA. 

Near-EU's main activities:

  • Network meetings combining management sessions and workshops approximately every 8 months (total of 5).

  • Assessing national HE systems and developing local strategy plans in non-EU partner countries.

  • Conducting 4 national academic conferences in non-EU partner countries.

  • Creating or broadening of BRCs in all partner institutions.

  • Establishing a network of BRCs that will generate a close cooperation between these Centers and conduct joint study of higher education internationalisation, the EHEA and related issues. 

  • Establishing a secretariat at BGU for the NEAR-EU Network.

  • Establishing a project website and portal for the network.

  • Developing a QA mechanism for the network.

  • Disseminating the BRC's activities and outputs through handbooks, conferences and a project website as well as the various centers' local embedded regional links and connections.