Policy Seminars

First Coimbra Group High-Level Workshop

on “Lifelong Learning and Employability”

24 January 2018
The Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, Brussels

The Coimbra Group, the network of historical comprehensive research-intensive European universities (www.coimbra-group.eu), is committed to serving European society and to addressing its grand challenges. At the forefront of these are the unemployment reduction and the continuous upskilling of the workforce. As a result, Lifelong Learning and Employability are top priorities for the European Union institutions as well as for European universities. This is reflected in recent studies, which state:

“Persistent lack of employment opportunities, especially among the young and low-skilled, may lead to serious long-term consequences. […]. More generally, improving and maintaining high-level skills and workforce competences is essential to ensure that Europe remains competitive and innovative against increasing global competition, fast-changing labour market needs and demographic challenges. […]. The low-skilled are now clearly at the top of the European policy agenda: the New skills agenda for Europe includes a specific action (Upskilling pathways: new opportunities for adults) aimed at supporting Member States in ensuring that every European acquires a minimum level of skills necessary to realise talent and potential fully.” [Cedefop (2017). Investing in skills pays off: the economic and social cost of low skilled adults in the EU. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Cedefop research paper No 60. http://dx.doi.org/10.2801/23250]

“With global competition increasing, demographic change unfolding and rapid technological change intensifying, skill mismatch has come to the forefront of Europe’s policy debate. […]. Shortages in some sectors may occur simultaneously with over-education in others. When skill mismatch takes time to resolve it imposes real costs on individuals, enterprises and societies.” [Cedefop (2010). The skill matching challenge. Analysing skill mismatch and policy implications. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2010. ISBN 978-92-896-0485-7]

Europe’s universities need urgent renewal, to stimulate entrepreneurship and tear down disciplinary borders. […]. The post-2020 EU R&I programme should reinforce support for skills and competence development in EU-funded projects.” [European Commission - Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (2017). LAB – FAB – APP — Investing in the European future we want. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. PDF ISBN 978-92-79-70068-2 doi:10.2777/30011 KI-01-17-665-EN-N]


In the context of preparations for the next European Programmes for higher education and for research and innovation (the post-Erasmus+ and the post-Horizon 2020 programmes), the Coimbra Group wishes to bring significant contributions to this modernisation agenda. A first step towards that is the organisation of this workshop in cooperation with MEP Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (Parliament's Bureau, Quaestor, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs).

Coimbra Group Universities have a long tradition of innovation and are committed to engage in intensive dialogue with European institutions in support of ambitious Higher Education and Research policies. This High-Level Workshop aims at bringing Rectors from the Coimbra Group Universities together with European Higher Education Experts and Policymakers to discuss how comprehensive, research-intensive universities can contribute constructively to the Higher Education modernisation agenda on Lifelong Learning and Employability.

For further information please contact Catarina Moleiro at the Coimbra Group Office (moleiro@coimbra-group.eu).




Ludovic Thilly, Professor, University of Poitiers, Chair of the Coimbra Group Executive Board

Joachim James Calleja, Director of CEDEFOP, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training

Cesare Onestini, Director of ETF, European Training Foundation

Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Acting Head of Unit for Higher Education, European Commission, Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

Eika Berit, Pro-Rector, Aarhus University

Nathalie Martin-Papineau, Vice-Rector, University of Poitiers

Ilaria Poggiolini, Vice-Rector, University of Pavia

Wijnand Aalderink, Director, Career Services and Corporate Relations, University of Groningen 

Photo gallery




Second CG High-Level Seminar for Rectors and Vice-Rectors on Education Policy

13-14 November 2017, Trinity College Dublin

On 13-14 November 2017, the Coimbra Group held its second High-Level Seminar on Education Policy, which was kindly hosted by Trinity College Dublin.

Around 100 participants joined us in this successful event, including Rectors and Vice-Rectors of the 39 Coimbra Group universities and representatives of key stakeholders in higher education policy and in industry.

This seminar continued the annual tradition of Coimbra Group high-level policy seminars addressing issues of key concerns in, alternately, education and research policies. Within our alternating biannual structure the focus this year was on Education Policy and the chosen topic “Internationalisation of the Curriculum”.

We discussed how internationalisation strategies and policies at our universities are and can be reflected in the curriculum, campus life and wider activities of the universities. More specifically, we shared our experiences and ideas over a number of related aspects such as the embedding of internationalisation in the curriculum for all students, the role of co- and extra-curricular activities, student societies and student life, virtual mobility, managing diversity of learning styles and intellectual approaches, intercultural communication and English as a medium of instruction.

We are grateful to our keynote speakers:

Patricia Reilly (Deputy Head of Cabinet, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport), Conor O’Carroll (Chair, European Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility), Betty Leask (Emerita Professor of La Trobe University, Melbourne, former Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning), Elspeth Jones (Emerita Professor of the Internationalisation of Higher Education at Leeds Metropolitan University, former International Dean and International Education Consultant), Fionnuala Meehan (Head of Google Ireland, Vice President of EMEA Google Marketing Solutions), Mary Clarke (Vice-Dean for International Citizenship, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), Helen Spencer-Oatey (Professor in the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick);

As well as to Coimbra Group respondents:

Tony Fawcett (Dean and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Durham University), Hiltraud Casper-Hehne (Vice-Rector International Universität Göttingen), Dana Samson (Vice-Rector International, Université catholique de Louvain), Anne-Marie Motard (Vice-Rector International, University of Montpellier), Dorothy Kelly (Vice-Rector International, University of Granada).

We would like to thank Trinity College Dublin for the warm hospitality and of course all the participants, who made this event such an enjoyable experience with quality discussions and inspiration for future activities.



Presentations High-Level Seminar

Ludovic Thilly The Coimbra Group
Patrick Prendergast Globalisation, Trinity Education Project and the Graduate Attributes
Conor O’Carroll Internationalisation of the Curriculum and Human Resources Development
Betty Leask Translating an institutional Challenge into an Opportunity for Innovation
Tony Fawcett Response to Internationalisation of the Curriculum
Elspeth Jones Student-centred Internationalisation: qualitative Implications for Universities and Curricula
Hiltraud Casper-Hehne Response to Student-centred Internationalisation: qualitative Implications for Universities and Curricula
Dana Samson Response to Internationalisation of the curriculum: View from the Industry
Mary Clarke Internationalisation at Home and Global Citizenship
Anne-Marie Motard Response to Internationalisation at Home and Global Citizenship
Helen Spencer-Oatey Internationalisation and the Development of “Global Graduates”
Dorothy Kelly Response to Internationalisation and the Development of “Global Graduates”


Podcasts High-Level Seminar 

Session 1
Sessions 3-4
Sessions 5-6
Sessions 7-8


Photo Gallery




Coimbra Group research policy seminar

27-28 October 2016, San Servolo

On 27-28 October, the Coimbra Group held its third research policy seminar at the Venice International University on the island of San Servolo. The seminar was opened by President Yves Jean, the Honorary President of the Coimbra Group, and Rector Rosario Rizzuto on behalf of the University of Padova, one of the founders of the Venice International University.                    

The seminar brought together twenty-five Coimbra Group universities with representatives of European organisations such as the European Commission, the League of European Research Universities, the Guild of Research-Intensive Universities and UNICA.

The afternoon saw two inspiring presentations from Senior Adviser to the Commissioner, Prof. Maria da Graça Carvalho setting the scene with the three “O”s, open innovation, open science and open to the world, while Dr Wilhelm Krull underlined the importance of training people, of nurturing the innovation that comes from human creativity.

The panel discussion brought the speakers together with Rector Rizzuto, Vice-President Lokesh Joshi from Galway and Prof. Deketelaere from LERU.

The second day concentrated on the theme of research infrastructures, with an introductory presentation from David Bohmert, who represents the Swiss National Science Foundation on the ESFRI Board, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, followed by Dr Jennifer Edmonds from Trinity College Dublin and Prof. Paul Bertrand from University of Louvain on DARIAH, Digital Research Infrastructures for the Arts and Humanities. Rector Žukauskas from Vilnius University presented the shared infrastructures at his university, and Prof. Serge Huberson looked at the international cooperation level and the questions of sustainability.

You will find the presentations below:

 Dr W. Krull 

Prof. M. da Graça Carvalho 

Dr J. Edmond DARIAH 

ESFRI D. Bohmert 

Prof. P. Bertrand DARIAH 

Prof. S. Huberson 

Rector A. Zukauskas Vilnius Case Study 


Coimbra Group conference

"Impact of a Horizon 2020 proposal – industrial leadership and societal challenges"

3-4 December 2015, Aarhus University



Coimbra Group High-level Seminar

“A Tradition of Innovation”


26-27 October 2015, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași




Seminar for Directors/Coordinators of Translation,

Interpreting and Translation Studies Programmes


28 October 2015, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași


Provisional programme


Coimbra Group High-level Seminar
“Horizons 2015: First Experiences, Emerging Expectations”
Horizon 2020 from the perspective of European Research Universities

30-31 October 2014, San Servolo 


Summary of Findings Rector Elmer Sterken, Honorary President of CG Rectors' Advisory Group

Message from the Italian Minister of Education and Research Stefania Giannini

List of Participants


Cooperation between Research Support Offices in the CG Mr John Westensee - Aarhus University
The open archive HAL: open access to scientific publications Ms Christine Berthaud - CCSD, CNRS

Keynote on Research and Innovation Provost Patrick Prendergast, Trinity College Dublin
Early Career Researchers at the University of Edinburgh Prof. Jeremy Bradshaw - University of Edinburgh
Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions: Opportunities for early-stage researchers Ms Kamila Partyka - DG Education and Culture, European Commission
Open Access and Open Data in Horizon 2020 Dr Wolfram Horstmann Georg-August University Göttingen
Open Access and Open Data Pilot in Horizon 2020 by Daniel Spichtinger presented by Dr Horstmann Georg-August University Göttingen
Conclusions Honorary President, Rector Elmer Sterken, University of Groningen
Science 2.0: the view from LERU Dr Paul Ayris - University College London
Cohesion and Regional Innovation Rector Volli Kalm - University of Tartu
Regional Innovation Prof. Anders Malmberg - Uppsala University
Horizon 2020 and its impact on university research strategies Prof. Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik - University of Vienna
Early stage researchers: perspective from doctoral education Prof. Melita Kovačević - University of Zagreb


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