European Higher Education systems under austerity, addressing the pressures of equity promotion and capacity for high-skill formation policies: the cases of Portugal and the Netherlands

8th June 2021 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Astrid Favella, University of Oxford

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Have European higher education systems been able to live up to their equity promotion and research capacity building objectives after the “Great Recession”? Only partially.

Between 2008 and 2017, European higher education systems have been exposed to one major restriction, the global financial and economic crisis, while facing two ever-present supranational policy demands simultaneously: equity promotion and research capacity formation. The former objective finds its explicit formulation in the EU Lisbon Strategy, while the latter has been warmly promoted by the OECD.

Netherlands and Portugal have followed the same trajectories in answering to these two demands under austerity restrictions: both have cut their pre-crisis student financial support systems and deeply invested in research capacity building. But the 2008 crisis has more deeply hit Portugal than the Netherlands, and structurally they differ in terms of welfare state dynamics, types of market economies and colors of the governments in office at the time.

Hence, what accounts for two mostly different countries adopting such two most similar policy trajectories in the two selected policy areas?

The removal of students from university governance advisory boards, and the emergence of an employability incentive-structure for prospective researchers, such as via the introduction of industrial PhDs, respectively, are suggestive in providing an answer to this question.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).