The European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities (ESMU
) is a Brussels-based international, non-profit association with significant expertise in promoting the strategic management of universities in Europe and worldwide. ESMU assists universities with their strategic profiling through European-wide networks/platforms, benchmarking exercises, leadership development programmes, project work and specific advice.
For over 20 years ESMU has been bringing together senior decision-makers from higher education institutions to exchange experience on the strategic management of universities and more generally on the crucial roles of higher education institutions in today's knowledge societies.
ESMU has long standing experience in EU project management and coordination gained during more than twenty years of project work at European and international level in the field of higher education. ESMU has also been involved in numerous TEMPUS projects, Lifelong Learning projects and an ERASMUS MUNDUS project more recently (with universities in Australia, Latin America and the United States). ESMU works closely with the European Commission, UNESCO and OECD.
Over the years ESMU has built strong European-wide networks of senior experts in a wide variety of fields in order to address the most cutting-edge and up-to-date topics in the field of higher education management. ESMU currently coordinates a number of European projects and practical exercises with the use of benchmarking techniques. ESMU produces reports on cutting-edge issues, inventories and handbooks of good practices.
ESMU strives to assist higher education institutions to better adapt to the rapid changes in the sector and is an active promoter of the modernization of higher education institutions by introducing the most innovative approaches for the strategic management of higher education institutions.
The MODERN European Platform on Higher Education Modernisation is a consortium of around 40 partners who have joined forces since 2008 under the lead of ESMU to provide a structured answer to the fragmentation in the supply of management support to higher education institutions, their leaders and managers. Thematic conferences and peer learning activities have been offered on leadership and management issues in higher education.
The networks HUMANE (a network for heads of administration) and DEAN (a platform for deans and academic leaders) were launched in 1997 and 1999 to promote the professional development of senior university leaders.
The EU-DRIVERS network project was designed to improve regional cooperation between universities, private sector companies and regional governments through pilot partnership projects in order to enhance the innovation capacities of European universities.
Benchmarking in European Higher Education was an EU-funded project to improve the use of benchmarking in higher education. Benchmarking groups of HEIs have been created for wide exchange, advice and best practices in workshops. These groups focus on governance, university-enterprise cooperation, curriculum reforms and lifelong learning.
The CHARME project "Challenges of harmonising medical education in Europe” addressed a major aspect of the modernisation agenda for medical faculties across Europe: study programmes and employability. The overall aim was to find out how European universities can best adapt their curricula in order for future doctors to be better prepared for the challenges of the 21th century.
The ESMU-HUMANE Winter School for Senior University Administrators has been running annually since 2003 bringing together 35 participants in each session for a one-week training programme. Topics included the challenges of the European Higher Education area, governance, leadership, and management, financial management, communication strategy and HRM. Through the week, participants work on a major project submitted to a jury.
The EU-STEP European Higher Education Study Tours for senior university leaders from Latin America, the US/Canada and Australia/New Zealand improved the visibility of European Higher Education throughout the world through six European study tours for policy-makers and university leaders from the target regions, learning about the following themes during the tours: European policies, the Bologna Process, how European higher education responds to the labour market, research, innovation and knowledge exchange as well as equity and access.
More recently a number of studies have been carried out for the European Commission on EU-Mexico and EU-Brazil relations in internationalisation and a project on quality assessment in the Erasmus Mundus programme. ESMU is currently also assisting the European Commission with a new communication on internationalisation scheduled to be issued in the spring 2013.