Research Paper 19: Constructing Universities’ Responses to Europe’s Lisbon Agenda: the Roles of the European Commission in Creating the Europe of Knowledge

Authors: Richard Dale


This paper looks at the responses of European Universities to the European Union’s (EU) Lisbon Agenda – ‘to make Europe the most dynamic, competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustained growth, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion’, and, especially, to its Mid-Term Review revision into a more focussed concentration on growth and jobs. The main focus is on the relationships between the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA) in the construction of the ‘Europe of Knowledge’ (EoK) and, in particular, their consequences for the nature of the EHEA. In a nutshell, the paper is concerned with the ‘Europe of Knowledge’ as essentially a project about increasing Europe’s economic competitiveness – which, of course, hardly distinguishes it from myriad other EU projects. However, the argument I will advance here is that the EoK may represent a qualitative shift in the relationship between the EU and Member States (MS) in ways that radically challenge some deep assumptions about the nature of Higher Education (HE) as a sector.