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The European Tertiary Education Register (ETER) has established itself as the reference point for any analysis of higher education based on microdata, that is, on data related to individual institutions. ETER covers both university (PhD granting) and non-university institutions (e.g. Fachochschule) on the basis of microdata validated by National Statistical Authorities across all European Union countries and several affiliated countries.
In recent years the European Commission, Directorate General Education, Youth and Culture, has launched an initiative to foster the exchange of students and academic staff in a structured and permanent way. The European University Initiative supports alliances of universities that build up joint curricula, or develop new educational programmes based on complementary resources. The Initiative is too young to evaluate its impact, but it is important to start a collective reflection on the startup period, in the light of the more general issue of the reform and relaunch of the European Higher Education Area.
The Policy Brief makes use of ETER data to compare universities that are members of alliances to non-members. The Brief finds that members of alliances are larger, more internationalized and more research intensive. At the same time, they do not differ in terms of disciplinary profile.