The Executiuefiscdi_logo-en_fixedve Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) is a public entity of the central administration under the ultimate authority of the Romanian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (MECS). UEFISCDI supports the activity of Ministry’s consultative councils, while it coordinates a number of national research programs of the 2007 – 2013 / 2015 – 2020 National Plans for Research, Development and Innovation (NPRDI). Furthermore, UEFISCDI implements projects concerning higher education, development and innovation with public and international financing.
Through the implemented Structural Funds projects, UEFISCDI actively cooperated and made important contributions to the development of public policies for higher education, research, development and innovation (system functional analysis, policy proposals, strategic vision documents) in Romania and more broadly, in the international arena.

In terms of higher education, UEFISCDI has positioned itself as an important national player and international partner. Starting with 2008, the Agency managed a series of overarching projects supported through European funding, aimed at shaping the Romanian higher education landscape. These projects provided the context to substantiate modern and sustainable support policies for universities, leading to knowledge production, increased competitiveness and improved human capital (www.forhe.ro).

Between 1 of July 2010 and 30 June 2012, Romania held the Bologna Follow-Up Group Secretariat, as part of the UEFISCDI structure. Its mission was to ensure professional and neutral support to further the consolidation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), under the authority of the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) and its Co-Chairs and Vice-Chair, as well as to organize the Ministerial Conference and the Bologna Policy Forum. As part of the daily tasks, the team supported the BFUG and its structures in developing background papers and reports on the status-quo and next steps on the Bologna action lines, as well as contributed to the drafting of the Bucharest Communiqué, the EHEA Mobility Strategy and the Bologna Policy Forum Statement (www.ehea.info).

In preparation for the 2012 Ministerial Conference, UEFISCDI organized the first edition of the Future of Higher Education – Bologna Process Researchers’ Conference (FOHE-BPRC) bringing together the voice of researchers’ in higher education, as well as the experience of various actors active in international level policy making. The conference looked at the Bologna Process from diverse perspectives and aimed at sketching a systemic vision of “going beyond Bologna” which would be relevant not just at the European level, but also for other regions in the process of building higher education areas. Given its success, UEFISCDI organized a second edition of this conference, thus establishing itself as a trend setter at European higher education level (www.fohe-bprc.forhe.ro). The results of these conferences were published as SPRINGER volumes.

Valorising the BFUG Secretariat experience, UEFISCDI further developed a number of national projects aiming to increase the capacity of public administration for evidence-based policy making in higher education by monitoring and evaluation of public policies, as well as developing studies and analyses for grounding future policies on solid evidence.

The most important documents produced in the last few years by the UEFISCDI team, jointly with a group of international experts, are highlighted below:

  • Equity in the Romanian Higher Education System – a comprehensive analysis of the Romanian higher education system, mapping out the existing policies regarding equity at national and institutional level and putting forward policy recommendations for these two levels. The report also targets international audiences, in order to improve the understanding of the current state of affairs of national and institutional policies regarding equity in the Romanian higher education system (www.politici-edu.ro).
  • Green paper on equity – designed to substantiate public policies, programs and measures in order to ensure equity at all levels in the Romanian higher education, with an emphasis on identifying specific measures to increase equity and access for underprivileged groups, highlighting good example practices and providing suggestions to improve overall HE equity policies (iemu.forhe.ro).
  • Internationalization of Higher Education– aimed to serve as a policy instrument supporting Romanian policy makers in their decision making process for developing national policies on internationalization of higher education in Romania. The report analyses the current status of internationalization of education in Romania, at both national and institutional level. In a broader European context, the report provides an overview of international statistics, data and strategies, specifically within the context of the Bologna Process and the 2020 Mobility Strategy adopted at the Bucharest Ministerial Conference in 2012. The report also provides an in depth overview of existing national policies within the context of internationalization of Romanian higher education, together with recommendations for further development of internationalization of Romanian education at the national and institutional levels. A framework for a national internationalization strategy, together with a set of indicators for internationalization, has also been developed (www.politici-edu.ro).
  • Romania’s Commitments in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and its Implementation Assessment at a National Level – a comprehensive publication on the implementation of Bologna action lines in Romania, supported by specific recommendations for each of the analyzed domains (iemu.forhe.ro).
  • Analysis of the performance and fitness for purpose of Romanian HEIs’ internal quality assurance systems – looking at Romanian universities in terms of IQA processes and procedures and elaborating recommendations for the national and institutional level to improve the overall system functionality (politici-edu.ro).
  • Impact study on the main policies regarding equity – aimed at evaluating the impact of current policies in terms of access, progress and completion of studies by different groups of students (iemu.forhe.ro).

UEFISCDI has also contributed to increasing the effectiveness of the data collection and analysis process for international reporting exercises by developing an online data collection platform and thus supporting the decision makers in substantiating higher education public policies. At the moment the platform is used by the Ministry of Education as their main data collection process.

Supporting the efforts to increase visibility for the Romanian study programs, UEFISCDI has developed StudyinRomania online platform, the first complex platform to promote the Romanian higher education internationally, attracting national and international students to the study programs offered by Romanian universities. The main objectives are to promote Romanian HE and the educational offer at the international level, to attract international students to study programs included in the educational offer of Romanian universities, to raise awareness regarding Romania’s status as an EU study destination and to build a positive image of Romanian higher education.