Published in Kohler, J. & Huber, J. (eds) Higher Education Governance between democratic Culture, academic Aspirations and market Forces, Council of Europe Higher Education Series Nr. 5
In this contribution based on the opening address at the conference as vice-chair of the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR),I want to focus upon what seems to me one, if not the, most important challenge for the future of European higher education and research, and hence for European universities: the urgent need for change in university governance. The topic of the conference “Higher education governance between democratic culture, academic aspirations and market forces” is obviously broader than that as it raises also important questions like the role of education in promoting a democratic culture or the choice of a decision mechanism putting the human being at the centre. However, these essential values, articularly cherished in Europe and in most universities all over the world, are powerful only if the system of higher education and research, as well as each institution, can keep up with the increasingly rapidly changing world so that knowledge creation and dissemination become the driving forces of the European economy and society.