What is the Nature of the Relationship between Changes in European Higher Education and Social Science Research on Higher Education and (Why) Does It Matter?

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The paper examines the relationship between changes in European higher education and social science research on Higher Education and why it matters. HE research is a new field that has been significantly assisted by European funding, the Bologna process and the massification of HE. The field is characterized by many doctoral researchers but fewer established researchers. The paper examines characteristics of the sub-field such as diverse topics, co-production of the knowledge base and the backgrounds of emerging European HE researchers (drawing on a recent study). It considers three recent major European-funded HE research projects as examples of co-production, specifically looking at the kinds of knowledge produced and the strategies adopted to ensure that research outcomes permeate the policy process. It is suggested that the sub-field needs to develop a better infrastructure to support emerging researchers but care needs to be taken not to impair their independence from European bureaucrats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Co-production
  • European integration
  • student mobility
  • policy
  • Bologna
  • emerging researchers
  • knowledge communities

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