An international project to harmonise standards in university teaching throughout the European Union has been launched in Brussels.
Called "Tuning Educational Structures in Europe", it is a network of 70 universities that is committed to trying to agree common standards for a selection of subjects, including mathematics, geology, business, history and educational sciences.
British participants include: the University of Bath (mathematics); University of Bristol (education); Grant Institute, Edinburgh (geology); Huxley School of Environment, Earth Sciences and Engineering, Imperial College (geology); University of Loughborough (business); and the University of Wales Swansea (history).
The project is being coordinated by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and the University of Deusto in Spain, with a steering committee including Germany's Fachhochschule Osnabruck, the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, and the Association of Rectors and Confederation of Rectors Conferences.
An inner circle of 70 universities will contribute to the implementation of the project. There will also be an outer circle of other interested higher education institutions that will be kept informed of developments via an electronic newsletter, a Tuning project website and hyperlinks to inner-circle websites. National rectors' conferences will also provide information to their respective universities.
Special groups will be formed to discuss how to harmonise standards in the selected subjects at a high level.
It is hoped that lessons can be drawn for the teaching of chemistry, physics, languages, humanitarian development, law, medical sciences, engineering and veterinary sciences.
Discussions will be held this year and next, leading to a series of recommendations being made to the European Commission, European Union education ministries and the European Rectors' Conference.