University Efficiency Hub

This online portal has been developed under the USTREAM project (Universities for Strategic, Efficient and Autonomous Management) implemented by the European University Association (EUA), Universities UK (UUK), the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Central European University (CEU). Co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme (2014), the aim of USTREAM is to explore various measures pursued by universities across Europe to enhance efficiency, analyse system-level enablers, identify good practices and develop recommendations for universities and policymakers.

The University Efficiency Hub is based on the selected findings and data collected by the USTREAM project, drawing on the experience of more than 100 higher education institutions and more than a dozen of higher education systems across Europe.

Efficiency as a rising priority for universities

Since the economic downturn arising from the global crisis in 2008, the interest of European policymakers and higher education institutions in efficiency and effectiveness has been growing. It has also been fuelled by changing funding modalities and university governance models, as well as the growing competition among universities and the evolving student body.

Multifaceted approach to efficiency

Despite the growing concerns about efficiency, its conceptual, methodological and policy clarity is rather limited. Efficiency remains a complex concept in the higher education context, challenged by the diversity of opinions and interpretations as well as some bias.

Based on the multiple consultations with the higher education stakeholders across Europe as part of the USTREAM project, our approach to efficiency in the higher education context consists of the two fundamental principles:

  1. The concepts of economy (reducing the costs of inputs), efficiency (getting more output for the same or less input) and effectiveness (getting better at what universities set out to do)– sometimes captured through the concept of value for money - are equally important and cannot be considered in isolation from each other in the higher education context.
  2. The topics of efficiency, effectiveness and value for money are cross-cutting and need to be addressed at all levels of higher education, including system (national and regional), sector (networks and collaborations) and institutional (faculty, departmental and individual) levels and in all university settings (strategic governance, operational management and academic matters).
USTREAM approach to efficiency, effectiveness and value for money

For more information about various approaches to efficiency, effectiveness and value for money, please check our Resources page.

Available functionalities

Inspired by this approach, the following features are offered through the University Efficiency Hub:

  1. The portal provides useful background data on general framework conditions for efficiency, effectiveness and value for money at the system level, supported by comprehensive datasets on short- and long-term public funding and autonomy trends across Europe.
  2. The portal offers access to a dynamic database of good practices in efficiency and effectiveness that can be consulted at various levels and in different university settings.
  3. The portal offers higher education institutions a possibility to self evaluate the internal structures and measures for efficiency and effectiveness.


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The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.