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Project summary

E3M: European indicators and ranking methodology for university third mission

There is a growing recognition around the world of the role universities can play towards economic growth and social development in the modern "knowledge society" as lay out by the Lisbon Strategy. University activities have traditionally been understood as two missions: teaching and research. However, more recently policy makers have been keen to encourage all the other contributions of universities to society, their Third Mission.

While several ranking systems exist for the First and Second Missions, the Third Mission lacks any cohesive methodology. E3M will address this need.

First, a set of standard indicators for three dimensions of the Third Mission that we believe to be indicative of the Third Mission as a whole will be developed and validated. These dimensions are Continuing Education, Technology Transfer & Innovation and Social Engagement. Second, a ranking methodology will be created to assess the performance of European Third Mission providers, benchmarking excellent practices, and helping to create a common European area of higher education institutions. These tools will be built into a web based platform to provide access for project stakeholders, along with a range of case studies of excellent providers.

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E3M will involve several leading European Higher Education networks to ensure a broad and sustainable dissemination of the project's outputs. The project will enable Third Mission providers to assess their own performance, share best practices and build relationships with other European Third Mission providers. This will lead to more effective and efficient services being provided to society and industry as institutions seek to improve their standards, improving the quality of their lifelong learning provision and other services. Funding bodies will be provided with a tool to understand Third Mission performance, rewarding excellence and rectifying lower standards.

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