Europe of Knowledge (completed)

Through the development of a Europe of Knowledge, the EU is creating an integrated European area of higher education and research. What are the implications for national policies and practices?

Minerva, Roman goddess of knowledge. Elihu Vedder, 1896. (Photo: Library of Congress)


The ‘Europe of Knowledge’ refers to European actors’ ambitions to transform their common area into a single space of knowledge-production and dissemination. This project analyses the nascent European governance layer for research and higher education and the effect at the national level.

These ambitions reflect aspirations of balancing the unity of Europe as a knowledge area with the diversity of nationally embedded knowledge systems and key socialising institutions for citizens of Europe.

Broadly anchored in European integration, the evolution towards a ‘Europe of Knowledge’ has relied on several governance methods that activate distinct policy instruments, mainly without the use of Community law as a means of integration.

These are policy domains with limited formal EU competence, legitimate national diversity and where there is an entrenched mutual dependence between knowledge systems within the political order of the territorial state. In this respect they represent puzzles for integration theory and for the study of institutional change, resistance and continuity.


The research under this project falls under two main headings.

First, the analysis of the European-level development towards, and institutionalisation of a governance capacity for, a ‘Europe of knowledge’ (i.e. studies of 'up-stream processes').

  • How can we account for the different pathways of institutionalising a ‘Europe of Knowledge’?
  • And what does the institutionalisation of a ‘Europe of Knowledge’ tell us about the transformation of the European polity and its sustainability?

This research theme includes case studies of the birth and institutionalisation of the European Research Council and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, as well as process studies of policy change involved in establishing the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area and the dynamics of governance sites established at the European level.

Second, the analysis of how European higher education and research are affected by the entry and institutionalisation of governance capacity at the European-level (studies of 'down-stream processes'). The work done under this heading analyses how European level developments and forces are interacting with nation state and state-society traditions, and sector specific conditions.


‘Europe of Knowledge’ is a part of the EuroTrans project that runs from 2007 to 2012.


Funded by the AURORA-programme at the Norwegian Research Council.

Published Oct. 1, 2010 3:02 PM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2018 2:53 PM


Åse Gornitzka

ARENA - Centre for European Studies
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