RIQAA Final Conference / EQAR Members' Dialogue

Palermo (Italy), 21-22 October 2014

This year’s edition of EQAR Members’ Dialogue was dedicated to discussing the final results of the RIQAA project on the cross-border recognition of quality assurance agencies’ results and decisions.

The event was hosted by the University of Palermo and took place in the beautiful historical building of “Pallazo Steri”.

The conference joined together around 100 participants from over 30 different countries and discussed levels of international trust and the cross-border recognition of quality assurance agencies’ results in line with the EHEA Ministers’ commitment (to ‘allow EQAR-registered agencies to perform their activities across the EHEA, while complying with national requirements’ and that they ‘will aim to recognise quality assurance decisions of EQAR-registered agencies on joint and double degree programmes.’).

Photos from the event.

Final agenda

Agenda and presentations

Day 1: 21 October 2014 (14:00 – 18:00)

Welcome and opening (Sala Magna):

  • Andreas Orphanides (President, EQAR Executive Board)
  • Roberto Lagalla (Rector, University of Palermo)
  • Marzia Foroni (Advisor, Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, Italy)

I. Findings on the recognition of EQA reviews across borders (Sala Magna)

Format: presentation of project results followed by short statements and reactions from panel members. Panelists will discuss the implications of the current findings for opening national frameworks to EQA with an EQAR-registered agency.

Moderator: Eric Froment (Chair, EQAR Register Committee)
Presentation: Melinda Szabo (Project Officer, EQAR Secretariat)


  • Tia Loukkola (Director, Institutional Development Unit at EUA)
  • Inese Sture (Deputy Director for Higher Education, Latvia)
  • David Crosier (Coordinator for Higher Education, Eurydice)

II. A snapshot of cross-border EQA (Sala Magna/Sala Carapezza/Sala Chiesa S. Antonio Abate)

Format: ‘Knowledge Café” formed by QAAs/HEIs/ministry “trios” sharing their cross-border EQA story.

  • Andreas Neuhold (Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Austria) & Kathrin Maier (University of Graz) => FINEEC institutional audit at University of Graz (Austria)
  • Noël Vercruysse (Belgium-Flemish Community) & Ronny Heintze (AQAS) & Tim Deprez (Ghent University) => AQAS joint programme accreditation at Ghent University (Belgium – Flemish Speaking Community)
  • Anke Rigbers (evalag) & Inga Juknytė-Petreikienė (Mykolas Romeris University) => Evalag programme accreditations at Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania)
  • Ulrich Hörlein (Germany) & Stephanie Hering (OAQ) & Rudolf Bauer (University of Munich) => OAQ institutional accreditation at University of Munich (Germany)

Conference reception (Hotel Borsa)

Day 2: 22 October 2014 (9:30 – 13:00)

III. Improving trust and recognition of EQA across borders (Sala Magna)
Format: short review of project’s conclusions followed by statements and reactions from panel members. The session will discuss the importance of delivering high quality reviews in less familiar EQA frameworks.

Intro and moderation: Colin Tück (Director, EQAR Secretariat)


  • Oliver Vettori (Vienna University of Economics and Business, Chair of the Quality Management Network of Austrian Universities) – HEIs benefiting from a diverse offering of professional cross-border external QA
  • Achim Hopbach (Director, AQ Austria and Expert Group for the development of the European Approach for QA of joint programmes) – Developing a European framework for joint programmes

IV. Conclusions and Closing (Sala Magna)
Format: Plenary session with different stakeholders taking stock of the commitment taken in the Bucharest Ministerial Communiques and discussing possible policy recommendations for the upcoming Ministerial Meeting in Yerevan.

Conference rapporteur: Ligia Deca (PhD researcher, former EQARSecretariat and Policy Expert at UEFISCDI)

Moderator: Kevin Guillaume (Head of Unit – Management of the International Dimension of Higher Education, Ministry of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels )


  • Klara Engels-Perenyi (Policy Officer at the European Commission)
  • Stefan Delplace (Honorary Secretary-General of EURASHE)
  • Helka Kekäläinen (Vice-President, ENQA)
  • Fernando Miguel Galan Palomares (Vice-Chairperson ESU)

13:00-14:00 Lunch and departure of participants

Conference aims

The overarching aim is to enhance the level of trust and recognition of EQAR-registered agencies carrying out reviews across borders in line with the EHEA Ministers’ commitment.

Specific objectives of the conference:

  • Disseminate the project results to a broad range of policy makers and stakeholders.
  • Receive feedback on the project results, with a view to fine-tuning the final results.
  • Discuss the policy conclusions/recommendations that would be fed into the preparation of the Yerevan conference.

The conference is expected to gather around 100 participants, including:

  • EQAR governmental and stakeholder members;
  • BFUG representatives;
  • European institutions, organisations, stakeholder organisations;
  • International organisations interested in the area of external QA (e.g. CHEA, INQAAHE, OECD, UNESCO)
  • Quality assurance agencies;
  • Representative of higher education institutions interviewed for the project
  • Advisory Group
  • EQAR committee members and staff

There will be no participation fee and accommodation will be covered by EQAR, while participants have to fund their own travel costs.


The Seminar is co-financed with help from the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

This web page reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.