About the Association of North German Universities

The following universities have joined forces to form the Association of North German Universities (VNU):

Main objectives of the cooperation

  • Improvement of studies and teaching at the member universities as well as the further development of the quality culture within the association
  • Bundling of competences in the field of quality assurance and quality development as well as the creation of synergy effects which advance the quality debate in the national context.
  • Creation of a joint discussion forum on current developments and perspectives in higher education policy in a transnational context.
  • Initiation of a discussion process on upcoming problems in the field of higher education within the national framework.
  • Development of a supra-regional research network and intensification of the exchange of research initiatives

Formation of the network

When the network was founded in 1994, the main task of the network work was defined as the joint implementation of evaluation procedures for study subjects. The member universities from four federal states thus responded to the public demands for more transparency and quality control in studies and teaching that emerged at the beginning of the 1990s. During the conception and implementation of the evaluation procedures, own standards and criteria were developed, which were based on international and national experiences in quality assurance and quality review.

Reorientation

Structure of the Association of North German Universities (Graphic: Liesenberg/Schönle)

In 2008, the presidents and rectors agreed on a reorientation of cooperation. Instead of evaluation procedures, project-related work came to the fore, particularly with regard to improving the quality of studies and teaching.
At present, the Association of North German Universities is increasingly developing into a higher education policy forum that aims, among other things, to promote dialogue with the science administration. The reorientation has given the network the character of a network and thus gives the participating rectorates and presidencies the opportunity to coordinate decisions taken by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), among others, and to systematically exchange information on central issues of higher education policy.
In addition to promoting the quality of study and teaching, the network will in future also focus on cooperation in research. The members of the North Alliance therefore agreed in September 2014 to enter into a closer exchange of their research initiatives via the respective research centres, to exploit synergy effects and to strengthen North Germany as a location for study and research through a joint research network.