FAIR - Focus on Automatic Institutional Recognition

Student mobility throughout Europe improves with faster and more transparent recognition procedures within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The FAIR project aimed to improve recognition of foreign qualifications at 22 higher education institutions in Europe. Between January 2015 and June 2017 these institutions streamlined their recognition procedures concerning the selection and admission of international students.

The outcomes were used to make concrete recommendations on improving recognition procedures. Not just at the 22 participating institutions, but in the 6 countries involved and at European level as well.

What is automatic recognition?

Automatic recognition means that the recognition of a degree automatically makes the degree holder eligible for a follow-up study programme in any EHEA country.

Automatic recognition thus standardises recognition at the system level (‘a bachelor is a bachelor is a bachelor’). It will, however, always be necessary to evaluate at the programme level whether the applicant is likely to succeed in the goal for which recognition is sought.

Automatic recognition has been an objective within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) right from its creation in 1999. The concept was revisited a few years ago, when the ‘Pathfinder Group on Automatic Recognition’ was founded. The FAIR project takes on one of the main recommendations of this group: to explore how this concept can be taken on board in higher education institutions. 

Erasmus+ funding

FAIR is funded under Erasmus+ Key Action 3 ‘Policy Experimentation’. This new Key Action focuses on implementing new policies. FAIR is one of the first eight projects to have been selected under this programme.


The benefits of automatic recognition will be explored in two trials:

  • a baseline assessment of current recognition procedures;
  • field trials to assess the benefits of elements of automatic recognition.

The field trials will be evaluated by the European University Association (EUA).


FAIR has stakeholders at three levels:

  • Ministries of Education, responsible for recognition policies and (adaptations of) national recognition structures.
  • ENIC-NARICs, with their expertise as national information centres on recognition issues, and national Rectors’ Conferences;
  • Higher education institutions, that will conduct the field trials.

Quality assurance

The project alsos involve the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA). Especially with regard to the revised European Standards & Guidelines (ESG), which recommends recognition to be part of the quality assurance process.

last modified Jun 29, 2017 10:04 AM