The development and application of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) (PhD project) (completed)

This project focuses on the developments in European educational policy, more specifically, the emergence of what became the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

About the project

Education and research have become central in European debates about the knowledge society, visible both in the Lisbon agenda from 2000 and the new Europe 2020 programme. The project focuses on the developments in European educational policy, more specifically, the emergence of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).


The focus is on tracing the EQF through various stages of developing the instrument – from the origins of the ideas around qualifications, to the policy linkages and its final implementation to national contexts.


The institutional setting for the study is European Union and its increasing activitiesin the area of education. Education has traditionally been one of the more sensitive areas, however, in recent decades one can identify an increase in the coordination activities on European level. This task expansion to this area has taken a gradual approach into education policy through economic and labour policy, and lifelong learning as core concepts and intensified after the Lisbon agenda. Analytically, the study relies on three main pillars of institutions, actors and ideas as the core concepts for examining the process.

Nation states and various other actors/institutions are not seen as passive receivers of European influences, but are assumed to have an active role in also shaping European policy in the context of Open Method of Coordination where processes have taken a more intergovernmental nature. Thus, the assumption is that despite the European level gaining prominence, it level has not replaced other levels of governance.

The methods used are policy document analysis and interviews with key persons from the process, from the policymakers on European and national level, to the role of experts who have been active in the consultancy processes.

The time frame for the project is July 2009 - August 2013.

Supervised by prof. Peter Maassen and prof. Bjørn Stensaker

Research category

Basic research

Published Sep. 27, 2010 2:04 PM - Last modified Oct. 7, 2021 12:30 PM


E-mail: Mari Elken

Phone: +47-22840591