The SAGE project wants to analyse the effects of European higher education reforms on graduates' employability and give students a voice in the decision-making process in policies that can affect it.
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NEW PROJECT PAGE: Please go to to find updated information about the project and its deliverables.

Today, with the economic crisis, it is more important than ever to have a functional bridge between the academia and the business world, in order to increase employability for newly graduates. The SAGE project wants to analyse the effects of European higher education reforms on the graduates employability and give students a voice in the decision-making process in policies that can affect it.

Duration:    1/10/2011 – 31/3/2014

Co- financed by   European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), Sub-programme Erasmus, Action Erasmus Multilateral Projects


Student Advancement of Graduates Employability (SAGE) is a pan-European project aimed at increasing the knowledge of the effects of European higher education reforms implementation on the graduates’ employability. SAGE also aims at enhancing the capacity of student representatives to take part in influencing and building policies designed to improve the rate of graduates employability at European, national and local level.

In order to build up this capacity, the project conducts extensive research on educational policies, engages with multiple stakeholders from both national and European level and offers a comprehensive training process to a number of students and other interested stakeholders representatives from across the continent.

SAGE project falls into the footsteps of several previous ESU-led projects looking at various aspects of educational policy and empowering student representatives to take a more active part in the governance of higher education institutions and the decision-making process with regards to national policies.

SAGE is also fully coherent with the main strategic documents and policies set by the European Union for the development of Higher Education in the next years, such as EU 2020 Strategy and the “Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training” (ET 2020)


SAGE addresses the following LLP Overall Objective:
•    To help promote creativity, competitiveness, employability and the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit. The project aims at this objective by bringing stakeholders such as students at the forefront of governance initiatives aimed at improving the employability perspective of students upon graduation. It also offers a content background for this via its research activities, publications and policy recommendations

Within this overall objective, SAGE addresses this LLP Specific Objective:
•    To reinforce the contribution of higher education and advanced vocational education to the process of innovation. The project aims at this specific objective by empowering students to contribute to shifting higher education to an increased level of accountability and connectivity with society, in a fashion that does not reduce academic freedom, but that ensures the value of studies for students. This will, in the long run, contribute to a higher level of innovation within institutions, particularly in economically-linked areas that bring an added value to the economy as well

Activities and Expected Outcomes

SAGE will carry out a variety of activities to achieve its objective. They include:
•    Creating a review of current educational policies in Europe, both in the Bologna and EU frameworks
•    Identifying the links between educational policies and the employability of graduates and also long-term trends that are shaping graduate employability
•    Consultation and inclusion of relevant stakeholders in drafting policy recommendations
•    Developing a coherent analysis in countries with both poor and positive results in fighting graduate unemployment and identifying links between these results and policy processes
•    Establishing contact with national-level stakeholders and including their views and input in a study and handbook dealing with the topic of employability
•    Training at least 80 student representatives on employability policy and mechanisms

Main expected outcomes of the project will be written outputs of the research activities:
•    Research Study Publication “Bologna with Students Eyes 2012”
•    Research Study “EU 2020 Student Review”
•    Research Study on “Graduates Employability in Europe”

Moreover, the project follows up the research component with the creation of:
•    a training program for student representatives
•    the publication of a handbook on graduates employability
•    the dissemination of information via an interactive on-line platform

All the research material will be used to finalize a series of policy recommendations that can contribute to university reforms aimed at improving the employability outlook for graduating students

Project Partners

The project consortium has been composed taking into account a variety of criteria such as:
•    Regional balance
•    Message dissemination capacity
•    Experience in working with stakeholders, both from the educational and private sector

Therefore, the project has at his core an extensive partnership between ESU, four national-level student unions from different regions of Europe, one government agency and one research and policy institute. This consortium undertakes an extensive research effort aimed at looking into Bologna and EU related policies, their impact on education and on the employability of graduates who have been impacted by the respective reforms.

The project partners are:

Innovation in Learning Institute (ILI)
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

ILI is a research organisation dedicated to lifelong learning and technology-enhanced learning. ILI has been involved in technology-enhanced learning research and development activities since 1976. The institute develops innovative learning systems including pedagogy, content, support and technology, starting from user needs analysis, pedagogical and technical implementation, up to evaluation and valorisation, in a spirit of self-determined lifelong learning. ILI has an interdisciplinary team of 20 staff members, embedded in a full scale university with about 4800 employees and 27.300 students. ILI has been co-ordinating and participating in numerous projects at regional, national and European level.

The main activities of ILI can be categorised under 8 main lines, of which two are especially important for SAGE project: “Quality processes for learning, educational processes and the individual, institutional and societal development of competences” and “Development of methodologies and decision support in the area of education and competence development”

National Authority for Qualification, Romania (ANC)

ANC is a public institution with legal personality, subordinated to the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports. Among its main tasks and activities, it elaborates methodologies, instruments and procedures for developing and updating the National Qualifications Framework; it develops unitary criteria and procedures for the certification and recognition of qualifications and it develops methodologies, instruments and procedures for correlating the national qualifications system with the existing instruments in the field of qualifications at European and international level

The National Conference of Students in Hungary (HÖOK)

HÖOK represents nationwide the approximately 400 thousand students in Hungary. It has a right to express opinion and to make proposals in any questions concerning higher education. HÖOK is the largest non-governmental organization of Hungary with a total number of 70 members including all the student councils working at state or fully accredited non-state Hungarian universities. The HÖOK itself is defined in the law on higher education.
In order to develop comprehensively the Hungarian tertiary education, HÖOK completes tasks regarding higher education and youth policy that cannot be carried out at institutional or regional levels. As for the education and youth policy, it primarily initiates drafting acts, expresses opinion about the drafts as well as arranges professional presentations, debates and conferences. Furthermore, HÖOK represents the Hungarian students in state and non-state organization dealing with higher education and youth policy. HÖOK is member of the European Students’ Union

Spanish Coordinator of Students’ Representatives of Public Universities (CREUP)

CREUP is an umbrella organisation of 22 top student representative bodies -MOREs- (as Local Students’ Unions) from Spanish public universities. Through its members, CREUP represents over 730.000 students in Spain. The Local Students’ Union members of CREUP are open to all students in their respective higher education Institutions regardless of political persuasion, religion, ethnic or cultural origin, sexual orientation or social standing. CREUP is member of the European Students’ Union

The National Union of Students in Denmark (DSF)

DSF has 22 member organisations and is the only non-party political National Union of Students in Denmark for higher education. DSF is an independent organisation which speaks the voice of students in the press, for the politicians, in different councils and committees – and last but not least helping the member organisations in campaigns and their regular work

Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK)

SAMOK is a national interest and service organisation independently administered by students in universities of applied sciences. SAMOK is the outlook promoter of the students in universities of applied sciences and represents about 130 000 students. Through SAMOK, these students are represented to state administration and co-operation partners. SAMOK is member of the European Students’ Union

SAGE Events

During the duration of the project (1/10/2011 – 31/3/2014) several events will be organized, both for partners only and for general public. A draft calendar includes:

November: Management Meeting 1 in Belgium (Brussels)
December: Advisory Board Meeting 1 in Belgium

March: Research Team Meeting 1 in Belgium
March: Launch Conference in Denmark
August: Management Meeting 2 in Hungary
September: Consultation Seminar on Graduates Employability in Cyprus
October: Research Team Meeting 2 in Belgium

January: Research Team Meeting 3 in Belgium
February: Management Meeting 3 in Denmark
March: Advisory Board Meeting 2 in Germany
May: European Training on Graduates Employability in Finland
Within June: National debates in Spain, Hungary, Denmark and Finland
August: Research Team Meeting 4 in Belgium
September: Management Meeting 4 in Romania
October: Advisory Board Meeting 3 in Belgium

March: Management Meeting 5 in Belgium
March: Final Conference in Greece

SAGE in the media

Communication and dissemination of results are key activities within the SAGE project. Here you can find a list of articles in European and international websites, including project partners’ websites, regarding SAGE:

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein


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