30th Annual Conference – Plovdiv 2020

Professional Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Creating a Change that Endures 

EURASHE will organise its 30th Annual Conference in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) on 20-21 May 2020 together with its member the University of Agribusiness and Rural Development (UARD).

We invite universities of applied sciences’ leaders, the entire community of professional higher education, European businesses and public institutions and European students’ representatives to attend the Annual Conference to share their experience and learn about trends, models and inspiring practices.



Please find the call for contributions here.


The concept of sustainable development, which is fundamental for the European Union, is based on a large holistic approach to a whole range of interlinked global challenges. The Union, represented by the European Commission has been instrumental for the preparation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. In 2017 Member States reached the new European Consensus on Development “Our world, our future, our dignity” which set up the framework for the EU response to Agenda 2030. The suitable development will be also in the heart of the political agenda for the next European Commission (2019-2024). The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) plot out a route on how to overcome the challenges we face, and to improve our habitat, our economy and our lives. They will shape all EU internal and external policies and steer the implementation of the next seven-year EU budget.

It is amply acknowledged that the achievement of the SDGs will not be possible without education, and not the latest Professional Higher education (hereafter –PHE), significant involvement in the cause. Thus, five years after the setting out of Agenda 2030, it is important to analyse the experience accumulated and to draw the way forward.

The conference will be structured along the five pillars of Agenda 2030: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships.

The purpose of the conference is to build up a set of Specific Recommendations and discuss a potential Action Plan for their implementation by professional higher education and its stakeholders over the next years. The conference will also be the occasion to celebrate EURASHE’s 30th anniversary.

Structure and concept for contribution

We expect contributions from practitioners from higher education institutions and relevant stakeholders from the field, including companies, students, national authorities, civil society organisations, NGOs, quality assurance agencies and other organisations which would correspond to one of the following pillars: 

  1. PEOPLE: Global demographic growth and demographic shifts, combined with economic, social and environmental changes, offer opportunities for and pose serious challenges to sustainable development. This includes responding adequately to the educational needs of young people, supporting inclusive lifelong learning and equitable quality education to all, tackling discriminations and inequalities, with special attention to those who are in disadvantaged or vulnerable situations.
  2. PLANET: Protecting the environment, managing natural resources and tackling climate change. This includes a transition from a linear to a circular bio-economy; sustainability from farm to fork, making innovative, healthy and environment-friendly food production one of our key European trademarks; future-proof energy, buildings and mobility.
  3. PROSPERITY: Creating decent jobs for inclusive and sustainable growth. This includes equipping students with the right set of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for the fast-changing labour markets, encouraging entrepreneurship, strengthening interaction with the world of work, turning results of research into new marketable products and services.
  4. PEACE: Peaceful and inclusive societies, democracy, effective and accountable institutions, rule of law and human rights for all. This includes the development of civic and democratic competences, the role of culture as an enabler for social inclusion, civil empowerment and conflict prevention, the promotion of intercultural dialogue, cooperation and cultural diversity.
  5. PARTNERSHIP(S): Joining forces for making greater and faster progress: This includes the whole range of relations and interactions of PHE institutions with external stakeholders, public and private, in particular policymakers and businesses (industry and SMEs), at regional, national and international level.

For each one of these pillars, we will look at:

  • PHE Institutional policies and culture;
  • Teaching, training and learning methods and practices;
  • Research and Innovation activities;
  • Students’ engagement;
  • Serving the community needs.

EURASHE’s annual conference is an excellent opportunity to present current practice or research and test new ideas, elicit feedback from colleagues and stakeholders, and engage with all participants. All contributions are expected to seek to stimulate a discussion with the participants, thus enhancing peer-learning.

EURASHE welcomes three types of contributions:

  1. Breakout sessions: Each interactive parallel breakout session would be attended by about 30 participants. The breakout sessions should be organised in an interactive way as workshops to encourage discussions between the participants. The structure can e.g. include an overview, followed by group discussions. The organising committee expects to accept about 8 proposals for this year’s conference. The length of the proposal: 90 minutes.

  2. Good practice examples: 2-3 brief examples of good practice will be presented together within blocks parallel to breakout sessions. The Programme committee expects to accept about 10 proposals. The length of the proposal: 30 minutes.

  3. Brilliant failures: an example of your project, initiative or action in line with any of the 5 pillars which ended up unsuccessfully or brought rather negative results than expected. If selected, your case will be presented at the ‘World cafe’ session giving the participants an opportunity to analyse the reasons for the outcome and search for possible follow up/solutions for your case. The Programme Committee expects to accept one or two proposals. Your presentation will be 15 minutes followed by participants’ discussion in a ‘World cafe’ style.

Participants will be free to select which session they decide to attend based on the title and abstract of the submissions. Contributors are encouraged to pay specific attention to the title and abstract of their submission which must be concise, informative and accurate. Titles and abstracts (and biographies) may be edited by the organisers as required.

The following experts nominated by EURASHE will evaluate the submissions:

  1. Thomas Berger, EU-Liaison and international relations officer, Hochschule Fulda University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
  2. Mariana Ivanova,Vice-Rector for Educational activities and International cooperation, University of Agribusiness and Rural Development (Bulgaria)
  3. Themis Kaniklidou, Assistant Director of the PhD program, Hellenic American College (Greece)
  4. Hannes Raffaseder, ‎Chief Research and Innovation Officer, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences (Austria)
  5. Roosa Veijola, European Policy Advisor, SAMOK University of Applied Sciences (Finland)

All submissions will be reviewed separately by two reviewers. When allocating submissions for review, attention is paid to avoid a potential conflict of interest.


Presenting at EURASHE’s annual conference allows to reach a wide audience and will give you visibility prior to and during the Conference. In addition, one reduced fee will be provided per contribution.

Breakout session (workshop): Discount 50 %

Good practices session (presentation): Discount 30 %

Brilliant failures: fee waiver

How to submit?

Contributions have to be submitted exclusively online on EURASHE website. The deadline for submission is Friday 14 February, 2020 at 12.00 pm (noon) CET Brussels-time.

Evaluation criteria

Each submission will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The submission corresponds to the theme of the conference;
  • The submission is clearly focused and will be of interest to participants;
  • The submission strives to involve participants and its organisation is credible/feasible;
  • The submission is critical and reflective and allows participants to reflect on successes and challenges (if applicable).
  • Dr. Themis Kaniklidou - Dr. Themis Kaniklidou is Associate Professor of Translation Studies at Hellenic American University. She is Associate Director of the PhD program in Applied Linguistics and Coordinator of the MA in... Read more
  • Mariana Ivanova - Prof. Mariana Ivanova, Ph.D. Vice-Rector Educational activities and International cooperation at University of agribusiness and rural development – Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Experience in a number of projects on sustainable development with a... Read more
  • Hannes Raffaseder - Hannes Raffaseder studied communication engineering and computer music in Vienna. For almost 20 years he has been working as a lecturer and researcher in the fields of audio and sound... Read more
  • Thomas Berger - Thomas Berger has been head of the EU liaison office of the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Fulda since 2016. Before he joined the university he had been managing director... Read more
  • Roosa Veijola - Roosa Veijola is a European Policy Advisor at University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland (SAMOK). SAMOK represents over 140 000 UAS students in Finland and is the only UAS specific... Read more
  • Conference’s location: 

    Hotel Imperial Plovdiv
    ul. “Lev Tolstoy” 6, 4017 Kamenitsa 2, Plovdiv, Bulgaria


    How to reach Plovdiv from Sofia International Airport

    There are two main ways to reach Plovdiv from Sofia International Airport:

    1. Bus

    There are buses leaving from Sofia Central Bus Station every 30 minutes. The journey takes around 2 hours. You can check out the timetable on the website of the bus station here. Buses leave from Sofia’s Central Bus Station and arrive at Plovdiv’s Yug (South) bus station.

    1. Train

    A train journey to Plovdiv takes a bit longer (usually around 2 hours and 30 minutes) than the bus but it’s also a good option. Trains to Plovdiv leave from Sofia’s Central Railway Station. You can check out the timetable on the website of the Bulgarian State Railways here.

    Sofia’s International Airport is well connected to both Sofia’s Central Bus Station and Central Railway Station. You can find more information on how to reach both of them here.