EUR-ACE is an accreditation system that establishes the ‘standards’ that identify high-quality engineering degree programs in Europe and around the world. These standards have been established taking into account the views and perspectives of all key stakeholders: students, higher education institutions, employers, professional organizations and accreditation agencies.
The EUR-ACE (EURopean ACcredited Engineer) project was promoted in 2004 by a consortium of 14 partners, formed by:
- 8 professional organizations and associations of engineering schools:
- FEANI, :FEANI, Federazione Europea delle Associazioni Nazionali degli Ingegneri; SEFI, Société Européenne pour la Fortmation des Ingénieurs;; CESAER, Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research; EUROCADRES, Conseil des Cadres Europeens (il sindacato dei quadri); ENQHEEI, European Network for Quality in Higher Engineering Education for Industry; TREE, rete tematica Teaching and Research in Engineering in Europe; CoPI, Conferenza dei Presidi delle Facoltà di Ingegneria (Italia); UAICR, Uniunea Asociatilor Inginerilor Constructori din Romania (Unione degli Ingegneri Civili della Romania);
- 6 organizations responsible for the accreditation of Engineering Degrees in their country: ASIIN, Fachakkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften, der Informatik, der Naturwissenschaften und der Mathematik (Germany); CTI, Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur (France); ECUK, Engineering Council – United Kingdom (United Kingdom); IEI, The Institution of Engineers of Ireland (now EngineersIreland) (Ireland); Ordem dos Engenheiros (Portugal); RAEE, Russian Association for Engineering Education (Russian Federation).
The EUR-ACE system is currently coordinated by the European Network for the Accreditation of Engineering Training (ENAEE, www.enaee.eu), a non-profit association founded in February 2006 by 14 organizations interested in quality assurance and accreditation of study programs (SP) in Engineering and today composed of 20 full members and 5 associate members.
The EUR-ACE accreditation had as its final objective the mutual recognition, at European level, of accredited engineering degrees.
The EUR-ACE system is based on a bottom-up approach, requiring the active participation of national accreditation agencies (present and future). The objective, in fact, was precisely that of reaching a multilateral mutual recognition agreement and not the establishment of a “European accreditation agency”. In the EUR-ACE system, one of the national (or possibly regional) agencies participating in the system will always accredit the SP, but the accreditation will be ‘supplemented’ by a common ‘EUR-ACE Label’ at European level and distinct between EUR-ACE Bachelor’s and EUR-ACE Master, depending on whether the SP is accredited as a first or second cycle course.
The mutual recognition objective was achieved on November 19, 2014, with the signing of the EUR-ACE (former Mutual Recognition Agreement) agreement document (http://www.enaee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/01 / MRA -agreement-A3-signed.pdf) by all agencies authorized to issue the EUR-ACE mark.
At an international level, the mutual recognition of engineering degrees has been practiced for some time in the Anglo-Saxon countries that have signed the well-known “Washington Accord”, but, thanks to the EUR-ACE project, it is becoming a reality in Europe too.
The reference framework for the accreditation of Engineering Degrees was defined and shared in the first EUR-ACE project (2004-2006).
In particular, to get the EUR-ACE accreditation, the Study Program must:
• have established learning outcomes consistent with the program outcomes established in the EUR-ACE Framework Standards for the Accreditation of Engineering Programs (http://www.enaee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/EUR-ACE_Framework- Standards_2008-11-0511.pdf);
• be positively assessed in an external evaluation process, or meet the quality requirements established in the aforementioned document, to guarantee the achievement of the established learning outcomes.
The first EUR-ACE project was followed by the EUR-ACE Implementation project (2006-2008), which introduced the system in European countries where there were already nationally recognized engineering degree accreditation agencies (i.e. France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom) and Russia, and, therefore, the EUR-ACE Spread project (2008-2010), whose objective was to promote the spread of the EUR-ACE system also in those European countries, including Italy, where there were no degree accreditation agencies in engineering.
The EUR-ACE Spread project led to the establishment (December 2010) of the Agency for Certification of the Quality and EUR-ACE Accreditation of Engineering Study Programs (QUACING), on the initiative of:
- Conferenza dei Presidi delle Facoltà di Ingegneria (CoPI),
- Fondazione CRUI,
- Consiglio Nazionale degli Ingegneri (CNI),
- Associazione Nazionale Costruttori Edili (ANCE),
- Centro Ricerche FIAT S.C.p.A.,
- Finmeccanica S.p.A..
As of today the Agencies authorized to issue the EUR-ACE Label ar 15:
- GERMANY: ASIIN – Fachakkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften, der Informatik, der Naturwissenschaften, und der Mathematik e.V., www.asiin.de;
- FRANCE: CTI- Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur, www.cti-commission.fr;
- UK: Engineering Council, www.engc.org.uk;
- IRELAND: Engineers Ireland, www.engineersireland.ie;
- PORTUGAL: Ordem dos Engenheiros, www.ordemengenheiros.pt;
- RUSSIA: AEER – Association for Engineering Education of Russia, www.aeer.ru;
- TURKEY: MÜDEK- Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of Engineering Programmes, www.mudek.org.tr;
- ROMANIA: ARACIS – The Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, www.aracis.ro;
- ITALY: QUACING – Agenzia per la Certificazione di Qualità e l’Accreditamento EUR-ACE dei Corsi di Studio in Ingegneria, www.quacing.it;
- POLAND: KAUT – Komisja Akredytacyjna Uczelni Technicznych, www.kaut.agh.edu.pl;
- SWITZERLAND: Organ für Akkreditierung und Qualitätssicherung der Schweizerischen Hochschulen, www.oaq.ch;
- SPAIN: ANECA – Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación, www.aneca.es;
- FINLAND: FINHEEC – Korkeakoulujen arviointineuvosto KKA, www.finheec.fi.
- SLOVAKIA – ZSVTS – Zväz slovenských vedeckotechnických spoločností – www.zsvts.sk;
- KAZAKHSTAN – KazSEE – Kazakhstan Society fir Engineering Education; www.kazsee.kz.
As of 2021 QUACING has accredited more than 60 Italian Study Programs