develop your
leadership skills

About the Leadership Development Programme

In September 2003 the ECIU launched the Leadership Development Programme.  The ECIU leadership development programme aims to contribute to innovation and change in leadership development at the participating ECIU universities by providing a structured learning experience for a group of selected leaders/potential leaders.

The programme offers 20 participants drawn from the ECIU member universities a possibility to learn from their personal experience. The seminars are hosted every year by three different ECIU universities.


The ECIU Leadership Development Programme aims to contribute to innovation and change in leadership in participating ECIU universities by providing a unique learning experience for a group of selected leaders and potential leaders. The programme offers you the opportunity

  • To reflect on the particular characteristics and challenges of leadership and strategic management in a university context
  • To grow as a (potential) leader in an ever-changing environment and to develop personal leadership qualities and skills
  • To work in a multi-national project team of participants with diverse backgrounds and expertise focusing on the implementation of the ECIU University
  • To deepen your knowledge of important policy developments and trends in European and global higher education
  • To learn by sharing and comparing experiences across ECIU universities and their higher education systems

A Programme for

  • The ECIU Leadership Development Programme is targeted at young and future leaders as well as staff members with leadership experience (both academics and professional support staff). Participants should have a maximum of 5 years of working experience in a senior role.

Programme Team

  • The core programme team is Jon File (programme leader) and Harry de Boer from the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente and Barbara Takacs, a university leadership development consultant.

The Programme

The programme consists of three intensive four-day seminars, each held at one of the ECIU member universities:

6-9 September 2022

13-16 December 2022


14-17 February 2023

If you have questions please contact your Local Ambassador or Katrin Dircksen at the ECIU Secretariat.

Costs and Admission Procedure

  • The programme fee is €3000, plus travel and hotel costs. To be able to offer you this highly appreciated programme at such a competitive price, the programme is co-funded by the central ECIU budget. ECIU university staff interested in participating in the 2022 ECIU Leadership Programme should contact the ECIU local ambassador at their university.


  • The seminars are taught in English. The sessions are highly interactive and include discussions in smaller groups. It is essential that participants are comfortable with written and spoken English.


"The programme offered by ECIU offers various opportunities. Firstly, it allows us to discover how the different Alliance's institutions operate. This observation phase is very rich: it feeds the reflection for our own practices and allows us to think "out of the box". This is one of the positive points of this programme: by bringing together actors from different institutions and countries, it nourishes a network and gives us access to new experiences. I am sure that it will create some links.

Finally, the LDP offers the possibility for different actors from the research world to meet and exchange. Researchers exchanging with administrative staff is very important but not very frequent. Everyone is caught up in his or her own constraints and the links end up being weakened. However, we realize that the problems encountered by some are very similar to those experienced by others. It is very comforting to be able to talk about them among peers. And to find solutions together!"

Sébastien Leveneur
Doctor HDR of chemical engineering
Groupe INSA (INSA Rouen Normandie)
LDP 2020-2021

"I must say that participating in the ECIU LDP program was a really good idea! Best part of the experience for me was definitely learning from other participants and from the programme staff. Exchange of thoughts and experiences through exercises was really useful and eye opening. Leadership challenges seem to be similar in so many ways in different countries and universities. Also visiting three different universities during the program was really valuable because of the increasing cooperation between ECIU universities. Over all I would highly recommend ECIU LDP to anyone who is interested in developing their leadership skills in higher education and also networking with amazing colleagues around the Europe!”"

Kaisa Keskitalo
Manager, Student services
Tampere University
LDP 2019

"It was a pleasure to take part in ECIU Leadership learning program. I was really impressed with the simulation (an Imaginalia simulation) and the analyses of European higher education trends. I have rediscovered leadership roles in organizational culture and the issues of daily life for academic staff. The most important thing was new opportunities and the look to my own university from another point of view. A key element of the program was the strategic group projects defined by the three LDP 15 host institutions (Twente, Linköping and Barcelona).  Challenge Based Learning was extremely useful thing that I could integrate in my daily work. Moreover, it was a real good opportunity to meet representatives of different universities, to share good practices and to broaden horizons."

Kęstutis Baltakys
Kaunas University of Technology
LDP 2019

"For me, participation in the ECIU Leadership Programme was a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from across Europe and to discover similarities and differences in our respective higher education systems. Of particular value to me was the project work, which our team was able to bring to a successful conclusion by discovering and using the individual and complementary expertise and skills of all team members, although the task initially seemed quite challenging and difficult to work on. This was a very positive experience in terms of teamwork. Hereby and also through the competent guidance of our experienced trainers and instructors, I was able to reflect on my leadership experience and expand it for the future. I am glad to have participated in the program and am confident that the new collegial contacts will last."

Krista Schölzig
Managing Director
Hamburg University of Technology
LDP 2018

"I would highly recommend the ECIU Leadership Development Programme. The opportunity to interact with colleagues from the partner universities over a sustained period of time leads to many insights and perspectives on higher education issues in a European context. The programme itself tackles issues around leadership roles, university cultures and what makes them distinctive as organisations, competing values and strategic management. These are delivered by experienced researchers who critique fads and fashions to get to core culturally relevant learning. It also focuses on personal development of leadership skills building on the strengths of the participants. Much of the learning is experiential and contributes to a great overview of the policy, academic, professional and cultural and strategic contexts."

Joe Travers
Head of school of Inclusive and Special Education
Dublin City University
LDP 2018

"I was really happy when I heard that my university (Hamburg University of Technology) chose me to take part in the Leadership Development Programme of the ECIU in the beginning of 2018. My boss had already participated some years before, so I knew broadly what was waiting for me. I had only started with my leading position one year ago, so I was looking forward for interesting inputs and exchange with experienced leaders from all over Europe. The programme fully met my expectations and even exceeded them. The three weeks of seminars were very intense - both because of all the inputs and working phases but also because of the other participants who were so interesting and sincere persons. Immediately, a very trustful and appreciative atmosphere was created that made it easy to share our professional experiences. "

Sara Bornhöft
Deputy Executive Head, Center for Teaching andLearning (ZLL); Quality Manager
Hamburg University of Technology
LDP 2018

"The seminars presented a mix of presentations by experts, discussions with university leaders, and exercises and problem solving with peers. I found that mix to be very efficient and I have been using program content to reflect on my personal leadership style, practice and the decisions I make every day from the very first seminar and onwards. I recommend the program to all ECIU leaders and potential leaders that aim to tune their leadership."

Tom Nyvang
Head of Study
Department of Communication and Psychology
Aalborg University
LDP 2018