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.


European universities are facing major challenges in a dynamic world of higher education and research. Leadership now and in the future at all levels within universities play a pivotal role. For this reason, ECIU has offered a Leadership Development Programme for its employees for nearly two decades. This programme is unique in the world and is characterised by diversity in several respects. Participants are staff members from different levels within the ECIU member universities and with holding an academic or professional position.


  • attention to (further) developing personal leadership styles,
  • vision and strategy development, organisational cultures and leadership styles within universities,
  • latest developments in (European) higher education policy,
  • further acquaintance with three ECIU universities (Aalborg, Trento and Linkoping) including site visits to innovative projects
  • introduction to challenge-based learning by carrying out a project independently in groups during the programme.

The ECIU University Vision 2030 demonstrates a holistic view on how higher education, research, and innovation, together with the surroundings at both regional and the European level join their forces to create sustainable, societal impact in innovative ways. During the ECIU Leadership Development Programme, participants will work on challenges for the three host universities related to the offering of these new flexible and personalized educational pathways, and on institutional challenges related to the creation of a European university and ecosystem for the benefit of society.


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 challenge and expertise focusing on the future 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.


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.


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

  • Kick-off: 18 September 2023 online, 12.00-13.30 CET
  • Seminar 1: 21-24 November 2023 (Aalborg)
  • Seminar 2: 6-9 February 2024 (Trento)
  • Seminar 3: 9-12 April 2024 (Linköping together with the ECIU Board meeting)

We expect the participants to be full-time present at thelocation at all three seminars. Physical presence is key – onlineatention is not possible; seminars will not be streamed. Weexect that the participants dedicate the necessary time towork in a team on the challenge-based projects.

Each seminar includes elements from the three major components of the programme:

  • Higher education, universities, leadership and change management (CHEPS, with input from leaders at the three universities hosting the seminars and the ECIU)
  • Leadership skills (Barbara Takacs)
  • Challenge work related to the ECIU University (groups work with a contact person from the three host ECIU universities and are supported by the core programme

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. team. The results of the challenge work will be presented to the ECIU Board at the end of the third seminar.


Before you register for the ECIU Leadership Development Programme, you have to be nominated by your home institution (please contact your institutional coordinator. Each ECIU member university can nominate a maximum of two participants. The registration is completed by submitting the registration form. Please indicate in the form your learning needs You will receive an automatic email confirming your registration.

An intake seminar with the programme leaders will follow on 18 September 2023, 12.00-13.30 CET.

All personal information which you provide to the Professional Learning and Development Department of the University of Twente in the context of registration, is confidential and will be treated accordingly. Registration for the LDP applies to the entire programme consisting of three seminars. Participants commit to attending all three seminars in person.

Participants can cancel their participation within fourteen (14) calendar days after the registration deadline on 30 July 2023.

Cancellations which take place after this deadline will be fully charged, if the host university is unable to find a substitute. If a participant terminates their LDP attendance prematurely before the first seminar starts, universities must send a substitute. A participant cannot be replaced by a substitute after the first seminar has started.


"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