European Context

The CITIES team prepared some training material for you:

A helpful overview on educational aspects of European policies is found at

Below, you find basic information and helpful links related to the European context in chemistry teaching.


1. Organisations and associations oriented towards industrial chemistry

The European context of chemistry can hardly be understood without knowing the sectoral pan-European organisations and associations that exist in the Europe.

1.1. The social partners in the sector of chemistry

CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council, is an association with 3 distinct groups of members: National federations from across Europe (national chemical industry federations of 22 countries in Europe, including six associate member federations in Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania); corporate members; and business members. Within Cefic organization there are also Associated companies, Affiliated associations, and Partners.

CEFIC was established to maintain and develop a prosperous chemical industry in Europe by promoting the best possible economic, social and environmental conditions to bring benefits to society with a commitment to the continuous improvement of all its activities including the safety, health and environmental performance. For more information see

CEFIC has a special employers' social partner organisation, ECEG, European Chemistry Employers' Group (

Together with the respective trade union organisation EMCEF,the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers' Federation (, they meet regularly to discuss relevant issues in the Social Dialogue, with financial help of the EU commission. Two important issues are the REACH programme of the EU:

Together, ECEG and EMCEF published a paper on education matters in Helsinki in 2004 (see

1.2. SUSCHEM, The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry

SusChem brings together a wide spectrum of organizations and individuals looking to boost sustainable chemistry, industrial biotechnology and chemical engineering research, development and innovation in Europe.

Two initiatives of SusChem are especially worth mentioning :The Smart Energy Home (see and the education database of SusChem with a wealth of contacts and information at

2.     Academic and professional bodies

Secondly, we can recognize academic associations as that of the European national chemical societies, EUCheMS. EuCheMS (European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences) is a non-profit-making organization, founded in 1970; that time as FECS, Federation of European Chemical Societies). Its object is to promote co-operation in Europe between non-profit-making scientific and technical societies in the field of chemistry and molecular sciences. The organization can draw upon significant resources, having 50 member societies which in total represent some 150,000 individual chemists in academia, industry and government in over 35 countries across Europe. EuCheMS is an Associated Organization of IUPAC. EuChems took over the activities of ECCC, the European Community Chemistry Council. The list of 50 Member Societies and 17 Divisions and Working Parties is at

Individual membership based the European Chemical Society was established in 1995 in Gent by a group of young chemists. The ECS never gained pan European importance.

PubChemSoc - Europe is an organization of 14 European chemical societies, founded in the late 1990s (first name EuChemSoc) as a consequence of the amalgamation of many chemical journals owned by national chemical societies into a number of high-quality European journals. ChemPubSoc Europe co-owns and supports these journals including Chemistry-A European Journal, European Journal of Organic Chemistry, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, ChemBioChem, ChemPhysChem, ChemMedChem, and ChemSusChem, which are published by Wiley-VCH. The participating societies share a commitment to scientific excellence, to publishing ethics, and to the highest standards in publication, which are the basis for the success of the ChemPubSoc Europe journals. The chemical societies of the following countries are members of ChemPubSoc Europe: Austria (GÖCH), Belgium (KNCV, SRC), Czech Republic (CSCh), France (SFC), Germany (GDCh), Greece (EEX), Hungary (MKE), Italy (SCI), Netherlands (KNCV), Poland (PTCh), Portugal (SPQ), Spain (RSEQ), and Sweden (SK).

Further, we must acknowledge a rather large network of European universities and schools teaching chemistry. ECTN-A, the European Chemistry Thematic Network Association is a non-profit making association registered in Belgium and is an outcome of six years of network activity. Higher education institutions, national chemical societies and chemical and software companies comprise our members. There are currently over 120 members of the network coming from 30 different European countries and with associate members world-wide. Expert European groups work on a range of topics and produce reports with a real European dimension. These reports and recommendations are available on our website. A multi-lingual series of tests, that can be used for certification/ validation of competence in chemistry at various levels is now available on Internet. Associated E-learning facilities have been produced. The purpose of the tests is to validate the competence of all citizens, irrespective of their learning path.
ECTN-A is a legal body, the counterpart to the "mother" network, the European Chemistry Thematic Network, ECTN connected now on the basis of an Leonardo project ‘Chemistry in the European Higher Education Area', which started in 2006 ( Starting in 2009, ECTN works together in a new project phase based on (again) an EU-grant, with  the European Chemical Engineering Education Network Association to form EC2E2N - the European Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Education Network (see This initiative merges the traditions of chemistry and of chemical engineering. The homepage of EC2E2N contains a wealth of information on chemistry education.

For chemistry courses, universities can apply for the Eurobachelor and the  Euromaster labels which express that the course fullfils minimum requirements in quality, contents and learning outcomes (see:

Finally, the recent Lisbon Declaration of the European University Assiociation, EUA, sets the scenario and goals for Higher Education in Europe from the Universities' point of view.


3. Helpful links related to European Policies and the Bologna Process

The Lisbon Strategy as described in the Lisbon Declaration.sets a new strategic goal for the Union in order to strengthen employment, economic reform and social cohesion as part of a knowledge-based economy (see It is one of the main policy documents from which many other initiatives were derived.

The Bologna Process started in 1999 and aims at creating a European educational area with comparable structures, quality assurance tools and enhanced mobility of learners and educators. The basic document is the Bologna (Bologna-Sorbonne) Declaration with its follow-up process (see

A detailed explanation is found at

The latest update on the Bologna Process was discussed and decided in Leuven/Louvain. The Leuven Communiqué describes the progress which was made and the goals for the years to come.

In a publication of the CITIES team, a German view on the Bologna process in the field of chemistry is given (text in German).


4. Tools in educational policy

The European Credit Transfer System ECTS (see is a work load based tool to estimate the time students spend on a particular subject. One ECTS credit point is equivalent to an average student workload of 30 hours. In most cases, 30 credits make the workload of one semester.
Learning outcomes are described instead of mere "curricula" just covering the contents of a learning unit called module. Modules normally end with an examination for which grades are given. Grades, in contrast to credit points, describe the performance of the student related to other students in a number of cohorts of his or her course. More information is found in an ECTS-guide.

At the end of a course, each student will obtain, with the degree documents, a Diploma Supplement (see It describes the course and the particular students' studies in more detail and embeds it in the educational landscape of the university and the country.

The European Qualifications Frameworks (see describes the subject related qualifications and key qualifications at various levels of education and is a reference for all course design activities.

For the field of chemistry, the TUNING Project aimed at a better understanding on the structure and contents of chemistry courses and at comparability in this domain. Click here to see the 2005 TUNING brochure for more details.

Currently, a similar system is being developed for the field of Vocational Education (EC-VET, see

5. Further Goals in Educational Policies

Mobility of learners, educators and employees is one of the key issues in the Bologna process.
Mobility in chemistry education (including transnational and in trans-level mobiltiy) is covered in some detail in a publication of the CITIES project bearing the title "A flexible life long learning toolbox for chemists: Vocational and university education with mobility elements.
Moreover, please check the GREEN PAPER "Promoting the learning mobility of young people" here.

Employability of graduates is another important aspect in the Bologna strategy. In a recent publication of ECTN-A, employability of the chemistry first cycle graduates (Bachelors, Licenciados) is studied in more detail.

One of the most important components in chemistry (and other) courses are industrial placements. A review on chemistry education in Europe published in 2005 focuses courses with such elements (see Forum for Advancing Chemical Education: White Book "Chemical Education for a Competitive and Dynamic Europe" - available at in English and in a Spanish version).

Accreditation and Quality Assurance are major issues of the Bologna Process.

ENQA (the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) disseminates information, experiences and good practices in the field of quality assurance (QA) in higher education to European QA agencies, public authorities and higher education institutions.

The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) aims at increasing transparency of quality assurance, and thus enhancing trust and confidence in European higher education. EQAR will list quality assurance agencies that operate in Europe and have proven their credibility and reliability in a review against the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG).

6. Life Long Learning Programmes of the EU

For which schools and universities can apply are found at