The European higher education landscape is characterized by a high degree of diversity with respect to structure, mission and profile. This chapter contributes to the current debate on mapping the European higher education landscape by providing a complete census of all higher education institutions in the European Research Area as well as their characterization based on a number of descriptors and statistical data. This is made possible by a research project called EUMIDA, which was carried out for the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, in cooperation with DG EAC and Eurostat. Going beyond the core of research-intensive universities as covered by most university rankings it is critical to understand the overall structure of higher education systems, the division of tasks between higher education subsectors and the spread of the research and educational mission. This work significantly extends previous work by some of the authors in the AQUAMETH project for the coverage of the database and the level of standardization of the collected data (Bonaccorsi and Daraio, 2007, 2009; Bonaccorsi et al., 2007; Daraio et al., 2011). The EUMIDA higher education census covers 2457 institutions in 27 European countries including all EU countries except France, plus Norway and Switzerland and covers approximately 90 per cent of the total number of students in tertiary education (ISCED levels 5 and 6).
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