Bologna Implementation Coordination Group (BICG)

With the Paris Communiqué, "a structured peer support approach based on solidarity, cooperation and mutual learning" was adopted. In the work plan of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for 2018-2020, peer support focuses on completing the implementation of three key commitments:

  • a three-cycle system compatible with the overarching framework of qualifications of the EHEA and first and second cycle degrees scaled by ECTS,
  • compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention,
  • quality assurance in compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area.


To this end, the BFUG has established a coordinating body, the Bologna Implementation Coordination Group (BICG), to organise three Peer Groups, one for each key commitment.

The BICG is composed by Austria (Co-chair), Bulgaria (Co-chair), Croatia (Co-chair), Italy, the European Commission, EUA, EURASHE and one Co-chair of Working Group 1 on Monitoring.

The Peer Groups themselves, each chaired by three countries, agree on further actions aimed at fostering, improving and speeding up implementation in the participating countries and report to the BICG which makes a summary report to the BFUG on progress achieved prior to the Rome Ministerial Conference in 2020.

In September 2018, the BFUG formally established the following three Thematic Peer Groups based on the interests and needs indicated by the BFUG members and Consultative members in a survey conducted during the summer of 2018:

Thematic Peer Group A on Key Commitment 1 (a three-cycle system compatible with the overarching Qualifications Framework of the EHEA and first and second cycle degrees scaled by ECTS) 

Specific thematic indications include topics such as:

  • self-certification of the national qualification frameworks the overarching Qualifications Framework of the EHEA,
  • complete implementation of the ECTS User’s Guide,
  • short cycle higher education,
  • multiple purposes and use of the qualifications frameworks by the stakeholders,
  • study programmes outside of the Bologna three-cycle structure,
  • relationship between the qualifications frameworks and quality assurance.


Thematic Peer Group B on Key Commitment 2 (national legislation and procedures compliant with the Lisbon Recognition Convention [LRC])

Specific thematic orientations indicated include topics such as:

  • establishing the legal framework to allow the implementation of the LRC,
  • establishing the distribution of work and responsibilities among the competent institutions that have the right knowledge and capacity to carry out recognition procedures,
  • achieving automatic recognition,
  • recognition of alternative pathways,
  • qualifications held by refugees,
  • optimising the potential of digital technology for the recognition agenda and the Diploma Supplement.


Thematic Peer Group C on Key Commitment 3 (Quality Assurance in compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area)

Specific thematic orientations include topics such as:

  • legislative framework in line with the ESG (introducing changes),
  • ensuring effectiveness of internal quality assurance arrangements, including the use of QA results in the decision-making process and quality culture as well as links to learning and teaching,
  • the role and engagement of stakeholders in internal and external QA (students, teachers, employers) and
  • Cross-border QA and European Approach to accreditation of joint programmes.


Updates from the BICG to the BFUG

BFUG Meeting 63 Vienna September 2018 (under item 8. BICG update: composition of peer groups)

BFUG Meeting 65 Bucharest April 2019 (under item 6. Update from the BICG)

BFUG Meeting 67 Helsinki November 2019 (under item 5.1 Bologna Implementation Coordination Group)

BFUG Meeting 69 Kyiv March 2020 (under item 5.1 Bologna Implementation Coordination Group)


BICG Meetings

1. First Meeting of the BICG in Brussels on 5 June 2018

The group discussed the mandate and deliverables of the BICG, on the basis of the Terms of Reference adopted at the Ministerial Conference. The BICG further discussed the concept of peer support and agreed on its next concrete steps.


  • The Co-chairs of the BICG were chosen: Austria, Bulgaria and Croatia;
  • The BICG decided to send a letter to all BFUG members to ask them to complete a questionnaire to survey their planned involvement in the Peer Groups based on the three key commitments. The letter was sent and the survey carried out.


2. Second Meeting of the BICG in Brussels on 30 August 2018

The survey results were presented and the Thematic Peer Groups were established according to the country’s and consultative members’ willingness to co-chair and participate in the various groups. The BICG established 3 Peer Groups, one on each of the three Key Commitments. Member countries and organisations in the Peer Groups are encouraged to form smaller thematic groups (3-6 members) within the larger Peer Group, to work on specific themes which contribute to the outcomes of the entire Peer Group.


  • An overview of membership of the different countries and organisations in the three Thematic Peer Groups was elaborated;
  • Elaboration of Guidelines for BFUG peer support;
  • Organisation of informal networking opportunity to prepare project proposals and sub-groups during the BFUG meeting;
  • Proposal of Co-chairs for the Thematic Peer Groups on the basis of the willingness to Co-chair indicated in the survey to be approved by the BFUG.


3. Third Meeting of the BICG in Vienna on 28 September 2018 

The BICG and the new Co-chairs of the Thematic Peer Groups met to speak about the organisation and management of the Peer Groups and sub-groups. The networking activity that took place during the BFUG meeting was evaluated and the next steps were planned.


The following Co-chairs for the Thematic Peer Groups were approved by the BFUG:

  • Thematic Peer Group A on QF: Czech Republic, Finland and Kazakhstan;
  • Thematic Peer Group B on LRC: Albania, France and Italy;
  • Thematic Peer Group C on QA: Belgium Flemish Community, Cyprus and Georgia.


4. Fourth Meeting of the BICG in Brussels on 22 October 2018

The results achieved during the networking sessions at the BFUG meeting in Vienna and the final composition of the Thematic Peer Groups (TPGs), where almost all BFUG members participate in at least one of them, were presented. The dates and practicalities of the first Peer Group meetings were announced and the BICG discussed the Thematic Peer Groups work plans and further organization. The project proposals for the umbrella projects were presented and discussed with the EACEA representatives.


  • Evaluation of the networking sessions at the BFUG meeting;
  • Three “umbrella” projects to organise the meetings of the Thematic Peer Groups were elaborated;
  • Organisation of the first Thematic Peer Group meetings.


5. Fifth Meeting of the BICG in Vienna on 26 February 2019

The Thematic Peer Groups' Co-chairs reported back from their first meetings held in December and January and organisational issues, like communication, reporting, assessment of outcomes and management of the groups were discussed to improve the present and future work of the BICG .


  • Evaluation of the three first TPG meetings;
  • Reflection on improvements in the work of the BICG and the TPGs;
  • Elaboration of the report to the BFUG.


6. Sixth Meeting of the BICG in Brussels on 16 September 2019

The BICG met to discuss the current state of art of the group, the first draft report to the BFUG, its content and structure, both of the BICG as well as of the TPGs. BICG also discussed the future of the peer approach after 2020 and agreed that this should be part of the report prepared by the BICG to the BFUG for the Ministerial Conference as one of the recommendations to the EHEA Ministers. The Thematic Peer Groups' Co-chairs reported on the state of play, preparation of the reports and update on the projects in the respective TPGs.


7. Seventh Meeting of the BICG, online, on 8 April 2020

At the next meeting we will have updates of the latest meetings of the BFUG Helsinki and Kyiv and from the board meeting in Zagreb. We will discuss the report of the BICG to the BFUG, and how to incorporate the survey the BiCG has sent to the members of the TPGs  into the report and into the considerations of the future of the Structured Peer Support.

There will also be reports from the TPGs on the three key commitments. We will fine tune our recommendations for the Rome Communiqué.