This project is funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme Grant Agreement n°313082
European Union

ETER dataset

For the presentation of the dataset to the Leiden conference click here.


ETER (European Tertiary Education Register) is a project promoted by the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, in cooperation with the Directorate General for Research and Innovation and EUROSTAT. The purpose is to build a register of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Europe, providing data on the number of students, graduates, international doctorates, staff, fields of education, income and expenditure as well as descriptive information on their characteristics.

The Register builds on the results and experience of the EUMIDA (EUropean MIcroDAta collection) study and has the following goals: to develop a more complete set of indicators and characterize HEIs according to their main activities; to extend the coverage of EUMIDA to cover all European HEIs (with the exception of some small institutions); to collect data for 2011 and 2012, validate it and make it publicly available; to produce a methodological Handbook, as the basis for a regular data collection on European HEIs.

ETER currently includes 2673 HEIs in the 36 considered countries; for 2254 HEIs data are available. The project is run in close cooperation with National Statistical Authorities, which provided most data included in ETER.

Country coverage

ETER covers all 28 European Union member states, EEA-EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), as well as candidate countries (FYRM, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey). Data are available for 29 countries; the following countries did yet provide data beyond the list of HEIs: Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Turkey. Belgium provided data only for the Flemish speaking region.

HEI coverage

ETER includes institutions for which a major activity is graduating at least at level 5 of the ISCED-2011 classification of education degrees. HEIs delivering tertiary education as a side activity and HEIs with less than 200 students and 30 full-time equivalents of staff are excluded. ETER includes almost all HEIs graduating at ISCED level 6 (bachelor), 7 (master) or 8 (doctorate), while HEIs delivering only professional diplomas (level ISCED 5) are mostly excluded.

Time coverage

Data are available for the year 2011 (academic year 2011/2012). Data for 2012 will be published in summer 2015.

Variables and indicators

The dataset includes following main groups of variables:

  • Institutional descriptors: the name of the institution, the foundation year, type of institution.
  • Geographical descriptors: NUTS2 and 3 region, the city of the main seat and its postcode, geographical coordinates, information on other campuses.
  • Data on numbers of students and graduates divided by ISCED-2011 level, by gender, fields of education, nationality and mobility.
  • Data on HEI expenditures (personnel, non personnel, capital) and revenues (core, third-party and fees).
  • Data on the number of staff, divided between academic and non-academic, as well as on the number of professors.
  • Data on research activities: PhD students and graduates, R&D expenditures.

Availability of data is excellent for descriptors and geographical information, very good for students and graduates (with a few breakdowns missing), reasonable for staff data and limited for financial data.

Access and conditions of usage

The ETER database is located at JOANNEUM RESEARCH and is accessible on-line at

Users can perform searches and download either the whole dataset or parts of it in Excel format. It is also possible to download metadata, demographic information on the included HEIs and methodological information on the project.

National Statistical Agencies and/or Ministries of Research and Higher Education are the owner of most data in ETER, with the exception of descriptors which have been collected by the consortium from public sources. The owner of the whole dataset is the European Commission.

Public access is available for most of the data. Some data are available for research purposes only. For these data, restricted access under a non-disclosure agreement is foreseen.

Future developments

Within the ETER contract, a second round of data collection is on-going covering the year 2012 (respectively the academic year 2011/2012). Data will be published before summer 2015. The European Commission announced its intention to render ETER a regular data collection on European higher education.

Within RISIS, complementary activities are foreseen in order to enhance the value of the ETER data; this particularly include the provision of additional data, for example on research output, respectively achieving interoperability with other relevant datasets within RISIS like the Leiden Ranking and EUPRO. ETER will also be a key building block of the register of public-sector research organizations which will be developed by RISIS.


Reports and working papers