The new GUNi Report sets out the horizons of transformation of higher education for the coming years and prepares a new vision to drive change

  • The 8th GUNi Report on Higher Education in the World was presented during the third UNESCO World Higher Education Conference in Barcelona
  • More than 90 authors have contributed to the Report, which has been designed as a live document in virtual format that will continue to grow over the next four years

The 8th GUNi Higher Education in the World Report: "New visions for higher education institutions towards 2030" has been presented during the third UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022), held in Barcelona from the 18th to the 20th of May. In this context, the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), an organization chaired and coordinated by the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP), has had the opportunity to present the horizons of transformation for the higher education sector in the coming years. More than 90 authors have contributed to the analysis of the situation of universities around the world, the challenges faced by educational institutions and what needs to be rethought and done moving forward.

The presentation began with the words of Javier Lafuente, Rector of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, followed by Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa, Director of the Education 2030 Division, Support and Coordination of UNESCO, and Maria Espinet Alegre, Head of the Education Area of Fundació "la Caixa". The Executive Secretary of the ACUP-GUNi, Josep M. Vilalta, has presented the Report which, in his words, "analyzes the present and future reality of higher education and focuses primarily on higher education institutions". Institutions that, as discussed during the WHEC2022, will have to develop "authentic transformation processes in the coming years". In this sense, the Report wants to be a document of analysis and, at the same time, a useful instrument for those universities that intend to rethink or carry out transformation processes.

Josep M. Vilalta, Secretari Executiu de l'ACUP-GUNi

To make this transformation effective, the Report will go beyond the document. Vilalta has presented a "new dimension" that will allow to put into practice the knowledge of the Report by accompanying higher education institutions in their process of change: "We will launch an International Call for Action next June for the period 2022-2025".

The presentation was followed by a round table where F. Xavier Grau, former Secretary General of Universities and Research of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director of Symbiosis Society and Pro-Rector of Symbiosis International University, discussed how to implement this transformation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

A second round table addressed the challenges faced by HEIs through a regional approach. Following the structure of the GUNi Report, the speakers presented specific challenges of their regions and showed the necessary actions that need to be taken or that are already being implemented to address them. The panel was attended by Olusola Oyewole, Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President of the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and Co-Chair of UNESCO Chair on Community Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, Amanda Crowfoot, Secretary General of the European Association of Universities (USA), Axel Didriksson, President of GUNi for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Amr Ezzat Salama, Secretary General of the Association of Arab Universities (AArU).

The Report has been published by the GUNi network with the support of UNESCO, Fundació "la Caixa", the Catalan Agency of Cooperation for Development, the Ministry of Universities of the Government of Spain, the Ministry of External Action and Open Government of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Department of Research and Universities of the Catalan Government.

In light of the profound transformations that are taking place, globally but also with specific characteristics in different parts of the world, one of the main debates during the WHEC2022 in Barcelona has been to rethink the role of higher education and its contribution to society. It is in this context that GUNi aims to foster this necessary and timely discussion by publishing the 8th GUNi Report on Higher Education in the World.

Entitled "New visions for higher education institutions towards 2030", the Report analyzes the state of higher education in the world and seeks to respond to the need to transform HEIs based on the experience accumulated by GUNi in the promotion of global and regional analyses and in the production of knowledge for institutional action and the formulation of public policies.


With contributions from more than 90 experts from around the world, the Report covers a wide range of topics: from the digital-human future to governance and public service, while addressing sustainability, work, and citizenship, among other aspects. As a distinctive feature, the Report focuses mainly on institutions and introduces regional perspectives with the aim of ensuring the applicability of the findings. The Report carries out a detailed analysis of the current situation in order to keep HEIs advancing successfully towards 2030 and beyond.

Through the various contributions and themes, the Report outlines the "GUNi vision", which aspires to be a lighthouse from which each institution or university model can build a path towards transformation. GUNi advocates, precisely, for the "proliferation of diverse institutional profiles, which undoubtedly generates prosperity and adaptation to different realities," Vilalta pointed out, "and at no time does it intend to establish a single institutional model."

As a novelty, the 8th GUNi Report has been conceived as a living document that will evolve in the coming years. All materials have been published on a website that will be fed with new articles, interviews, videos, and podcasts. The Report has been published as an open platform with the aim of bringing knowledge to everyone, both to encourage transformational thinking and to accompany action to HEIs. "In this way," the Executive Secretary of the ACUP-GUNi explained that they "think that the Report will be updated and enriched and, therefore, will be more useful for higher education institutions and any expert or interested party."

The full document can already be consulted through this website:

You can also download the full document in pdf here.