Data Definitions

Dimensions of ETER variables:

Metadata at the country level

Country-level metadata describe characteristics of the ETER data. Main data source: ETER

Identifiers and demographic information

These variables identify the HEI in ETER, matching information with other datasets and information on demographic events. Main data source: RISIS-OrgReg, ETER

Institutional descriptors

Descriptive information on the HEI, such as legal status, foundation year, history, national label. Main data source: RISIS-OrgReg, ETER

Geographic information

Address and geographical coordinates of the main and satellite campus. Main data source: RISIS-OrgReg

Enrolled students and degrees

Lowest and highest degree delivered and the number of enrolled students and graduates by gender, citizenship, mobility, fields of education, age group and part-time/full-time. Includes also a variable on distance education. Main data source: ETER

Research activities

Includes information on research activity, the number of ISCED 8 (PhD) students and graduates, R&D expenditures and researcher mobility. Main data source: ETER, EUPRO


This dimension includes different types of HEI expenditures (personnel expenditure, nonpersonnel expenditure, total current expenditure, capital expenditure) and a variable of the HEIs accounting system. Main data source: ETER


Includes detailed breakdowns on HEI revenues (core budget, third-party funding, student fees funding, current and non-recurring revenues). Main data source: ETER


This dimension included detailed information on academic and non-academic personnel, including breakdowns on gender, citizenship and fields of education and the number of full professors. Main data source: ETER

Student and personnel credit mobility

Information on incoming and outgoing Erasmus students and personnel by ISCED class. Main data source: Erasmus executive agency

Participation in European Framework Programs 

A set of variables derived from the participation of HEIs in European Framework Programs (FP). Main data source: EUPRO database

Quality assurance

Variables providing information on whether an HEI was subject to a quality assurance process following European guidelines and reported in the DEQAR database. Main data source: DEQAR

ETER indicators

Secondary indicators are constructed from the ETER variables; see chapter seven for a list and definitions. Main data source: ETER

A detailed description of the variables is available in ETER Handbook.

In addition to the variables, the ETER database includes several indicators that characterise HEIs across a number of important dimensions, like gender balance, mobility and internationalisation, and research orientation. The indicators highlight traits and characteristics in HEIs that are in many cases not available through other sources.

The choice of directly integrating indicators in the database is motivated by robustness considerations: the indicators include those that the ETER consortium considers sufficiently robust and available for a sufficient number of countries. Moreover, the methodology for calculating the indicators has been carefully considered, taking into account data specificities. The rationale for selecting indicators, the current list of indicators and rules for their calculation are described in detail in the ETER Handbook.

Will the set of variables be extended in the future?

In case of future data collections, the ETER Methodological Working Group will carefully consider including additional variables, taking into account practical considerations concerning the resources required for collecting data.

Why are variables concerning research output not included in ETER?

The function of ETER is to provide a statistical dataset with basic data on higher education institutions, which are not available at the international level, like data on students, graduates, staff and finances. Most of the data are provided by official statistical sources. Data on research output, like publications and patents, can be retrieved from different sources at the international level, and, therefore, the user is left free to select the source which best suits its needs and to combine them with ETER data. HEI-level data on research output, including publications, participations to EU-FP research programs and patents, will be made available for research purposes only by the RISIS 2 project (