Modernising universities for a more knowledgeable Europe As Europe moves towards its vision of a knowledge-based economy, better links and synergies are needed between the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area. An EU-funded project was set up to organise a conference focusing on how best to achieve this. Digital Economy © Thinkstock Within the context of its agenda to foster the modernisation of universities, the Spanish presidency organised the 'Universities 2020' conference in June 2010. The initiative was supported by the 'Universities, knowledge and development for the next decade' (UNIVERSITY 2020) project, under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Conference objectives included a focus on the role of universities in the Europe 2020 strategy, developing links between the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), and a modernisation agenda for universities. Five types of sessions were held over the one-and-a-half day conference, including workshops targeting each of its four aims: links between the EHEA and the ERA, doctoral training, the role of universities in the Europe 2020 strategy, and university contribution to innovation and socioeconomic development. Background and concept papers were prepared for each workshop. Two websites were developed to facilitate organisation of the event, which was held at the University of Salamanca's College Hospederia Fonseca. The 'Universities 2020' conference supported and promoted stronger dialogue between policymakers, academic representatives and other knowledge-related stakeholders. This will likely have a positive impact on research institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs) and businesses, and help build an enhanced European Knowledge Area (EKA).