Welcome message
from the Chair



Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Many thanks for your interest in ACEEU accreditation!

ACEEU was founded with the mission to increase the direct social, economic and environmental impacts that universities make in their ecosystems. Our goal is to challenge the status quo in higher education and advocate for putting a stronger emphasis on the so-called third mission of universities (an umbrella term for innovation, university-business cooperation, civic engagement, outreach, technology transfer etc.), next to education and research, to make universities engines for societal and economic development. We believe that entrepreneurship and (community) engagement are the key drivers and vehicles to realise this change.

Many universities, however, realise that merely adding an entrepreneurship centre, an industry liaison office or changing the vision statement is not enough. Rather, a much more transformative approach is needed; one that changes the culture, the mindsets, the values and the overall DNA of institutions. We are moving from education-oriented and research-intensive universities towards impact universities, with entrepreneurship and engagement being the key pillars of this transformation.

The beauty of this change is that it redefines what an excellent university actually is. While impact is hard to measure, we can already see how existing quality measurement and perceptions change. For example, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been ranked in the Top 5 of the THE, QS and Shanghai Rankings for a long time, it has only made it to 76th place in the THE Impact Ranking (going up from a place 101-200 in 2020). Once you change the focus, a new set of “excellence universities” emerge. And this is an encouraging situation for many universities around the world.

We believe that with this change of focus, universities will now have to find ways in which they can showcase their impact potential and realisation, and we will see many more regional and currently less well-known universities making it to the global stage of higher education excellence.

At ACEEU, we contribute to this movement by offering universities an external evaluation of their entrepreneurship and (community) engagement practice, benefitting organisational development and providing international recognition of the institution’s achievements.

Given that no comprehensive external evaluation approach for entrepreneurship and engagement in higher education existed, we undertook an extensive validation and piloting phase to ensure that our framework is robust, comprehensive and considers the diversity of institutional environments and the universities’ approaches towards impact creation.

More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only shown universities the importance of entrepreneurship and community engagement, but also enabled us to verify our evaluation approach’s suitability in extraordinary situations. Having built trust with many piloting universities and involved experts, ACEEU is now starting its first global promotion campaign in June 2021 and opening its accreditation to all universities around the world.

In addition to an institutional-level accreditation, we are now also offering our accreditation to university faculties, schools and departments, to ensure that single academic units can showcase and celebrate their achievements in entrepreneurship and engagement, even if the university in which they are situated is not ready yet.

Today, ACEEU is present in many of the world’s capitals and major cities*, but also in less well-known regions. Likewise, ACEEU works with many well-known, but also less well-known universities. But what unites all of them is their dedication to and excellence in entrepreneurship and engagement, and their ambition to make our universities the impact creators that they can be.

If you are interested in an external evaluation of your entrepreneurship and/or (community) engagement practices, get in contact with us. If you feel that this comes too early for your institution or academic unit, consider becoming an affiliated member to join our community of pioneering universities and to start the journey with us.

Our website provides a wealth of information on our ambitious vision, our activities and much more, and we would be happy to connect with you to discuss how our accreditation can provide value to your institution’s further development.

With best regards,



Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kliewe
Chair of the Council



* with applicants and accredited universities in Madrid (Spain), Mexico City (Mexico), Bogota (Colombia), Gothenburg (Sweden), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Warsaw (Poland) and Adelaide (Australia), amonst others.