It is well known that the Tuning Project – “Tuning of educational structures” – has developed within the broader context of continuous reforms of European higher education systems, when the society at large was undergoing rapid changes. The name Tuning was chosen for the project to reflect the idea that universities do not look for uniformity in their degree programmes or any sort of unified, prescriptive or definitive European curricula but simply for points of reference, convergence and common understanding. The protection of the rich diversity of European education has been paramount in the Tuning Project from the very start and the project in no way seeks to restrict the independence of academic and subject specialists, or undermine local and national academic authority.
Tuning Educational Structures in Europe started in 2000 as a project to link the political objectives of the Bologna Process and at a later stage the Lisbon Strategy to the higher educational sector. Over time, Tuning has developed into a Process, an approach to (re-) designing, develop, implement, evaluate and enhance quality first, second and third cycle degree programmes. Tuning Project and methodology are fully in line with the Bologna Process and constitute one of the academic tools for creating EHEA. The need for compatible, comparable and competitive higher education in Europe reflects the students' needs. As students' mobility increases so does the demand for reliable and objective information on educational degrees offered by different HEIs. Apart from this, employers within and outside Europe require reliable information on qualifications awarded and on what these qualifications means in practice and in the labour market context. Therefore, the process of creating national qualification frameworks is inseparable from EHEA development process.
Tuning aims to meet the needs of educational institutions and structures and to offer a concrete approach to implement the Bologna Process at the level of higher education institutions and subject areas. The Tuning approach proposes a methodology to (re-) design, develop, implement and evaluate study programmes for each of the higher education cycles. Furthermore, Tuning serves as a platform for developing reference points at subject area level. These are relevant for making programmes of studies comparable, compatible and transparent. The agreed-upon reference points for subject areas and degree programmes are expressed in terms of competences and learning outcomes.
Tuning in general has emerged from the understanding that the Bologna Process is about universities, their students, academic and non-academic staff. It is them, with all their knowledge and experience, who should be deciding upon higher education innovation strategies. Tuning is a university-driven project and movement, which came as a reaction of HEIs to new challenges and new opportunities that emerged within the process of European integration and EHEA creation.