Higher Education and behavior analysis in Europe: Creating a unified approach for the training of autism professionals

Lise Roll-Pettersson, Angeliki Gena, Sigmund Eldevik, Paolo Moderato, Zuilma Gabriela Sigurdardottir, Karola Dillenburger Dillenburger, Mickey Keenan, Shahla Alai-Rosales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Training of behaviour analysts for autism services, has improved notably within a European higher education context. However, regional discrepancies associated with economic, health care, social services, and institutional policies magnify the importance of creating appropriate unified training and consumer protection. Although the European Association for Behaviour Analysis (EABA) has endorsed the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) designations, the absence of European and national regulations, recognition, and accreditation remain significant barriers to quality training and implementation. These challenges are  particularly pertinent in light of BACB decision to limit certification to residents in the USA and Canada after 2022. Advances, challenges, and future directions are discussed within the context of higher education in the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. The post-Bologna European agenda for higher education, globalization and opportunities for the training of behaviour analysts within European higher education are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-184
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Behavior Analysis
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
In April 2015, there was not a single-certified behaviour analyst in the Czech Republic (population of 10,6 million), when Drs Jana Gandalovičová and Sudheera Magage, Prague-based parents of a child with autism, wrote to Professor Dillenburger of Queens University Belfast (QUB) who was a member of the Board of Directors of EABA at that time (Gandalovičová, ). By October the same year, these parents had started collaborating with two UK-based Universities (QUB and Ulster University) and locally, with Masaryk University in Brno. This initial collaboration was possible due to Erasmus+ teacher exchange funding. Together they organised the first ABA conference in the Czech Republic, that was attended by over 400 parents and professionals and attracted considerable attention from the newspapers and Czech television. Meetings with government ministers and a Parliamentary hearing followed. Subsequently, a significant 5-year grant was secured from the Department of Education, to “bring ABA to the Czech Republic”. In order to “kick start” the profession, the grant included funding for 15 Czech nationals to study ABA at international Universities (such as QUB and Florida Institute of Technology; FIT); in 2017, a QUB graduate became the first Czech national to become a BCBA. Courses to prepare students to become Registered Behaviour Technicians (RBT) started at Masaryk University and the first Czech verified course sequence was approved in 2017, with the first cohort of students starting their studies in 2018.

Funding Information:
The Swedish Association for Behavior Analysis (SWBA) is an affiliate chapter of Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). SWBA was founded in 1996 and has approximately 200 members and an autism special interest group. In collaboration with Stockholm University, SWABA hosted the 2014 European Association for Behavior Analysis (EABA) conference. The second International Summit on Behaviour Analysis and Autism in Higher Education was held at Stockholm University in 2018 (financed by the Swedish Research Council with support from the University of North Texas), and ABAI’s 10 International conference took place in Stockholm in 2019. th

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Behaviour analysis
  • Europe
  • IBI
  • autism
  • higher education
  • sustainability


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