German universities and higher education institutions demand a stronger role for European University Alliances
The aim is to combine the strengths and diversity of European research, innovation, education and knowledge transfer
In a joint statement, 35 German universities and higher education institutions that have joined forces to form European University Alliances draw attention to current challenges. It addresses the role of alliances that were initiated under the European Union’s European Universities Initiative (EUI).
The aim of the EUI is for European universities to join forces in order to combine the strengths and diversity of European research, innovation, education and transfer in new structures. The intention with this is to be able to better meet the challenges that Europe and the world are facing.
The focus is on five topics: diversity, a holistic approach, evaluation, communication and sustainability.
When it comes to diversity, the universities are urging that the EUI also be open to excellent higher education institutions from partner countries outside the Erasmus region (e.g., from Switzerland, Great Britain or Israel) in order to ensure that their efforts take on a global dimension, with global visibility and impact.
Better alignment of funding programmes
In addition, the institutions that have signed the statement advocate for the European University Alliances to pursue a holistic approach that takes all dimensions of a university into equal account. For this purpose, it is vital that funding schemes such as Erasmus +, Horizon Europe and innovation as well as talent and mobility programmes be merged and aligned with one another.
They furthermore urge that the European University Alliances be evaluated according to quantitative and qualitative criteria, and that there be transparent and timely communication about the most important evaluation modalities and criteria for the calls for Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe in 2022 and 2023, so that the alliances can work in a forward-looking and impact-oriented manner.
Ultimately, the aim is to establish a long-term perspective – including in relation to adequate resources – because European University Networks are designed to last.
With their demands, the higher education institutions that have signed the statement wish to contribute, together with the European Commission, to promoting the European universities as beacons of European higher education, research, innovation and interaction with society and as sustainable actors in these fields.
Statement of German Universities and Higher Education Institutions Represented in Existing European University Alliances on the Full Roll-out of the European Universities Initiative – August 2021 (see Link below)
Dr Yoan Vilain
Circle U. European University
President’s Representative for European and International Affairs
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin