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The Future UniLab: A Living Laboratory


Our structure guarantees an appropriate representation of the various stakeholders while it provides a platform for developing and considering innovative ideas through engaging the creativity and talent of the Una Europa researchers, teachers, professional staff members, and students. Moreover, the Future UniLab has developed a new method for discussion and problem-solving for European Universities that is also transferable and scalable for use in various contexts and institutional settings.

The essential component of the methodology is to distinguish between two kinds of teams:

  • Visionary Teams are given the freedom to dream and think truly out-of-the-box. They respond by producing, depending on the nature and the developed solution, a so-called output which may be a concept note, a report, a prototype or a position paper. The outputs are discussed at the forum of the Steering Committee and presented for the consideration of the Board of Directors and/or the Una.Futura Project Steering Committee. The Visionary Teams may include:
  1. Members of the Steering Committee.
  2. Senior Fellows, who present different professional backgrounds while coming from both within and outside of academia.
  3. Junior Fellows, who are researchers, teachers, professional staff members or students.

Check out the previous work of the Future UniLab Visionaries here.

  • Design Team is tasked with the crucial “reality check” for the dream scenarios. The task is to assist the relevant Una Europa bodies in the implementation process, by providing consultation, advice and feedback. The Design Team consists mainly of professionals from the Una Europa partners.

The interaction of these two central players is orchestrated by the Future UniLab’s Steering Committee. This team is a permanent structure, consisting of representatives from all Una Europa partner universities and the Una Europa central team, and Una Europa bodies such as the Student Board. The Steering Committee oversees all the operations of the think-tank, including a long-term strategy, annual action plans, selecting challenges and opportunities and appointing Senior and Junior Fellows.

The Future UniLab Steering Committee is supported by a management team, based at Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie. This team includes:

  • A Future UniLab Manager, who assists the Steering Committee’s Chair in the organisation of the Future UniLab’s meetings, and liaises with and participates in meetings of other Una Europa bodies in order to secure smooth communication of the Future UniLab’s activities within Una Europa.
  • Two Future UniLab Assistant Managers, one who provides administrative support to the Manager and another who provides support for the dissemination of information (and outputs) of the Future UniLab as well as raising the visibility of the think-tank within and outside Una Europa.
  • A Financial Officer, who takes care of the budget and finances of the Future UniLab as well as the whole Una Europa budget at Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie.

Challenges and Opportunities

The Future UniLab identifies and responds to challenges (fundamental problems for the future of universities) and opportunities (circumstances potentially enabling rapid progress). These challenges and opportunities:

  • Represent complex and fundamental issues for the future of universities.
  • May emerge from the functioning of Una Europa and are important for the future of the Alliance.
  • Present resources to tackle the given challenge/opportunity.

Challenges and opportunities can be proposed by members of the Future UniLab, other Una Europa bodies as well as the Una Europa community as a whole through an online participatory mechanism. The final selection is carried out by the Steering Committee in consultation with the Senior Fellows.

The overarching theme for 2024 is Taking values seriously, addressing the following challenges:

Meet our Steering Committee

The Future UniLab Spotlight

As we want to make the work of our Visionaries visible, their outputs are communicated and discussed with the use of innovative communication tools and formats.

You can find our work in:

Wherever you find the Future UniLab, our goal is to always make you reflect on the most blatant information.

Contact information

Interested in getting involved in the Future UniLab? Contact the Management Team for more information.