Published on 26 June 2019
Credit: Anna Wojnar
UNA Europa alliance receives prestigious grant to launch European University of the Future
Twenty years after the Bologna Declaration to develop the European Higher Education Area, seven leading research-intensive universities have been granted 5 million euros of EU funding to kick-start their joint strategy to consolidate a European University ecosystem. By driving innovative education and research collaboration across seven of Europe’s largest comprehensive universities, the UNA Europa alliance is equipped to address the challenges of the future.
The UNA Europa partners are Freie Universität Berlin, Alma Mater Studiorum Universitá di Bologna, University of Edinburgh, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. UNA Europa’s 1EUROPE project is among the first 17 European University pilots that the European Commission announced today. UNA Europa will receive funding for this three-year pilot under the Erasmus+ Programme.
“We are honoured to be among the first European Universities selected and committed to shaping the future of Higher Education in Europe”, says Professor Peter Lievens, Vice-rector at KU Leuven and Coordinator of the 1EUROPE project. “The UNA Europa ecosystem brings together students, university leaders, academics and support services from our seven campuses to reach our common ambition to shape Europe’s future.”
The UNA Europa partners have been at the centre of educating and forming Europe’s intellectual tradition for almost 1000 years. The partners’ shared heritage and ambition to shape Europe’s future are a driving force in the alliance’s strategy. The UNA Europa universities’ staff and student communities approach half a million strong and count millions of digital learners. “The scale of the UNA Europa community is our unique opportunity to develop, implement and transfer the new models of education and research required to address the rapidly changing needs of society,” says Professor Lievens.
The 1EUROPE project will establish a laboratory on the future of universities. The laboratory will generate new concepts for international education and research, integrating them across the seven partners and also fostering their transfer to other institutions. “UNA Europa will create a University of the Future that is not only international and innovative, but also open and inclusive”, says Prof. Alessandra Scagliarini, Vice-rector at Universitá di Bologna and current Chair of the UNA Europa Board of Directors. “Our institutions each have exemplary initiatives in civil society engagement. Through the 1EUROPE project we will bring this to a European scale.”
UNA Europa has already launched collaboration in four thematic focus areas: European Studies, Sustainability, Cultural Heritage and Data Science & Artificial Intelligence. These areas promote cross-fertilization of knowledge across the sciences and humanities, across the seven campuses and with their societal stakeholders. The 1EUROPE project will test Innovative Formats for education and mobility through International Academic Incubators, which will be established in the four focus areas. During the course of the project, the incubators will be transformed into a European campus, aiming to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world.
In February 2019, the seven founding university partners formally established UNA Europa as a non-profit association under Belgian law (vzw). “This demonstrates our long-term commitment to the sustainability of the alliance”, says Prof. Scagliarini. The UNA Europa association is situated on the Brussels campus of KU Leuven, at the interface of the university partners and the EU institutions.
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