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Celebrating shared success: Una Europa in Edinburgh

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From 26 to 30 September colleagues came together at the University of Edinburgh to celebrate our community’s shared successes and reflect on the achievements of the 1Europe project. Over 250 delegates gathered to participate in the 49 different activities that took place across the week. Highlights included a panel discussion on Research & Innovation, Communications Staff Week and the Una Europa Kaleidoscope Showcase, Gala Dinner and Ceilidh.

As the Una Europa 1Europe project draws to a close, and the first students embark on the Una Europa Joint Bachelor of Arts in European Studies, our community took the opportunity to pause and reflect on everything we have achieved so far. Focusing on the impact of our work together, the achievements and collaborations made possible by our alliance, prompted a strong sense of shared mission and pride. The celebrations also inspired and motivated for the future, as we look ahead to the next stage of building the University of the Future, together.

  • People dancing a traditional Scottish ceilidh, with arms hooked in each other and wearing traditional Scottish dress including a kilt

    Kaleidoscope Gala Dinner and Ceilidh, National Museum of Scotland

  • Woman stood on a stage with an audience sat in front. One member of the audience is looking back towards the camera, and another has their hand up.

    Una Europa Kaleidoscope Showcase

  • Man wearing a kilt and traditional Scottish dress with arms outstretched, flanked by two pull-up banners with a colourful shape design.

    Professor James Smith welcoming guests to the Kaleidoscope Gala Dinner and Ceilidh

  • Four people sat at a table with name signs in front of them. One of the speakers is holding a microphone and talking.

    Una.Resin R&I plenary session

" Una Europa is all about fostering a sense of a shared community. We invite you listen to some of the thoughts, shared experiences, and stories that bring Una Europa to life and to celebrate in our shared success. "

Isabell Majewsky Anderson, Head of Service, Study and Work Away at The University of Edinburgh, introducing the Una Europa Kaleidoscope Showcase

Una Europa Kaleidoscope Showcase

The week’s strong community feeling was epitomised by the Una Europa Kaleidoscope Showcase, an afternoon of celebrating the collaborations, creations and joint initiatives that have grown from working together across the eight institutions involved in 1Europe. The Showcase gave insight into the difference these collaborations have made to people in our community, as they shared their Una Europa stories and invited us to reflect on their experiences and how these have helped shape our joint vision as an alliance.

The Showcase featured faces from all corners of Una Europa, from university staff and associated partners working together to develop new joint initiatives to the students and staff whose energy and enthusiasm bring our initiatives to life. The inspiring programme included key highlights from the 1Europe project:

  • Una Europa One Health Summer School
    • An innovative and interdisciplinary programme spanning two weeks, bringing together students and staff from across our alliance and beyond to explore the complex interaction between humans, animals, plants and ecosystems and work towards building solutions together.
    • Speakers included Summer School coordinator John Bennett, PhD student and mentor Emma Nance, and the winning team of students whose pitch was chosen out of nine teams by a panel of senior One Health academics: Ines Barturen Mota, Julia Niziol, Rebecca Malin, Samantha Ganop and Tamara Indres Reyes.

  • Live My Life
    • The alliance’s mentor-supported peer-to-peer learning programme for professional services staff at Una Europa universities. Colleagues are paired based on common areas of work and invited to collaborate through virtual meetings and physical job-shadowing visits of up to two weeks, supported by training in intercultural awareness and professional development.
    • Speakers included Michelle Terrell, Student Recruitment Officer at the University of Edinburgh; and Pieter Heylen, International Marketing Officer at KU Leuven.

  • Una Europa Seed Funding
    • Every year the alliance invites research and professional staff to submit proposals for projects that aim to create long-term collaborative activities between partner universities.
    • Seed-funded project “European humour in the public sphere” was presented by Professor Delia Chiaro, Professor of Language and Translation (English) at Alma Mater Studiorum Universitá di Bologna

  • Una challenges
    • An exploration of three distinct projects – UNA.TEN, Una.Futura and Una.Together – in which students across 1Europe universities were guided through an open innovation design process to develop solutions to real challenges.
    • Speakers included Agnès Garcia and Elena Consolini, university staff who provided invaluable support to students participating in the challenges; Ifeoma Kulmala, Chief Operating Officer of Una.Together co-organiser Helsinki Think Company; and Miguel Roses Ariza, student participant from Una.Together and an inspiring storyteller.

" Universities must be trendsetters. It cannot just be about academic excellence; it must go one step further... you [Una Europa] are following the right path for the future of universities. "

Miguel Roses Ariza, Una.Together participant Universidad Complutense de Madrid

The Kaleidoscope Showcase sowed seeds of celebration that continued into the evening, with a Gala Dinner and Ceilidh hosted at the National Museum of Scotland. Colleagues from across Europe were treated to an evening of Scottish culture complete with kilts, bagpipes and a live folk band comprised of University of Edinburgh students, rounding off with a traditional ceilidh dance. The delegates took to the dancefloor with confidence and excitement, encapsulating the power of European collaboration to open up new experiences for learning, growth and, most importantly, fun.

" There is a saying that really resonated with me, ‘Belgium’s best is best for you’… Una Europa is best for all of us. "

Michelle Terrell, Live My Life participant University of Edinburgh

Una.Resin Research & Innovation plenary

Research and innovation (R&I) was the focus of events taking place on Tuesday 27 September, highlighted by a plenary session organised by the Una.Resin project titled, ‘International research and innovation collaboration in a changing world, aspirations for 2030 and beyond. The panel of distinguished speakers sought to understand various aspirations including perspectives from a university (and alliance) within the EU, UK, Swiss and African HEI, funders, and policymakers.

Transnational problems do not know boundaries and therefore require transnational solutions in which researchers across the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) work collaboratively on the common global issues. Whiles the importance of this cannot be underestimated, there are still some fundamental questions that require urgent attention as we look into the future. For example, in a rapidly changing world, what will be the landscape of international research and innovation cooperation by 2030 and beyond?

The UK and Switzerland count some of the most excellent universities that have collaborated internationally for centuries, including extensive collaboration with many universities that are situated within today’s European Union. Close research collaboration with these universities will not only remain key to the success of both the European Higher Education Area and European Research Area, but will also affect our shared future. Political decisions in recent times results in an uncertain future for this collaboration. The plenary addressed this challenge and explored how universities can collaborate more globally and the role of European Universities in enhancing these global collaborations.

The event was attended by more than 100 participants from Edinburgh and across the partner universities of Una Europa. It was moderated by Professor James Smith, Vice Principal International, University of Edinburgh and Chair of the Una Europa Board of Directors.

" It is unthinkable that we would do R&I without mobility of our staff and students, collaborative projects, and deep partnerships and interactions with universities, governments, NGOs, businesses and civil society across our partner countries. "

Professor Christina Boswell, Vice Principal Research & Enterprise, University of Edinburgh

Keen to feel the energy of the Una Europa community yourself? Join us on a Voyage to the University of the Future this November!

Join us in Brussels on 15 November as we celebrate our 1Europe journey and gear up for the next leg of the Una Europa venture. Open to friends of Una Europa, this landmark event will showcase the successes of 1Europe and provide an outlook to the future.

Highlights include:

  • University of the Future showcase: Meet the Faces of our CommUNAty. Gain first-hand insights from students, academics and professionals involved in our pilots and programmes.
  • Una Europa Talk 1: Rights of Nature - A solution for Europe? Experience this timely expert debate at the intersection of sustainability, law and policy.
  • Una Europa Talk 2: Blockchain technology for the Student of the Future. Learn more about how blockchain technology can impact the university experience in years to come.
  • Inspirational keynotes by selected high-level guests from the world of policy, academia and beyond.

Register now