Skip to navigation Skip to main content
All stories

‘Lighting the Spark’ illuminates universities’ cross-border collaboration in R&I

News -

Una Europa’s Una.Resin project closing event, ‘Lighting the Spark: How can R&I ignite a University of the Future?’, gathered pan-European stakeholders in Brussels on 22 November to explore Una Europa’s vision for research and innovation (R&I) and our contribution to the European Research Area.

As Una Europa’s flagship Horizon 2020-funded project, Una.Resin has laid the foundation for Una Europa’s shared R&I ecosystem. ‘Lighting the Spark’ provided a platform to celebrate the successes of the project – the ‘sparks’ kindling Una Europa’s R&I revolution – and explore Una Europa’s R&I priorities going forward: developing interdisciplinary hubs for research, education and knowledge transfer; providing a transnational framework for early-career researchers; and sharing research and data infrastructures and resources.

" In Una.Resin, we took the first steps in creating a common research & innovation ecosystem for Una Europa. What really makes ecosystems work is the strength of the connections. It’s about people; people make the connections that make innovations work. "

James Smith
Coordinator, Una.Resin Project
Vice-Principal International, University of Edinburgh

Lightning Talk speakers Alberto Credi (Vice-Rector Research, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, which played a key role in Una.Resin’s initiative on sharing research infrastructures), Isidora Stankovic (Cultural Heirtage researcher at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and manager of the Una Europa Cultural Heritage Focus Area), and Jan D'hooge (Vice-Rector Research Policy, KU Leuven, and Co-Chair of Una Europa’s Research Strategy Group) shared insights into the impact of Una.Resin achievements in their respective areas.

Reflecting on the vital investment required to enable Una Europa’s R&I Strategy, Jan D’Hooge said: "Setting up a Research & Innovation Strategy for a single university is challenging, but creating a strategy across 11 partner universities that all have different histories, cultures and traditions is a massive achievement that cannot be underestimated.”

Isidora Stankovic, researcher at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and manager of the Una Europa Cultural Heritage Focus Area

The Coaxing the Flame segment gathered leading lights in European higher education and R&I – including Manuel Aleixo, Head of Unit ERA at the European Commission’s DG-RTD, and Ludovic Thilly, Full Professor and Vice-Rector for European Networks at Université de Poitiers, Chair of Coimbra Group and Coordinator of the EC2U Alliance – in a roundtable discussion on the future of R&I in European Universities alliances and the policy and funding needs underpinning their role in driving excellence in European R&I.

The discussion spanned opportunities for and challenges to R&I collaboration in European Universities alliances, such as the balance of top-down strategy and bottom-up engagement; the unique contribution of alliances to European R&I and society, including their diversity and capacity for achieving positive impact and addressing global challenges together; and future funding perspectives for European Universities.

" The European Universities Initiative (EUI) has been extremely important as an instrument to take advantage of the diversity of Europe's R&I systems and educational landscape. What we have seen in the EUI are institutions not just overcoming obstacles, but making the most of the diversity that exists across Europe. "

Manuel Aleixo
Head of Unit ERA,
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

Coaxing the Flame roundtable discussion with Manuel Aleixo, Christina Boswell, Ludovic Thilly and Olli Peltoniemi

Bolstered by a comprehensive R&I Strategy delivered by Una.Resin, Una Europa will now progress towards realising its ambitious vision for R&I through a holistic approach under the Una.Futura project, ensuring integration of the alliance’s education, R&I and societal outreach dimensions.