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Rocks, robots & reviewing reality: our 2021 seed-funded projects

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Una Europa incentivizes collaboration among its partner universities by investing in innovative new projects. In the third round of Una Europa’s seed funding, the alliance has awarded over 130,000 Euros to 10 projects that successfully passed the scrutiny of the jury. Many of the project proposals align with the Una Europa Focus Areas, despite the diverse range of topics covered. We are excited to see what will grow from the “seed” planted by Una Europa to spark life into these exciting projects!

The 2021 call for Una Europa seed funding was the third iteration of the initiative. Launched in 2019, the aim of seed funding is to “plant a seed” that will ignite longer-term collaborative activities between the partner universities. Calls are open to all disciplines, with cross-disciplinary approaches an essential requirement.

" Una Europa Seed Funding will help us accelerate the process of coming together, thinking up new ideas & actually beginning the work of building a new science which we hope will ultimately lead to breakthroughs in diverse areas in materials & therapeutics. "

Jonathan Heddle, Professor at Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie and Principal Investigator of SMART bionano Materials and Robotic Technologies

Breadth and diversity in topics

Following the trend of our 2019-20 and 2020-21 editions, this third call has attracted an eclectic mix of topics from rocks to robots, migration perspectives to mathematics. Six out of ten of the successful proposals closely align with the Una Europa Focus Area of Cultural Heritage, with particular focus on addressing urgent societal challenges such as building inclusive post-pandemic societies, understanding migrant communities and creating sustainable food systems in the face of the climate crisis.

One such proposal lined up for funding is titled "Toppling Statues: Public Spaces, Colonial Heritage, and Identities in Europe", or EuroStatues for short. This project will use the "toppling" of statues as a jumping-off point to explore questions on the place colonial statues occupy in conceptions of Europe's cultural heritage, and how to "re-invent" Europe's colonial heritage in order to build open and inclusive communities.

Seed funding champions

This year the University of Edinburgh and KU Leuven win the title of seed funding champions, with involvement in nine proposals each out of the ten accepted. Università di Bologna wins the title of seed funding initiators, as coordinators of an incredible six projects. Two projects, SMART and EuroStatues, will involve academics from seven out of the eight Una Europa partners, and a further five projects will feature six partners.

Proposals were evaluated against the following criteria:

" Seed Funding allows us to start thinking about the significance of colonial monuments across Europe as symbols of shared & connected histories of colonial heritage & durabilities on the continent. "

Janne Lahti, Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki and Principal Investigator of EuroStatues

Want to plant a seed in 2022?

You are an academic at one of our partner universities and interested in e.g.

  • organizing joint workshops or seminars or
  • preparing joint formats for education or research?

We have good news for you! The next call for applications for seed funding will open later this year. All call details will be published to our Seed Funding page.

By Heather McComb, Una Europa Digital Communications Officer