UNA Europa receive funding for 1EUROPE project
The UNA Europa alliance has been awarded funding to create a ‘European university’.
Following a call from the European Commission to create a ‘European university’, UNA Europa, along with 16 other alliance networks, was awarded a maximum of €5 million.
Each of the selected networks will receive up to €5 million over three years to help implement the plans created. It is hoped that by successfully creating ‘European universities’ it will lead the way for other universities to work together to adopt similar strategies in the future.
The University of Edinburgh was one of only three UK universities who were successful in bidding for funding.
The UNA Europa alliance consists of the University of Edinburgh, along with Freie Universität Berlin, Università di Bologna, University of Edinburgh, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. The alliance was awarded the funding for its 1EUROPE project which will launch later this year.
The 1EUROPE project undertaken by the new UNA Europa alliance emphasises the University of Edinburgh’s continued commitment to our European partners and to furthering European mobility and joint research endeavours in spite of the current political climate. The 1EUROPE project is a great opportunity for the University to get involved in a hugely exciting, ambitious and innovative form of collaboration with a strong group of European universities and we look forward to playing our part and leading the way to inform the European universities of the future
The Concept of 'European universities'
The idea of ‘European universities’ was first pitched by Emanuel Macron in 2017, and he called for 20 to be established by 2024. The concept was further developed by the European Commission which describes the concept as being a “transnational alliance of higher-education intuition from across the EU that share a long-term strategy and promote European values and identity”.
One of the aims is students, staff and researchers being able to move freely between the different campuses in Europe. The universities involved will also bring together their expertise and allow students to select modules at different campuses or have the option to study on a joint degree programme. This will create the opportunity for students to create a personalised degree experience. It is also hoped that the ‘European universities’ will contribute to the sustainable economic development of the countries where they are located.
Maria Gravari-Barbas, Vice President for International Relations at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, said: "The initiative of European universities is a paradigm shift for the landscape of teaching and research in Europe.”
Vice President for International Affairs at Freie Universität Berlin, Verena Blechinger-Talcott said that it was “important to build strong networks in these turbulent times for the European Union.” She added that the alliance helps to show a positive example of “European cooperation and integration.”
The project hopes to encapsulate the goals of Macron’s vision of ‘European universities’ by helping to facilitate new ways of learning, increasing research collaboration and mobility of staff and students. The UNA Europa alliance has a combined staff and student community of almost half a million with the universities reaching millions of digital learners and it is hoped that the project will benefit everyone in the community.
The 1EUROPE project will create research on the future of universities which will generate new concepts for international education and research, integrating them across the alliance and helping with their transfer to other universities.
The alliance and the project have four main thematic areas, European studies, sustainability, cultural heritage and data science & artificial intelligence. The four thematic areas were chosen as they are discipline areas of strength at the universities within the alliance and are recognised as being particularly important for future European citizens.